NEWS
11/07/2011 07:47 EST | Updated 01/07/2012 05:12 EST

Ottawa Bus Driver Berates, Swears At 'Mildly Autistic' Passenger Matthew Taronno (VIDEO - WARNING: LANGUAGE)

UPDATE FROM CBC NEWS: The young autistic man who was apparently the target of an expletive-filled tirade from an Ottawa bus driver says he was reading from a script he had written when the driver lashed out at him.

Matthew Taronno, a 20-year-old who describes himself as "mildly autistic," said the script contained some "inappropriate language" and said he went to the front of the bus to apologize. The driver was in no mood to hear it, Taronno told CBC News on Sunday at Algonquin College, where he is studying script writing.

The 55-second cellphone video of the exchange, shot on the No. 96 bus from downtown Ottawa to Kanata, has attracted hundreds of views and many angry comments since it was posted to YouTube.

WATCH A VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH TARONNO

Ottawa's mayor says he's disturbed by a YouTube video in which a city bus driver appears to swear and berate a passenger described by witnesses as having a mental disability.

The cellphone video, which was posted last week, captures the driver yelling at a passenger on an OC Transpo bus.

"Shut the f---k up!' the driver yells. "Shut your ignorant f---king cake-hole! Don't say another f---king word!"

The verbal abuse continues for nearly a minute.

"If you don't shut your f---king face I'm going to stick my fist in it!" the driver says.

The man who shot the video told CTV News the incident happened on Route 96 from downtown Ottawa to Kanata early Thursday morning when there were only a few people on the bus. He said the passenger was rambling, appeared mentally ill and tried to apologize to the driver.

Another passenger familiar with the young man said he's believed to have Asperger's syndrome, The Ottawa Sun reports.

Alain Mercier, OC Transpo's general manager of transit services, said the agency is taking the incident seriously, QMI Agency reports:

"Customer relations is always a priority for us and we take this situation very seriously," Mercier said. "... Appropriate action will be taken based on the findings."

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said the video was troubling.

"Like anyone I am very disturbed by what I have seen and heard and want to see a thorough investigation conducted," he wrote on his Twitter account Sunday afternoon.

Transit commission chairwoman Diane Deans said on Sunday appropriate action will be taken pending the outcome of the investigation, but any disciplinary action won't be disclosed, The Ottawa Sun reports.

It's not the first time an OC Transpo driver's behaviour has been videotaped, CBC News reports. A YouTube video posted earlier this year showed a driver complaining about the smell of smoke on a passenger riding the bus to Kanata. The driver then lost his temper with a passenger who objected to his rudeness.

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