KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While drivers at Kansas City Area Transportation Authority are continuing to fight for hazard pay, one long-time driver is fighting to get his job back.
Jaymes Evans said he had been employed as a bus operator for 12 years with no complaints. In April, he said an unavoidable accident cost him his job.
“A gentleman, who may or may not been on drugs, ran in front of my bus, and the bus accidentally made contact with the individual. I was deemed by corporate in violation of being able to drive a bus safely,” Evans said.
He was terminated within a week after KCATA management reviewed surveillance footage.
According to Evans, he was also deemed unsatisfactory for a delay in submitting required departmental paperwork following the crash.
“With our shifts not being covered, they needed me to immediately go in and cover the night run. I didn’t have the opportunity to go out and fill out the report until the next day,” he said.
Evans said during the time he was under immense amount of pressure, navigating the evolving pandemic, working on the front line and helping care for his sick grandson, LeGend Taliferro.
Along with the desire to provide for his family, the stress only grew when his 4-year old grandson was shot and killed in his sleep. Charges were filed in the deadly shooting Thursday.
“It hurt me to the tilt that after 12 years of dedicated service, it would be immediate termination versus a driver that may have been under stress,” Evans said. “I thought that a job that I had given my all to, after 12 years, would have had an understanding.”
“I am a retiree driver. I had heart failure, and I am out here speaking for the drivers because these are my union brothers and sisters,” said Rita Jones, a former bus operator of 22 years.
Both current and former bus drivers are rallying behind not only Evans, but the hundreds of other bus drivers fighting for protection and fairness.
“Show them you care a little bit or something. We are being a voice for them. They out here risking their lives every day,” Jones said about drivers’ requests for hazard pay.
A KCATA spokesperson told FOX4 last week they are considering the request regarding hazard pay for employees.
Regarding Evans’ termination, the department said it cannot comment on personnel matters.