Muni Puzzled by Recent Rash of Bus Jumpers

shattered muni door
Photo by Alex Roberts

Muni riders are busting out of the bus by pushing the back door open while the bus is still moving, and nobody knows why. At least 15 of these incidents have happened since May 30, particularly on the 14-L, SFGate reports:

Interviewed Monday, regulars on the 14L weren’t puzzling over the bus-jumpers’ motivations.

“Sometimes they want to get off and the door never opens or it takes too long, and they want to show off a bit,” said Michelle Lopez, 12, who rides the route often.

The girl added, “It’s mostly gangsters and sometimes hobos.”

The riders may have figured out how to trigger a safety mechanism that makes a bus stop when its back doors are wrangled open while traveling at a low speed, said one 14L operator.

“They just jump off. It’s what they do to get off the bus,” said the operator, who didn’t want to give his name because he wasn’t sure he was authorized to talk about the problem.

The Examiner says that the passengers are exploiting a design fault in the doors, and that the SFMTA may have to do some costly repairs.

The Examiner interviewed Muni’s transit director, John Haley:

Haley said Muni will have to retrofit the doors on about 200 buses with an extra motor, a measure that will make it impossible for passengers to exit without smashing out a window. That will cost the agency between $1 million and $2 million, which is set to come out of its overtaxed capital budget. And that price tag doesn’t include the cost of taking the buses out of service so maintenance workers could inspect the doors for design flaws.

Smashing the window to get out of the bus is not out of the question, as it turns out. We found the photo above, taken in 2005 by Alex, who said:

“I was standing by this Muni bus door and some kid decided he wanted off the bus, quickly. He started kicking the door, trying to get it open, then he kicked at the window and slithered out as it hung there by its anti-shatter coating.”

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