Evan Blaser/Flickr

The city says it’s struggling with a “disturbing trend” in attacks on bus and train operators.

If you had been aboard San Francisco’s inbound Muni 47 bus at 4 p.m. last Tuesday, you would’ve seen a man smash the driver in the head with a skateboard, causing havoc among the passengers and ultimately sending the bleeding victim to the hospital.

The incident was the latest in a string of attacks on Muni employees—the week before that, for instance, another operator was allegedly tossed to the ground and beaten by an enraged driver. And while nobody should need to be told to not beat up public servants, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is doing just that with its new ad campaign, “Keep Them Safe.”

The SFMTA hopes the initiative will counter what it calls a “disturbing trend in assaults on Muni operators.” Here’s more from the agency:

There were 18 physical assaults on operators in 2013, and they increased to 24 in 2014. By the next year, the number of operator attacks had more than doubled to 58. It’s a trend the SFMTA is determined to reverse.

From June 2015 to June 2016, there were also eight assaults on parking control officers, three on transit fare inspectors and one on an employee of the Muni Transit Assistant Program, which provides ambassadors on different transit lines.

A review of reports and security video of each violent incident involving transit operators showed that in the overwhelming majority of them—61 percent—there were no signs of any altercation or incident right before the assault. Another 17 percent were tied to disputes over stops, and 16 percent involved disputes about fares.

The agency plans to train its operators on security procedures and how to defuse hostile situations, among other things in a broader push toward protecting employees. But in the meantime it’s placing ads in the transit system to remind irate customers Muni operators are humans, too. Here are a couple examples:

SFMTA

As you can see, the PSAs come with little factoids, like “Every 11 days a Muni operator is assaulted.” Time will tell if this new campaign has any effect on the violence—say, maybe getting those assaults down to every 12 or 13 days?

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: A Lyft scooter on the streets of Oakland in July.
    Transportation

    4 Predictions for the Electric Scooter Industry

    Dockless e-scooters swept cities worldwide in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, expect the battery-powered micromobility revolution to take a new direction.

  2. Life

    The Cities Americans Want to Flee, and Where They Want to Go

    An Apartment List report reveals the cities apartment-hunters are targeting for their next move—and shows that tales of a California exodus may be overstated.

  3. photo: a pair of homes in Pittsburgh
    Equity

    The House Flippers of Pittsburgh Try a New Tactic

    As the city’s real estate market heats up, neighborhood groups say that cash investors use building code violations to encourage homeowners to sell.  

  4. photo: Dominque Walker, founder of Moms 4 Housing, n the kitchen of the vacant house in West Oakland that the group occupied to draw attention to fair housing issues.
    Equity

    A Group of Mothers, a Vacant Home, and a Win for Fair Housing

    The activist group Moms 4 Housing occupied a vacant home in Oakland to draw attention to the city’s affordability crisis. They ended up launching a movement.

  5. Environment

    Housing Discrimination Made Summers Even Hotter

    The practice of redlining in the 1930s helps explain why poorer U.S. neighborhoods experience more extreme heat.

×