Muni driver calls passenger ‘retarded’

Six Parnassus
Photo by Thomas Hawk

Wow. We received the following story from Muni rider Christine on Wednesday, and really don’t know what to say. Sometimes, you think you’ve seen or heard it all … Also, the infraction in question (running a red light) resembles a situation from just a few weeks ago. Remember when the 19-Polk ran a stop sign and crashed into a truck that had also run a stop sign? For the sake of us all, drivers, obey traffic rules. Pretty please?

Oh, and stop calling passengers names! Right now!

I generally don’t go looking for trouble. I’m just your average cranky lady trying to get home after work on Muni. But then …

I was riding the No. 6 Parnassus about 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 19 when a woman passenger pointed out to the driver that he was running a red light while turning off of Judah onto 9th Ave.

He told her: “It’s none of your business.” She said: “I’m riding this bus, so it’s my business.” And got off the bus. He called out after her: “You’re retarded!” Another passenger on the bus got into the act and shouted “Retarded bitch!” out the window at the woman.

My stop was a few blocks later, and after pulling the cord, I went up to the driver. “What is your driver number?” I asked. He pointed to the number of the bus: 5469. “No, that’s the bus number. Is that your number on your sleeve: 2725?” He nodded. I said: “Perhaps you’d like to call me retarded.” “She was rude,” said the driver. “You have no right to call a passenger retarded even if you think she’s rude or out of line,” I said.

“If you’re rude to me, I’m gonna call you retarded,” he said, raising his voice. “Go on, be rude!” I just got off the bus. “You’re not worth it,” I snapped.

Good heavens, is this what my family is paying $135 in monthly fast passes for? And the SFMTA has the nerve to propose more service cuts and fare increases? I’m filing a complaint to Muni, although I doubt it will do anything.

POP Cops on the 22

POP Litter
Photo by Flickr user Transit Nerds

Ed. note: We received the following diary from Mike of Epic Road Trips, a recent regular contributor. Thanks, Mike. We want to point out that while we generally support the work of Muni fare inspectors, we realize there are bad apples in every bunch, as this story suggests. Mike’s story happened last October, and soon after that, we’ve had some lively discussion about this issue. Has your experience with fare inspectors changed in the last few months? Let us know in the comments section.

After a trek from downtown, over the hill through Chinatown, North Beach and up to Coit Tower I then made my way back down the Filbert Steps for the 2 mile walk past Washington Square then Filbert Street up and over the hill to Fillmore and Lombard, a now familiar bus stop to me. I boarded the next 22 and nearly dozed off a coupla times.

When the bus stopped at Market and Church Streets two uniformed officers boarded. One in green – a MUNI ” Proof of Payment” (POP) COP, and one in black – SFPD. The MUNI cop positioned herself in front of the back door, the SFPDer at the front. The POP cop whipped out her citation book and said she was here to check to make sure everyone had a pass or a transfer and to please have then out and ready for inspection.

The very first person she checked was an older lady. She presented the POP cop with a Senior pass. The POP cop asked the lady how old she was and she mumbled something I could not hear, but the POP cop obviously did.

The POP cop then went on to check every passenger and finding no violators went back to the old lady. She said that since she was not old enough to be using Senior pass three things were going to happen: She was going to confiscate the pass, which she did, she was going to issue the lady two citations, one for improper use of a Senior pass and one for non payment of fair. She spoke loudly so everyone on the bus could hear her.

The old lady looked up at the POP cop and said something I could not make out. The POP cop then said loudly and sarcastically: “Oh, now you don’t speak any English”.

She then asked the woman for some sort of ID as proof of her age. The old lady seemed to not understand and the POP cop said she did not speak Spanish. She then told the women if she produced ID, she would write the citation and then everyone could go on their way. If she didn’t, then the SFPD would search her purse for her ID.

About then the old lady got up to get off the bus. She did and the POP cop followed here. The POP cop stuck by her side and SFPD cop went out the front of the bus. As the bus pulled out of the stop I could see the little old lady standing there in middle of the sidewalk flanked on either side by the two cops. Then, they were gone.

How this all ended we will never know, but I thought it a rather pathetic use of public resources.

New Year Recovery

Photo by Whole Wheat Toast

How’s 2010 on Muni treating you? Contributor Whole Wheat Toast sent us an account of his Muni ride on New Year’s Eve, and we’ve also received some…interesting NYE outfits spotted on Muni.

Whole Wheat Toast spotted a presidential-look-alike on his New Year’s Eve Muni ride and even met a Muni virgin. More from Whole Wheat Toast:

Happy New Year for everyone at the Muni Diaries! Firstly, may 2010 bring you no Muni Fails and utter fortune on the Muni! But, before that happens, of course there are some fails to talk about, right?

So, anyway, after the fireworks ended, I made my way towards the 1 bus stop at Drumm. However, by the time I got there, the bus was already leaving as it arrived. The driver didn’t want to take any chances on a break because traffic was already so bad. In fact, traffic was so bad that it took us twelve minutes to make it from the terminal down to Drumm and Sacramento.

After we made a right onto Sacramento, the operator had accidentally dropped the wires on the bus. So we were maneuvering pretty slowly, but faster than being stuck in traffic. The bus was already a bit half-full when we almost pulled over to Davis. That’s when a mob – literally – started to rush towards the bus. But the driver didn’t let anyone on, and some of us on the bus were cheering that we would be continuing on. However, the driver opened the back door, and the mob already on the bus groaned.

As the mob rushed up the back door, the driver attempted to make his way out the front door. For some reason, the door jammed, despite everyone heading towards the back, and it took him about a minute to force it open. He finally forced it open, and made his way towards the back of the bus to fix the wires. While he was doing that, the bus started to fill up even more! When he finally came back and turned on the power, the back door wouldn’t close because the bus was already so full someone had to step on the back door steps! But, eventually, the door closed miraculously despite having people still stepping on the back door. The mob on the bus cheered and we were on our way…

Read more of his account here.

Got any more tales and pics from the new year? Let us know!

Rider Joseph spotted some revealing fashion on the N on New Year’s Eve. Photo after the jump.

Read more

The 49 From Hell

Having put in a good 6-mile walk the day before, I decided I would take it easy today. Ha! What should have been a leisurely jaunt ended up being a 5-mile forced march.

I decided I would take a trip down memory lane and go down to Fisherman’s Wharf and the place where, in 1971, I worked as a teenager — Cost Plus Imports.

After checking the bus schedule, I decided to take the 22 to Mission and 16th and then catch a 49-Van Ness. The 49 runs every 10 minutes, so the wait would be short.

I got to 16th and Mission without incident.

I waited as 10 minutes went by and no 49 bus. Then 15 minutes, then 20. By now, an obviously impatient crowd was gathering and constantly looking down the street for the 49. One woman tried hailing a cab with no results and then got back up on the curb and started her wait again.

Elvis, seen above, seemed to be taunting me as I impatiently waited for the 49 to arrive.

While waiting I had the pleasure of being harangued by some crazy woman who accused me of being a cop and there was a constant parade of the unwashed masses going by the bus stop. I had never had the pleasure of waiting for a half hour at a Mission and 16th bus stop before. What fun!

Finally, the 49 came and it was already packed. We crammed our way into the smelly, stifling sardine can of humanity and all clung on for dear life as the bus lurched back into traffic. I was flanked by a woman holding her nose, a guy on a scooter in the handicapped slot, and some poor slob who was trying to manage a large heavy box on his shoulders while trying to hold on.

Meanwhile, some lunatic was hurling disparaging remarks punctuated with expletives at the bus driver while a woman next to him gave him crap about it. With each stop it got worse as more and more people jammed themselves onto the bus. By now it was like a sweat bath. Yummy.

Finally, the driver stopped taking more passengers (there was another 49 bus just a block behind us). At Geary Street half the bus emptied out and I got to sit down for the remaining four blocks of the ride. I got off at California with a great sigh of relief and relished the cool breeze. What a ride. Thank god I don’t have to endure this on regular basis like many of these hapless souls. Jeezus…

Excerpted from Epic Road Trips.

The shaved-headed Muni Fare Inspector from hell

Photo by Flickr user Keisuke Omi

This delightful tale came to us from Muni rider Daishin:

I had the interesting and bizarre experience of meeting and engaging with the shaved-headed Muni fare inspector from hell. I would like to use her name but I might get sued by the Muni union.

It was a calm weekday afternoon this summer when I was accosted by this rather heavy-set youngish-looking fare inspector on the escalator coming out of Powell Street Station. She had a shaved head and looked a little like my Kung Fu male instructor. She asked for my proof of purchase, which I showed her. She then made a comment about my appearance. I think she thought I was a terrorist since I have dark hair and eyes. Laughingly I told her I WAS a terrorist and that she was a nazi with her lack of hair and attitude. She screamed at me and started talking into her walkie-talkie. I then told her she was a “cop-wanna-be”, and was insane for calling me a terrorist. I also told her to call a real cop if she wanted to arrest me.

I’ve had other friends who’ve run into this beast from Muni and complain about her surly attitude and disrespectful ways. But of course it does no good. Muni employees can only be fired if they commit murder while on the job, and even then it would be a stretch to get them convicted. Fare inspectors are the scariest bunch of fools in Muni’s employee pool.

Had a noteworthy experience, good or bad, on Muni lately? Let us know:

Not Mincing Words for Muni or Gavin Newsom

Muni HQ
Photo by Flickr user Dawn Endico

Well, well. Our friend Matty Matt is never one to BS. That’s especially true in this eviscerating post he just published over at the NBC Bay Area website, trashing Mayor Would-be Governor Newsom and MTA for their self-congratulations of Muni’s improved* on-time record for the previous year. Some choice quotes from Matt’s article:

How could the Gavinator be so out of touch? Maybe it’s because Muni’s keeping the mayor’s office in the dark, just like they keep their own customers in the dark.

[A]lthough the longer-term average is up, the most recent metric shows that on-time performance has recently gone down. Not included in either article is any mention of the wide latitude that Muni affords itself for determining “on-time”: drivers have a window of about five minutes to deviate from schedule.

SF Gate’s article about the on-time report, here.

The Examiner’s, here.

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