Last June, Metro Transit driver Lori Cogar was driving the Route 71 bus in the University District when she heard someone yelling to be let off. Cogar, who had just pulled away from a bus stop, ignored the request. It would prove to be a mistake.
Hear local authors bring to life real incident reports from Metro Transit: — Jonathan Raban, "The Dog Incident"— Eric McHenry, "Fare Evaders"— Steve McCredie, "Metro: Assorted Weirdness"— Tess Gallagher, "Exposed Penis and Buttocks," "Back of the Bus," "Entitlement," "The King," and "Have You Seen Me? Descriptions of Metro Passengers"— Shawn Wong, "The Whistle," "Metro Doesn’t Care," and "The Butcher Knife"— John Moe, "A Scene in Dialogue" and "Playing Chicken"
At the end of the line at Third and Pike, a female passenger with a long, graying braid down her back approached the driver and propped herself up against the dashboard. "You should have let me off at that stop," she said. What happened next is detailed in Metro Security Incident Report #062704, which Cogar filed the following day.
"I tried to explain that I couldn't [stop]," wrote Cogar, "but she interrupted and stepped close to me saying, 'You COULD have. You just didn't WANT to. And consider this my protest.' She leaned in toward me and blew an extremely loud whistle full force in my face for at least 30 seconds. The noise caused pain in my ears; it was so loud and prolonged and I was stunned by it. After she stopped blasting me with the whistle she smiled and calmly walked off the coach.
"My ears were ringing and hurting. When police arrived, I was developing a headache and had difficulty hearing their questions. The headache continued into the next night at work and I still have ringing in my ears and my hearing has not returned to normal."
The report gives no indication that the whistling passenger was ever brought to justice—most Metro offenders aren't. Instead, Cogar had to take consolation in the fact that a supervisor probably read over her security incident report (SIR) before filing it away, where it was quickly buried under a mountain of new complaints. In the past 15 months, the county's bus drivers have filed 15,000 pages worth of SIRs, filling half a dozen cardboard boxes at Metro's downtown headquarters, comprising a repository of suffering and bruised pride that would bring Dostoyevsky to tears.
Metro buses are usually on time, the interiors clean, and the drivers typically polite. But unlike the nine other major cities that rank in the top 10 nationally for percentage of commuters who use public transit to get to work, buses are all Seattle's got.
Most of Metro's rules are common sense: You can't ride without paying. You can't drink alcohol. You can't whip your cock out in front of a stranger. Yet some passengers take these no-can-dos as God-given shalls: I shall ride a crowded bus with an odor that could fell a musk ox from 100 yards; I shall enter the bus by surmounting the bike rack and worming through the driver's window. I shall lay my dog across three seats and lose my shit when the driver asks me to move her so humans can sit down.
Unfortunately, drivers are all but powerless to prevent such forceful displays of willpower. If they get out of their seats, they risk being written up for violating Metro procedure. They can radio a private request to talk (PRTT) for help or, in life-threatening situations, hit their emergency activation (EA) switch—akin to a bank's silent alarm—to summon the cops, who may or may not come.
Last November, King County voters passed the "Transit Now" initiative, expanding Metro service up to 20 percent in the next decade. Hence, the amount of aggressive, psychotic, and bizarre behavior on Seattle buses is bound to skyrocket. A perusal of Metro's SIR stacks hints at what we're in for.
What follows is the city's first field guide to the bus system's worst offenders, complete with sightings excerpted from the SIRs and police reports. (SW has made minor edits for spelling and punctuation and to correct inconsistencies in tense, but has left the more charming grammatical errors intact.) Protect yourself by learning to differentiate the dangerous from the merely sketchy, as well as when and on what route they tend to prowl.Fare Dodgers
Under Metro rules, washers and soda are not acceptable forms of payment. But because they haven't paid a fare since Clinton was in office, some people believe they should under no circumstances have to pay a fare ever again.
7/31/06 9:25 a.m. #3:
3rd-time rider gets on along Jefferson or downtown—usually deboards at 19th or 23rd. Dresses well—white sweatshirt, red or black cap, blue (baggy) shorts (denim), expensive sneakers, black and red backpack. Always walks to front fanning his money...showing 20s, 10s, 5s [saying] "I don't have any change" and walks off.
10/7/06 4:47 p.m. #140:
Began growling as he entered bus at [Burien Transit Center] and deposited large handful of leaves. Continued growling and tearing up schedules (one by one) in rear of bus.
2/28/07 7:38 a.m. #180:
Once again Mr. Sparechange tried entering the coach, I was informed by passengers yesterday that he paid 50 cents. So today with a dollar bill in one hand (right) and a $5 in the other I informed him he owed a dollar for yesterday and the FULL!! fare for today and he blew his top. And after a small conversation he exited the coach saying something about my momma, who at 87 could still kick his ass.
11/13/06 6:31 p.m. #236:
Chronic nonpayer and/or fare avoidance. Usually asks in disbelief, "What! You don't take debit cards!"
12/13/06 6:30 a.m. #550:
Offender #2 had a FlexPass which he ran through fare box but it did not read....I asked to see it; he refused and stated that I don't need to see the pass as he rides the bus every day. But I'm paraphrasing, what he actually said was, "No, motherfucker, you don't need to see my pass. I ride the bus every day, stupid motherfucker, what's the matter with you?"
10/31/06 6:44 a.m. #358:
The verbal abuse came from one individual who was upset for having to pay close to full fare....He put quarter in while keeping bill. I told him to "Put the bill in, you're getting close." He said, 'F_ _k you blah, blah, blah."...The other 19 fare evaders came along the way. 20 out of 63 paid correct fare, but all wanted transfers, no matter what amount of fare paid. This was just one trip. As you (The Reader) well know, this fare system is a complete joke. Maybe that is why, on a previous occasion, a supervisor prevented me from turning in a security incident report RE: fare evasion. (It listed numerous offenders.) The super claimed it would just clog up the system.
7/7/06 9:40 a.m. #3:
Man wanted a free ride downtown. I replied the fare was $1.25 and shook my head no. The man stepped back, [but] as I closed the door he stuck his hand in at the last moment. I could do nothing but reopen the door. When it opened he said next time you wait till my hand is out, I said next time don't stick your hand in like that, his reply was fuck you, I smiled and said not today, and shut the door, he walked down to the light where I had stopped and yelled, "I'll remember you!" I just looked at him; he gave me the finger and said, I'll get you! The light changed and I resumed on my way.
9/20/06 5:10 p.m. #28:
I'd had a passenger who boarded and kept making excuses (and changing the reason) for not paying....He didn't want to pay fare because: (1) he was "too busy." (2) he'll "Pay when he gets off downtown." (3) "I don't want to." (4) "I have two jobs—I'm busy!" (5) I have 50¢ (he wouldn't put that in) (6) then it became 25¢. He never put anything in, just talked nonstop on the cell phone and kept making excuses....A total "scammer!" (and liar!!!)
2/18/07 11:28 a.m. #120:
One male got on and put a quarter in the fare box. I told him it was $1.25....At that point he took his quart bottle of punch and poured it into coin portion of fare box.Passengers With Anger-Management Issues
Maintaining Seattle's reputation as a city full of laid-back people is no easy task. These passengers have developed an advantageous symbiosis with the bus environment, which provides them with a perfect storm of opportunity, targets, and justification to unleash all that fury they've been stifling in order to keep up appearances.
6/19/06 4:50 p.m. #358:
Upon reaching the stop, passenger was paying fare. I said, "Thanks, have a good one." Passenger became very angry, yelling, "What the fuck are you telling me to 'have a good one' for? You don't even know me, motherfucker!" I turned away and ignored abuse to avoid escalating the situation. Passenger said, "I'll kick your ass if you say shit to me" as he exited the bus.
1/14/07 7:55 a.m. #15:
This passenger started to leave the coach at NW Market and Ballard Ave. NW; she put a 50-cent ticket in the fare box and asked for a transfer. I told her the fare was $1.25. She stated this was a compassionate ticket....The woman started striking me with her umbrella saying she wanted a transfer. I attempted to snatch the umbrella from her. I was unsuccessful, but she had placed her tickets on the storage over the wheel well. I took the tickets and a transfer and placed them outside the coach. I told her the tickets and transfer were outside the coach. She struck me several more times with her umbrella; I continued setting up my return trip. She then threw her coffee/drink at me; it glanced off my right arm and splashed on the dash. As I was cleaning up the mess, she began to strike me with her umbrella much harder this time. (It hurt.) I defended myself by blocking her blows with my arms and hands and was able to maneuver out the front door. I then closed the front door; she then began to strike the glass on the door and cracked it.
2/7/07 1:40 p.m. #48:
Pulled into zone at 15 & 85 NW. A man put the bike rack down, climbed on, held on to windshield wiper, screaming, "Let's go bitch." Then he tried to crawl through driver window, grabbing my arm. He then got back on bike rack insisting on riding there. I called for help.
10/18/06 7:08 p.m. #174:
Hispanic male drinking and harassing passengers on coach, using bad language toward female passengers. When asked to please stop, offender became more abusive with language....Finally offender exited the coach...then stood in front of coach and began to urinate on the front of coach.
1/11/06 7:05 a.m. Rt. # unknown:
[A white Ford pickup is tailgating the driver.] I could barely see the top of his headlight. It was severe tailgating, and he followed my every lane change and stayed behind me. At a stoplight he pulled alongside and began shouting repeatedly about the "damn DOT" (he thought I was a DOT highway employee); "go fix the potholes." Over and over he shouted at me about the potholes and demanded we fix them. Driver was still shouting when I pulled a U-turn to get away from him.
7/17/06 8:30 a.m. #106:
Charged diagonally across street jumped onto the bike rack banged on window and shouted let me on this bus—I could tell by the anger and the demeanor and the look in his eyes that wouldn't be safe for anyone on the bus—so I shook my head. He then climbed across the bike rack so he was directly in front of me and banged on the window like he was trying to break it then he grabbed the windshield wiper arm and bent it down and back....I pushed the EA and PRTT...he hit the window again jumped down and charged west on Cloverdale....I suddenly realized he wasn't after a ride he was after me!The Lovers
Some people view the bus as a means of getting from point A to point B. These folks see it more as means of getting from first to home base.
8/28/06 1:05 a.m. #174:
Passenger came up to me after everyone had left the bus and introduced himself. He explained that he was a Gulf War vet [and] he liked his women to work then went on to describe how he wanted to work my g spot, suck my tits, and then asked me if I wanted to see his big boy....[Another passenger] told me that "Chicago" has a reputation for sexual talk and that I was the second woman he has seen Chicago proposition. Chicago was angry when he got off the bus. This man scares me.
11/3/06 6:15 a.m. #174:
While traveling [south], checking mirrors, I noticed a female stand up, pulling [her] Levis up. Appears to have had sex with (lap sex?) two males. At end of trip at Fed Way P&R, the two males were sound asleep.
1/20/07 12:50 p.m. #550:
I was dealing with other passengers when a female passenger came up to me and said there is a passenger exposing himself. I turned around and the passenger had his pants down around his ankles. I picked up his suitcase and told him to get off the coach. He did and started yelling at me [that] he can expose himself anywhere he wants, and dropped his pants again.
1/10/07 5:56 p.m. #71:
"Put your penis back in your pants!" was what the driver heard....The man and his penis quickly exited the bus, without incident.
4/7/06 7:34 a.m. #8:
Two customers have approached about this individual which I have confirmed by personal observation. Customer will board the coach at Broadway and John wearing red or blue bandana, loose-fitting clothing...giving the impression he is nonthreatening and innocuous. He will wait for a seat to open next to a younger attractive female, sit down, and start a conversation. Using his Barney doll, he will try to engage her in conversation, slowly invading her space. If he doesn't get an overt rejection, he will put his arm around her and continue his advances until she deboards the coach. He will then select another female and start over.
8/14/06, 9:42 p.m., #2:
A female passenger came forward yelling that a male sitting next to her had just masturbated and ejaculated all over.
7/25/06 6:10 p.m. #346
[From a King County Sheriff report]: Driver reported that a subject appeared drunk or high and would not get off bus. [Subject] was continually falling asleep and could not be kept awake long enough to exit. I boarded the bus and woke [Subject]...as he stood, a pair of pink women's underwear fell onto the ground. The item had been in his lap. I immediately noticed there was a large opening in the front side of his pants that exposed his penis. It appeared to have been intentionally created with material removed to ensure exposure....[Subject] was not wearing a shirt, he was carrying it in his hand....I could hear a group of individuals outside the bus gasp as he walked toward the stairs.
12/5/06 4.20 p.m. #27:
The offender got on the bus at Issaquah [Park and Ride] without paying or acknowledging me as a driver....We got down to 17th Ave NW [where] she started making sounds like she was having intercourse. I told her this is a public bus she cannot do that kind of disturbance. She got quiet for about 5 blocks and then she got back at it. I reminded her again that she can't disturb other riders. We got to Newport Way and all of the sudden she charged at me trying to grab my private area. I stopped the bus and opened both doors and asked her to leave the bus...she attacked me again trying to kiss me and touch me in my private part again. I pushed her as hard as I can to keep her away from me; when she left the bus she started taking her clothes off, she took part of them off in the bus. That's when I left the scene and threw her clothes off the bus after she left.Passengers With Hygiene Issues
Unpleasant bodily functions are part and parcel of the bus-riding experience, but they're potpourri compared to the outsized, nose hair–singeing stank some riders are able to produce. Metro rules allow for the truly noxious to be booted off the bus, but never, it seems, without a fight.
7/19/06 8:20 p.m. #358:
As we got to 76 & Aurora he asked if I could call for ambulance. I pulled over to next zone and as I was on the radio he started to vomit (blood, alcohol, intestines)....Because of the extensive amount of blood on the aisle area, the [coordinator] had another coach put in service, return this coach.
12/6/06 6:20 a.m. #65:
I have a female passenger who boards at 75th & 35th every morning. This passenger coughs and sneezes repeatedly without making any attempt to cover her mouth or nose....Yesterday she was at the stander line as I approached Campus Pky & Brooklyn and sneezed, showering me with snot. I asked to please cover her mouth and nose....She replied that it was no big deal because she wasn't sick, she has "allergies." I told her that I didn't care and didn't [want] her snot on me ever again.
1/12/06 9:12 a.m. #22:
Dirty lazy homeless person on my bus stunk up my bus by going poo poo in his pants while he was sleeping....Then the metro cops showed up and told the smelly bum to stay off of the buses and to take a hike and sober up. The bum was passive and didn't cause me no kind of problems, just that he smelled like a big dog turd.
1/20/07 9:57 p.m. #26:
Offender entered my coach as I prepared to leave layover zone. I noticed a strong odor of urine as he stood by front door. I couldn't tell it was coming from him until he turned around and I saw the whole backside of his pants were wet and he left some wet footprints. I told him at that time that I could not take him. He stated that he could sit on newspaper or could just stand up. I told him I could not take him anyway.
8/2/06 12:40 a.m. #174:
At the zone as I boarded passengers, I noticed passenger preparing to board looked dirty. The woman behind him was covering her nose and mouth and shaking her head. As he passed me I got a strong smell of urine and fecal matter. I saw that the back of his pants were completely soiled with fecal matter. I asked him to leave the coach. He asked why.
7/27/06 9:57 p.m. #240:
I was heading into Renton on Sunset. [The passenger] got on the bus, paying his fare, and went to the back of the bus. As we got down to Boeing the passengers started to say 'what stinks?' They started moving away from this man. At times I had to stick my head out the window because of the smell....I called for help and was told I would be met at Renton P&R....When the sheriffs got there they came aboard and got a whiff of this man and ran off the bus sick.
6/25/06 4:10 p.m. #358:
Seeing no one, I started to close the door when he popped into view as I was turning the handle. I immediately reopened the door to allow him to board. I apologized telling him that I couldn't see him because the open door blocked my view of him. I apologized over the mic, he responded [with] "No offense taken." Two stops later at University/Seneca/5th Ave. he moved forward to deboard. As he was about to exit he spit on me, my face, shirt, and shorts. Very humiliating. I could smell him on my body until I could adequately clean up.
1/27/07 9:00 a.m. #1:
All these offenders rode the bus with the sole intent of sleeping. 2 boarded wrapped in blankets and curled up on 2 seats. I could see their legs hanging into the aisle. One offender gave himself a sponge bath during the trip.Backseat drivers
Considering all the pressure Metro drivers face during a single trip, the last thing they need is someone telling them how to do their jobs. But some creatures can't be bothered with the protocol of filling out a comment card or calling customer service. These folks are simply results-oriented—and are going to offer their two cents whether it's warranted or not.
1/16/06 8:26 a.m. #209:
This passenger is hyperactive with a controlling personality. He once took apart all of the overhead lights on the bus and rearranged the bulbs because one of them had a slight flicker. This was during daylight hours. In the process, he spilled the large cup of hot chocolate he always brings with him and left the mess for me to clean up. He wants me to pick him up by his house so he won't have to walk two blocks to the bus stop. If I'm 30 seconds early (at his house, not at the bus stop) and he misses me, he gets very upset....He must control every aspect of the trip. From the interior temperature to the route we should take when the traffic is too heavy. When he can't control me, his frustration escalates into anger. His last attempt for control was at the Redmond P&R, at the end of the 929 route. He wanted me to wait in the bus zone while he re-laced his shoes so he wouldn't have to do it in the bus shelter.
2/21/07 3:10 p.m. #358:
I had to wake him up at [Aurora Village Transit Center]. I asked him to pay. He had only 35 cents....[H]e rides with me back to downtown again. I had to wake him up again. I had to go to bathroom and he was not getting up. I told him I am not supposed to babysit him....He gets up and says, "I am the king and you are my servant. You have to wake me up gently." I said, "That could be your mama, not me." He came closer and placed his hand to hit me. I stepped back and he missed me. The back door was open. He left while shouting, "I am the king—you have to serve me."
9/17/06, 9:59 p.m., #358:
A woman got on with a short transfer. She said, "Can I use this anyway?" I told her to take a seat. @ [Aurora Village Transit Center] she started yelling at me because I DID NOT charge her. I ask her to leave. She told me I was lucky because she didn't have a gun.
10/3/06 11:20 p.m. #15:
As I began to make a right turn on 103rd, said passenger grabbed the steering wheel and began to turn it to go left. During the struggle, I stopped the coach, hit the emergency brake and pushed him. He continued with his aggressive behavior so I hit the EA button. As I turned around to defend myself, my leg hit the fare box while I was holding on to his shirt collar and fell on top of him. I then pushed his head down to gain control of the situation telling him to stop and that the police were on their way. He said okay so I let him up and returned to my seat.
7/15/06 7:10 p.m. #358:
A passenger wanted to close the front ceiling vent on the coach. I told him not to twice, because I need air circulation (because of bad smell). His answer was that he as a passenger outranks me as a driver. After I got up from my seat to reopen it, after he closed it, his response was: "I'll punch you in the face and then report you." To prevent a scene and delay of the bus...I allowed the vent to remain closed.The Miraculously Healed
These people hold up the bus on the merit of their physical affliction, sometimes fussing with the wheelchair lift for five minutes before making the bus driver strap them into the disabled seat. But when they need to move quickly—praise Jesus!—they can walk far enough to hit a bus driver or evade a fare.
9/26/06 7:30 a.m. #2:
Wheelchair rider was swearing and yelling at bus zone to another rider. Started to become loud and obnoxious when I said, "Pay as you enter." Argued with me about how to tie down the wheelchair. Harassed another rider who was blocking his route down aisle...told me and passenger, "I've gotten 3 drivers fired."...Was rude to passengers and me again when leaving coach. Once he was off the coach, he stood up and pushed his wheelchair down 3rd Ave.
2/21/06 3:09 p.m. #1:
I pulled into the zone at 3rd and Yesler. I applied the hand brake and went to open front door. Before I could open front door I heard a very, very loud pop/crash noise. I realized the man in wheelchair was standing up and had just put his fist through front door. I called PRTT, asked for help. Man was cursing and yelling, got in his chair and took a right on Yesler Ave.
12/23/06 1:55 p.m. #240:
Customer boarded at Edmond Ave. NE & NE Sunset, and didn't pay the fare, and stated, "This is an emergency, I need to go to the hospital!" I said, "Sir, do you need an Aid Car?" The suspect replied, "Yes." So I called the coordinator for assistance....While we were waiting, the suspect put a dollar in the fare box and said he was OK. Coordinator told me to wait for Aid Car, and when they arrived, suspect said he had a headache, but it went away.Demon Schoolkids
Schoolchildren are usually found in the canopy of the bus interior, swinging on the bars. Sometimes they drop to the floor to run laps in the aisle. They are quick and unpredictable—turning your back on a group of more than one child can spell certain doom. Unfortunately, with the way the buses are designed, drivers have to navigate the streets facing forward.
6/9/06 3:30 p.m. #3:
At beginning of my shift, I picked up four adults and 12–15 high school [kids]....Then the kids started rapping. The boy was doing lyrics and the girls were doing the beat and harmony. The boy began to use the word "bitch." At that point, I got on the PA and asked him to not use profanity/clean up their language. In response, the girls started a chorus of "fucks" (in beat) and began lap dancing. The zone at Massachusetts and MLK was coming up, so I told the kids that the next stop was theirs and they would be getting off....[The boy] lap danced the pole by the door; all four called me a bitch. One of the girls took the plastic fare cards off the fare box and threw them at me. The boy stole my transfers and the girl spit at me as she left the bus!
10/2/06 2:40 p.m. #236:
[Lake Washington High School] students have invented a game called "surfing" whereby standing students try to keep their balance without hanging on as the bus turns corners, goes over speed bumps, etc. This results in a lot of screaming and laughing as people try to not "wipe out." In response to this, I drove very slowly and gently so people would not fall down. This destroyed my schedule and soon my follower caught up and passed me.
6/24/06 10:30 a.m. # 7:
About a dozen kids...about 14 or 15 years old were getting off the bus at Rainier and 57th and one boy about 14 or so punched me in the chin as he walked by to get off the bus and then said, "Do I get my $100 now?" I then hit the EA button and the little punk and his buddies ran off.
7/22/06 9:48 p.m. #16:
I opened the front door and boarded everyone in the presence of [Seattle Police Department] officers. No one paid a fare....[W]ithin 30 seconds of leaving the zone, two females, standing at the front of the bus, started screaming...and demanding to get off of the bus....I had to stop in the intersection because the same two women had climbed onto the ledge of the right windshield. These young people locked the entire bus in chaotic, disruptive behavior. Others were hanging from the stanchions, standing on seats, throwing clothing, pushing, shoving each other yelling out threats and obscenities, to me and the riders who were not a part of this group such as:
"The police just wanted to get rid of us and pawned us off on you and now we're going to get you, bitch."
"Bitch, you saw that we didn't pay the fare and the police didn't do a damn thing. Now who do you think is in control here?"
"Bitch, you do as I say, I'm in control of this bus and you better not open the doors until we get downtown."
"Man, don't make me pull out somethin' to hurt you with."
"You fucking bitch, you stop this bus again, and I'll break your ass."
There seemed to be 5 instigators: 3 female, 2 male. One of the male instigators boarded with a baby (3–4 mos.)Bad Role Models
It's easy to forget that the perpetrators of bus mayhem were all once young, impressionable children whose futures were as bright and unblemished as their rosy cheeks. But as Philip Larkin once wrote, "They fuck you up, your mum and dad."
[Sometime in 2006] at Auburn Park and Ride 7:55 p.m. #180 [From a King County Sheriff report]:
[The driver] told me that he was pulling away from the Park and Ride when an unknown male banged on the door. He stopped and opened the door. The male got on and then a female started to get on with a small child and a stroller. The female lifted the small child...by the right arm. Per the coach operator, she threw him up onto the steps. He landed face first on the first step, hitting his forehead. He immediately began to cry. She grabbed him by the right arm again and threw him up the steps again. He landed on the top step. He was still crying. She folded the stroller and followed the child onto the coach, taking a seat behind the coach operator....[As this cop arrived,] I explained to her that I would be completing a report and forwarding it to Child Protective Services. She became angry and told me that she doesn't need anyone telling her how to raise her child....She instead walked away, leaving her stroller.
11/7/06 11:50 a.m. #65C:
[The driver picked up a man who flagged him down outside of a bus zone.] He immediately came up front and was trying to locate his bus pass in one of his pockets, and was stating "Please wait, safety is more important than schedule, etc." At that time I did respond in a calm and respectful manner, "Sir, I agree that safety has priority, however, could you please wait for the bus at the bus stop for safety reasons." He then responded angrily, "You guys have to give people like me who have BABIES more consideration." At that time I noticed a 2- to 3-year-old female inside the large black plastic garbage BAG (50 gallon type) that he had been carrying closed from the top. I said I was sorry and that I agree with you, and then he went and sat down.
12/1/06 1:55 p.m. #245:
The offender was a 25-or-so-year-old Hispanic woman with a baby of 1 year or so. She threatened to drop her baby + say it was my fault. She said, "I could drop my baby + it would be your fault for swerving." I was driving extremely slowly + cautiously and told her so. Then she said I was being rude + threatened to hurt her baby again. That is when I stopped the coach and called for help.Wheels of Misfortune
Metro's SIR reports include 23 different categories of incidents, which range from the serious, such as assault and weapons, to relatively innocuous, such as sleepers and graffiti. Despite all the possible boxes for drivers to check off, some incidents defy categorization, and every spin on the bus is just another chance to witness something truly unique.
2/2/06 2:10 p.m. #358:
Passenger boarded at above time and location with two very large cats in his arms. Cats got loose; one crawled behind driver's seat and wouldn't come out. Passenger said that some Navy guy was chasing him and has stabbed his hand. He requested aid. I placed call. He then got control of his cats and ran off the bus. There was some blood in front of bus.
6/25 12:13 a.m. #24:
It all started traveling northbound on 4th Ave. between Lenora and Bell St. when I smelled smoke. I pulled the coach over at the bus stop on 4th and Bell....I saw offender #1 standing up in the rear of the coach with smoke and burning embers coming from his pants. I announced over the PA, "Sir, exit the coach, your pants are on fire!" He put the fire out while still on the coach. The fire appeared to be out. I continued with the route when I smelled smoke again. Just as strong as the first time. I pulled the bus over at 4th and Wall, called the coordinator.
2/2/07 12:00 a.m. #358:
I was stopped at the light at 3rd and Pike. I spotted a funny looking baggie sitting on the right seat. I picked it up and two passengers yelled, "Big Bag of Crack." I became worried and shoved it into my trash can. One man moved forward and I felt unsafe. I was worried a free-for-all would begin. I know I couldn't drive with "Crack Wezzels" crowding the trash can. I called for police, they responded. Turns out it was a baggie of potato-chip crumbs.
4/17/06 5:47 a.m. #11:
At Pine and Broadway going inbound on Rt. 11, a passenger handed me a note that indicated the handicapped male was loading a crack pipe while seated on the bus....I asked him if he was displaying illegal drugs on the bus. He eventually replied, "Yes, of course." I asked him to exit the bus. He asked me, "What would happen if I shot you?" I said he would probably go to prison and I would go to be with God.Lords of the Flies
Most passengers' periodic encounters with a Metro miscreant leave them shaken but little worse for wear. Unfortunately for bus drivers, they are the captive ones in this environment, and there's only so much they can take before turning feral themselves, as the following editorial flourishes illustrate.
12/12/06 7:45 p.m. #358:
Drunk out of his mind, stoned to the gills, messed up beyond belief, touched with the power of alcohol, and the mind of a fool—this guy is his own worst problem. Called dispatch—they sent the cops who had dealt with this person before. In no time at all I was back on the road and ready for my next adventure.
2/3/07 6:55 p.m. #181:
This is the third report I've had to write on this punk....Again, no help!!! I don't know why I bother? EA button is useless. I have yet to get a police officer when I need one, mostly not at all! I have lost all faith in this system to render help! We really are out there on our own...aren't we?
1/9/07 7:48 p.m. #550:
Leaving 5th and Airport Way S/B I was shot in the eyes with a laser. Was blind for 15–20 seconds with 80 passengers on the coach....I have lasers on my weapons. What would a supervisor do when he finds out the laser was attached to an AK-47? Transit police should have checked out the scene.
8/4/06 12:34 p.m. #174:
I simply do not have time to write an [SIR] every time someone becomes hostile over being asked for the fare. Cripes, if I wrote an [SIR] every time someone became abusive on the 174, King County would go broke paying me OT! It should be noted also that people not paying the proper fare is a daily problem on the 174...this problem should be addressed by actually placing police on the 174. Fare evaders should either be arrested by plainclothes officers or discouraged by uniformed officers riding the coach, which should be followed by a police cruiser. If these steps aren't taken, then it's useless for drivers to write [SIRs] about fare evaders, and Metro management should not complain about lost revenue unless it plans to do something about it.
7/14/06 8:35 a.m. #255:
As passing head of zone partially in traffic lane one over, noted two males screaming, waving hands. Waited for them at Olive/9th. One boarded rear door, other entered into front door with arms waving wildly and screaming deafeningly about passing him up. Got close to [my] head and screamed more, pointed at coach number and screamed something about he would get me with that number. Made no reply: Was extremely upset, in shock, realized [it was] not safe to drive and feared for [my] future....Started bawling with head on wheel. Passenger came to comfort and offer assistance, thanked him....[Other passenger] was smirking, enjoying my hurt.
Additional reporting by Sean Ludwig and Maggie Mertens.