Riders came to the rescue when a man attacked a SEPTA bus driver near Independence Mall.
As the bus driver began to drive off, police say the suspect leaned over and mumbled something in the driver's ear. He then allegedly started to choke the driver.
Police say the driver was able to park the bus while he struggled with the suspect until two passengers came to his rescue. The driver and the two good Samaritans were able to hold the suspect off until both the SEPTA and Philadelphia Police arrived. Upon their arrival, investigators say the suspect continued to resist arrest, striking officers with his hands and feet.
Police later identified the attacker as Robert Moore, 32, of Melrose Park. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest and other related offenses. The driver was not hurt.
Robert Moore, Credit: Philadelphia Police
Just last week police arrested a 49-year-old woman accused of attacking a man on a SEPTA bus after releasing surveillance video showing the attack.
Over the last year, safety for SEPTA drivers has become a big issue after a dramatic increase in violent attacks.
SEPTA union president John Johnson broke down and cried while talking about the increasing violence in a news conference last September. He was telling the story of a female driver who was shot on duty and then drove her bus to the hospital. Bernetta Rembert was the 46th SEPTA operator violently attacked in 2011. In 2010, there were 20 attacks on SEPTA workers, according to SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey.
"These assaults include bus and trolley operators being cut with a razor, punched in the mouth, slapped, spit upon and sexually assaulted," Casey said, calling for more protection for his workers in 2011.
In March, the NBC10 Investigators profiled veteran driver Bobby Poe, who was attacked by a man with a machete and found himself in the fight of his life. At that point, SEPTA drivers were going through training on how to deal with violence on the job.
We are working to get numbers from Local 234 on violent attacks against SEPTA drivers this year.
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