By Bob Allen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Port Authority is asking the public for help to identify a man wanted for assaulting a bus driver last month.

The incident happened Jan. 17 on the 14-Ohio Valley bus on Chateau Street on the North Side. The passenger got into a dispute with the driver over fare.

“It ended up with the passenger hitting the operator in the face,” said Jim Ritchie with the Port Authority. “It was an open hand hit to the face. Police are looking for this individual.”

The suspect ran from the scene, but if caught, he could face serious charges.

“It is a felony to assault a bus operator, a transit operator,” Ritchie said. “If people assault an operator one way or another, they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Ritchie says assaults on transit operators are a growing national problem. It’s the latest in a string of attacks on Port Authority bus drivers. He’s hoping anyone who knows about this attack will come forward.

“You don’t want this kind of thing happening on public buses you have over there,” Ritchie said. “It’s a dangerous situation. We’ve had incidents in the past where operators have been stabbed, attacked with bars and other people could get hurt too.”

The Port Authority reminds if you witness a driver attacked or an incident on your bus and can provide information, your name and identity will be kept confidential.

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