Buses across Kelowna will pull over Saturday morning to pay respect to Caesar Rosales, the man who was fatally attacked during his commute last Thursday.
“We asked that BC Transit allow us to have a minute of silence when his funeral starts in Vancouver, so all of our drivers will be instructed by a control officer to pull over at 10 a.m.,” said Les Milton, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union.
Rosales, who was a dedicated user of public transit, was a familiar face on local buses and when his identity was revealed to the community, it had a chilling effect on drivers.
“In the lunchroom they were recounting conversations we had with him,” said Milton.
“It’s been big process for us. Regular drivers know more about their passengers than they know their spouses …Caesar’s death is a tragic thing, so we wanted to do something to show our respect and it will allow us to have some closure.”
Providing further closure is a decision to have BC Transit move the bus Rosales was killed on to another community. It was driven out of Kelowna on Thursday, marking one week since the violent episode.
“Drivers felt the stigma behind the bus, even though it looks like so many other buses we had, would be too strong,” he said. “The public would like to know we got rid of the bus so we petitioned the company and BC Transit to get rid of it.”
In an earlier interview, Milton said that Kelowna’s public transit system lost its innocence on the night that Rosales was killed. That hasn’t changed, however, he believes that with time the community will heal and the transit system will see improvements.
One of those improvements is the implementation of cameras.
Meribeth Burton, spokeswoman for B.C. Transit in Victoria, said a supplier for the cameras is currently being sought and by starting next spring cameras will be installed on all 107 Kelowna Regional Transit buses.
“Driver and passenger safety is a priority for us,” said Burton, adding the camera plan has been in the works for the last two years.
In addition to the cameras, special training is also given to bus drivers to help them deal with situations where either a driver or a passenger is believed to be in danger, added Burt
Last week 55-year-old Caesar Rosales, a business systems analyst with Kelowna Flightcraft died after being attacked on Kelowna city bus in what appears to have been a random act of violence. An estimated 13 to 20 people were witness to the violence, and many offered aid to him as he died on the bus floor.
A 24-year-old man, Tyler Jack Newton was arrested the next day and later charged with second-degree murder.