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.

I’ve lived in SF for not even three months and I already have a few horror stories. Probably the most egregious and surprising event occurred on the 19-Polk headed toward the Mission.

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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  • Dexter Wong

    I suppose no one called the cops. (Sigh.) Well, when there is a fight, someone always seems to cheer on the fighters. No matter why the fight started or whether one fighter has an unfair advantage, someone will be cheering on the fight because that person loves fights.

    • Yeah, seems like the tension between raw animal nature and something more “civilized” gives way to rooting fights on. I can’t say I’m immune myself, much to my disappointment.

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