Report: Special needs passenger left on bus

SCAT spokesman says bus driver didn't drop off man with special needs

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

COCOA, Fla. - Space Coast Area Transit managers are looking into a claim that a special needs passenger was left on board one of their buses at the end of the driver's shift.

A SCAT spokesman said the incident happened on the morning of Oct. 23 on board one of their Paratransit routes, which often provides door-to-door service for passengers who have special physical or mental needs.

The spokesman said the driver turned off the bus and left for her next route assignment at the main bus terminal without dropping off a man with special needs.

Surveillance video from that bus obtained by Local 6 shows the man sitting in the third row of an nine-seat bus. He sits on board for 18 minutes after the driver gets off of the bus, apparently unable to communicate to anyone that he was there.

The next driver found him as dispatchers sent out an alert looking for him. He was not injured, said transit officials.

Passengers who were waiting for a SCAT bus on Wednesday night in Cocoa said they were outraged.

"That's crazy," said one man. "They're supposed to check the bus before they get off."

"That's kind of sad on their (SCAT) part," said another passenger. "People look for a service, and they look to get that service."

SCAT released a statement to Local 6, saying, "Space Coast Area Transit is reviewing our training, and is taking appropriate steps to ensure our employees make appropriate checks at the end of their routes."

They said the driver has also been suspended until she faces an employment hearing at the bus terminal on Friday morning.

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