WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Metro Transit Police are searching for a suspect who fired several rounds at a Metrobus in an apparent road rage incident.
The incident happened at around 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon on Southern Avenue near Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Five people, including the bus operator, were aboard at the time. According to a Metro spokesperson, nobody was hurt; however, the bus was struck several times.
Metro General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke expressed his frustration on social media, writing on Twitter: “We are very lucky no one was hit in this reprehensible violent act that had no regard for the life of our Bus Operator, customers & community.” He used the hashtag “EnoughIsEnough” after writing that the expectation is for the suspect to be prosecuted to the “full extent of the law.”
As ridership rebounds, violence spikes on Metro
203,509: that’s the number of entries that Metrorail had on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2021. On Sept. 29, 2022 — exactly one year later — the number jumped to 274,387.
Overall in 2022, Metrorail ridership has seen a 33% increase compared to last year, according to recent ridership data. Bus ridership has grown 18% over 2021 levels. But even as the number of riders slowly lifts from pandemic-era lows, Metro officials have acknowledged another crisis affecting the DMV’s largest transit system: violence.
In September, Metro launched “Helping Hands,” a public safety initiative to “strengthen and support customer safety” on the system. Metro Transit Police started rolling out more officers on trains and buses to be more visible, according to a release.
“It’s clear that a better, safer customer experience is paramount to rebuilding ridership and customer trust,” Metro General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke said at the time.
Even as ridership rebounds, a trend of violent crime is following it. Data from Metro Transit Police (MTPD) shows that the number of assaults, robberies, and vandalism on trains, buses, and at the stations is also climbing.
“This type of behavior cannot be tolerated on Metro or anywhere. We need the help of partners, guardians, parents, schools and community leaders to prevent this type of behavior,” Clarke in September.