Heroes on the 21X

This just arrived in our inbox from a WSB reader:

I wanted to note a scary incident on the 21 Express to West Seattle Friday evening.

A female rider became verbally abusive on the bus when she realized the bus was making the right turn onto the Columbia on-ramp to Highway 99. I’ve dubbed her the ‘scary bus female’ (SBF) because she definitely was not a lady. The bus had already started on the on-ramp so could not let her off. She insisted to the driver that she had been let off before. As the bus progressed, she returned to her seat loudly expressing her displeasure. She was upset and very vocal about it. The entire ride was unnerving for those who sat in the back with her.

Midway on 99, she made the ride much worse making threats to kill a woman and her grandson. Fellow riders, including a gentleman beside me, quickly got up to help control the situation. The grandmother and her grandson and other riders moved away from SBF. Several riders stood creating a human fence to block SBF from the rest of us. F or the rest of the trip on 99, until the first stop at 35th and Avalon, SBF was corraled until it was time for her to get off. The driver alert Metro base and we last saw SPD arrive at the scene but our bus was not detained per the wish of the grandmother as she wanted all of us to get home. I hope they’re okay as this was a horrible experience.

It was admirable what these people did. It made me only think of what happened several years ago when a Metro bus went off the Aurora bridge. Kudos to these riders. They helped prevent something that could have been worse.

11 Replies to "Heroes on the 21X"

  • wahgel August 3, 2007 (10:55 pm)

    Thank you so much for your observations. This is a very serious matter. Metro bus service and
    Seattle police need to be alerted to this and similar situation.

  • The House August 3, 2007 (11:16 pm)

    This makes me want to ride mass transit more! Another great reason to ride Ye Old Honda Accord to work each day!

  • Jan August 4, 2007 (12:18 am)

    wow. I don’t take the bus often, but when I do, it’s usually the 55 express, and I’ve noticed that a lot of the bus drivers don’t announce things very loudly. I walk with a cane, and sit in the front, and even there I have a hard time hearing them. Maybe they need to up the volume a little so everyone knows that it’s the last stop…and the SBF’s of the world can go on their merry way down to Pioneer Square. What a crummy experience for a Friday rush hour. Hats off to the helpful fellow riders.

  • deliboy August 4, 2007 (8:42 am)

    Not to be contrarian, but I ride the bus a lot, especially when I was living outside of WS and commuting to and from. In my experience, the bus drivers usually know about the problem with people not realizing the 54 and 55 (and the other WS express buses) go on the viaduct, and they usually announce it several times, loudly. As a bus story though, that’s a pretty decent one. It sounds like the helpful passengers behaved responsibly, which is better than I can say about some self-selected “enforcers” on the bus.

  • Cy August 4, 2007 (10:21 am)

    I take the 21(X) quite a bit and I’ve seen this same thing happen several times, always in the same place as the reader cites. The driver does indeed announce the route on 99, loudly, but the nuts/insane/crazy folk don’t get it as they’re not paying attention and then freak out as the bus turns onto the highway. Personally, I have no sympathy for sociopaths like this and think that getting the cops involved sooner would be a good lesson. Stop the bus on 99 and take the homicidal person off the bus if they’re threating to kill 2 people (free ride to jail!). Most of the Metro drivers don’t even react so I’m glad to hear this one did. Occasionally they do, but the nut gets their 15 minutes of rant time in until we get to the first stop, and it makes for an awful commute. Deal with it right way, drop the nut off on 99 if that’s what they want, but don’t make the ride suck for the other 60 pro mass transit people on the bus. Reason #103 to use the water taxi: no crazy people.

  • Sean August 4, 2007 (2:36 pm)

    I got on this bus at 35th & avalon and I was wondering what everyone was talking about and the bus was stopped for a while before it continued. Clear at last.

  • JT August 4, 2007 (2:44 pm)

    Did it read correctly that she has been let off on the on ramp BEFORE ? Sounds like SBF is should have been let off on the at the far East end of the bridge to walk the rest of the way home. Bet is that she would remeber that the “X” means “not 1st Ave” with that lesson. Kudos to the folks that diffused the situation and the grandmother that realized there were others that just wanted to get home.

  • Jo August 5, 2007 (10:45 am)

    For 35 years I have ridden buses to work and I could probably count on one hand the number of times something of this sort has occurred.
    I consider transit much more safe and sane than driving the freeway with the idiots on cellphones, road rage, aggressive attitudes, etc. etc. etc.

  • neo-realist August 5, 2007 (1:25 pm)

    I agree with Jo. Only I’ve ridden buses for 18 years around here. I’ve rarely seen disturbances like the above mentioned one. Considering the crazies on the road I’m dealing with while driving to work, I consider the bus a much safer if not an always timely option.

  • LyndaB August 5, 2007 (11:07 pm)

    i’m the reader who reported this to WSB. it was the gist of it anyway and i’m glad to read all of your comments. i agree that announcements are very helpful but not all drivers do it, you can’t hear it or people are in la-la-land. i actually wondered why they don’t have little reader boards –just like they do at the airport on the trains. it would be helpful to the non-regular (or ‘irregular’?) bus riders. a sign (or ticker tape version) that says ’21X to west seattle via Highway 99′ pretty much sums it up.

  • Clay August 24, 2007 (9:30 pm)

    I recently moved out here from DC where I saw behavior like this once every couple weeks on the Metro. Seattle RULES!!!

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