Ringside on the 19-Polk
Photo by Jeff Rizzo
It didn’t take new Muni rider Mari long to experience the underbelly of San Francisco transit.
At about 7th Street and Mission Street at 5:45 PM on a weekday, the bus driver stopped to pick up a few passengers. Everyone’s attention turned to the back door where a middle-aged gentleman was grasping with all his might to get on the bus. Behind him is another middle-aged gentleman in a wheelchair grabbing on to the other man’s jacket while yelling, “Oh, no you don’t, you are not running away from me!” and other expletives while punching and pulling the man trying to get on the bus.
The bus driver says nothing, of course. We are stopped and us passengers look back and forth at each other just wanting to get to our destinations. A teenage boy starts to cheer them on: “kick his a**, old man!” while blocking the back door.
Finally, the bus driver says, “Move away from back door,” but the teenager continues to taunt and cheer on the old men who are punching each other on the sidewalk now. Passersby yell, “Stop, stop!” to the stronger man doing most of the punching.
Finally, my patience has dwindled and I say in a very loud voice to the teenager, “Move out of the way! We need to go!” The teenager rolls his eyes at me and slowly walks off the bus. Finally, we are able to drive away.
Just another day on Muni…
At least the teenager got off the bus, right?
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