Three women have been arrested and charged with assault following a "vicious, unprovoked" attack on a bus driver in Vancouver, according to Transit Police.

Three women and three men boarded a westbound Coast Mountain Bus near Broadway and Fraser streets around 2:15 p.m. PT on Tuesday without paying their fares.

A passenger reported to the driver that the group of six were openly drinking liquor, which Transit Police say was stolen earlier from a liquor store, and being disruptive at the back of the bus.

The driver pulled the bus over near the 1000 block of West Broadway and asked the group to leave the bus.

"The three men complied, but the three women confronted the operator, grabbed her by the hair while pulling her to the floor of the bus, and began punching her," said Transit Police in a statement on Thursday.

"As they were trying to drag the operator off the bus by the hair, several passengers intervened causing the suspects to run away."

Transit Police say the driver suffered bruises, cuts and scratches. Large amounts of hair were pulled out by her attackers, and her eyeglasses were smashed.

Suspects well-known to police

Police located and arrested the suspects several blocks away. 

On Thursday, 22-year-old Pearl Robinson, who has had 462 negative encounters with police recorded in the past, was charged with one count of assault.

Robinson's 20-year-old sister, Molly Christina Robinson, who has had 267 recorded encounters with police, was also charged with one count of assault.

A 17-year-old female, who police say is also well known to them, was charged with one count of assault.

All three women have been released with conditions, and are expected to appear in court within the next two weeks.

Transit Police spokesperson Anne Drennan says bus drivers have reported more than 50 incidents, including nearly 20 assaults, since the beginning of the year.