- Associated Press - Friday, July 5, 2019

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Police have detained a former bus driver accused of taking a public bus and picking up passengers along a route in Reno, Nevada, officials said.

The man left the downtown station Thursday evening, said Abul Hassan, general manager of Keolis, a contractor that handles bus service. Officials did not release his name.

“This is not a case of an individual walking off the street and taking the bus,” Hassan told KOLO-TV . “Joe Public cannot get on these buses and drive the bus. These buses are too complicated for that to happen.”

Staff noticed something was not right when the assigned driver of the bus did not check in with dispatch before starting the route, Hassan said. They began tracking the bus and contacted police.

A supervisor and police stopped the bus, which had fewer than a dozen passengers while traveling its normal route.

“The individual knew what they were doing,” Hassan said. “Why they were doing it is a mystery.”

The driver had been an employee of MV Transportation, the former contractor for the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County. The commission switched to Keolis on June 30.

The driver had not applied to work for the new contractor, so he was no longer employed as a bus driver, Hassan said.

Reno police said they took the man into custody and he will undergo a mental health evaluation.

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