The stabbing of a 24-year-old woman on the Muni J-Church line Monday brought back bad memories for some Muni passengers and others said Tuesday that they make changes in their routines to avoid the bus at night.
Eleven months ago, Vanessa Martinez, 37, said she was physically attacked by a man on the 49 Mission-Van Ness line near the Mission and 16th Street stop.
“The driver didn’t do anything,” she said. “Absolutely nothing.”
Martinez said she was attacked for no apparent reason and by the time the police arrived the man had taken off.
“The only person left is the one who gets attacked,” she said, noting that passengers should be able to count on the bus driver for help. Instead of opening the bus doors for people to leave, drivers should keep the doors closed so that aggressors don’t flee.
Others would disagree.
“I don’t believe it’s the driver’s responsibility to enforce safety,” said Leonard Skinner, a Muni custodian who was waiting for the 49 Muni line at Mission and Van Ness Streets. “They just have to get passengers from point A to point B safely.”
As far as Skinner is concerned, police officers should ensure safety on the Muni and have more undercover officers riding the bus.
“There’s never, never any security on the bus,” said Lilana Magret, a Mission resident of eight years, acknowledging that it’s impossible to have police presence on every bus.
Although Magret finds the 49 Muni line safe, she won’t ride it at night. She even changed her class at the City College of San Francisco’s Mission campus from 5 to 7 p.m. to ensure that she is off the bus before 9 p.m.
For Muni riders, the bus is their only way around the city.
“I still have to go to work everyday and the Muni is the only option,” said Adam Boskey, a recent San Francisco resident, who was not aware of the J-Church stabbing. “It’s definitely discouraging,” he said.
Boskey feels extra policing on the Muni is something the city can’t afford. Despite cameras on the bus that record these incidents, the problem is that they do just that, record.
“These measures aren’t preventative,” he said.
“The economic crisis brings problems,” said Magret, citing lack of money, security and home stability as the factors for the increased hostility on Muni bus lines.
Still, Skinner, the Muni custodian, would argue that nothing has changed. “A few people are making Muni look bad,” he said.
Meanwhile, residents will continue riding the bus.
“You have to keep on keeping on,” said Boskey.