PASSENGERS intervened after a man assaulted a bus driver after his Oyster Card wouldn’t work, a court heard.
William To, 24, of Finchley Road, Childs Hill, had repeatedly tried to touch his Oyster on the reader yet there was insufficient funds, so he instead offered cash to the the driver saying he had to get to work, Hendon Magistrates’ Court heard.
But the driver said he couldn’t accept cash whereupon To became abusive and punched his protective glass screen before cracking it by hitting it with his elbow.
Prosecuting, Peter Lock said: “Passengers tried to stop him saying are you crazy, why are doing this?”
The driver of the 260 bus suffered minor cuts to his elbow and swelling to his left wrist following the incident which happened on the afternoon of August 1 last year, on Church Road, Stonebridge said Mr Lock
To, a warehouse worker, was traced through the Oyster Card which he had tried to use, the court heard.
Representing himself, he told the court he had become angry after the driver threw his coins on the floor.
He said: “He was trying to embarrass me in front of the bus. I could see the smugness in him, as if saying you cannot touch me behind this screen.”
Deputy District Judge Robert Roscoe said he had been close to sending To to prison. He asked him: “How do you think your behaviour appeared to other passengers, some of whom were children and the elderly?”
To replied: “Frightening!”
He added: “I’m not an angry person in life and I’m genuinely sorry. I just hope the driver’s injuries are not severe. Mine were a lot worse because of the force I used.”
To pleaded guilty to assault by beating, criminal damage and failure to attend court on an earlier occasion.
He was handed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered to pay £500 for the glass screen as well as £200 in compensation to the driver. He must also pay a £115 victim surcharge and costs of £85.