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.