Bayview resident Andy Yang stood shivering in the cold for over half an hour waiting Friday at 8:53 p.m. for a T-Third Street Muni to take him downtown.
The 28-year-old, waiting on the Third Street and McKinnon Avenue platform, was one of five others including an elderly man yelling into the wind at no one in particular.
The night ride along the T-line was filled with everything from homeless people trying to stay warm, to baseball fans heading to AT&T Park for the Giants game. What it wasn’t filled with was police officers.
Mission Loc@l did not see a single police officer on multiple T-Third trains between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. Nor were there officers at any of the platform stops. At times, squad cars drove by.
Chief George Gascón said this week that for at least a month 32-full time officers would be used to walk beats and patrol the platforms along Muni’s T-Third Metro line. The effort was in reaction to complaints from Asian riders after four incidents including two along the five-mile Muni line that runs from BART’s Embarcadero Station to AT&T Park, Mission Bay, and the Bayview District. One of the incidents resulted in the death of 83-year old Huan Chen.
“I only see [officers] on the train during the day, never at night,” Yang added. “They know better,” than to ride at night, he said while laughing.
He said he feels the need to be more alert whenever he rides the T-train at night, but overall he feels safe aboard the train.
Raymond Adams, heading to the Giants game earlier in the evening, agreed that he felt safe on the train.
“I feel safe on this train,” Adams said while clutching on to his tickets. “I hear stories about people getting mugged, but it’s never happened to me.”
More problematic are the stops where riders wait. Whenever the Muni train reached the end of the route at Bayshore Boulevard and Sunnydale Avenue, the platform seemed more like a desolate outpost than a Muni stop.
Both of the incidents against T-Third Metro line riders this year took place in the evening at or near the Third Street and Oakdale Avenue stop. Chen was attacked by five boys on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 6:20 p.m. after leaving the stop to visit his wife at a convalescent home, according to police. He died two months later on March 19.
The second incident occurred on Monday, March 22 at 7:30 at the Oakdale Avenue platform and involved five teenagers who attacked a 57-year-old woman, according to police. Four days later, police arrested and charged a 15-year-old with assault.
“If I was out here and in trouble, I’d be screwed,” Richard Martinez, a Visitation Valley resident said waiting for an inbound T-train at the end of the line. “There’s just nothing out here.”
Even though police weren’t seen aboard the train, many were seen zipping by in their squad cars along Third Street.
“That’s what they do,” Yang said watching one fly by. “They only zoom by.”
When officers do ride the train, it’s only for about two stops, he added.
The T-train is supposed to arrive every 12 minutes in the evening, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. However, many commuters found themselves waiting over 20 minutes to catch an inbound train.
“I can’t believe how much time I spend waiting in the evening for this train sometimes,” Christina Williams, a Bayview resident said on her way to meet a friend at the Dogpatch Saloon.
Williams added that waiting on the platform at night scares her more than riding in the train.
“I feel exposed when I’m out there,” she said. “Minutes sometimes seem like hours.”