Muni Texter Found Driving Again Despite Suspension

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — A Muni passenger who caught an operator texting while driving a bus was shocked to find her behind the wheel once again Thursday.

With Clipper card in hand, Shawn Higgins boarded the 24-Divisadero line Thursday morning. What he didn’t expect was to run into the same Muni driver he busted in late February.

“My heart sank, my heart completely sank in my stomach and I thought ‘Oh crap,’” Higgins said.

On February 27th, Higgins recorded the driver in the mirror, using an iPhone in his lap. Higgins confronted the driver on the texting, but said she forced him and his husband off the bus and threatened them.

When Muni officials saw the video, the transit agency recommended termination and placed her on a non-driving suspension.

On Thursday, Higgins said he couldn’t quite believe it was the same driver, on the same route.

Higgins said he called Muni officials immediately and was told it couldn’t possibly be the same driver.

“I was starting to doubt myself a little bit because Muni was trying to convince me that it wasn’t true, that there was no way she could be driving,” Higgins said.

CBS 5 contacted Muni and the transit agency admitted that it was the same operator behind the wheel. But officials said she wasn’t supposed to be there.

“Are you kidding me? It was her then. I knew it was her. I called them and they said it couldn’t possibly be her driving,” Higgins said. “I am so upset right now, I can’t believe that.”

John Haley, Muni Director of Transit Operations told CBS 5 the driver will be fired. He is not sure if Thursday was the only time she was driving a bus during her suspension.

Haley acknowledged that there was a failure in the chain of command. “That problem has been corrected now. For me it means I will be holding some management people accountable for failing to follow through,” he said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. mikie says:

    Sure and now she gets months of unpaid sick leave and termination $$$.. Muni gives away public dollars and does very little to earn the respect of the public. I know it is a tough job, but you do have to follow rules !!!!!

    1. Focus on the Issue says:

      I dont think texting and driving is okay AT ALL but it’s interesting to read people comment about this woman as if they have never done anything wrong in their life. Yes, she should be fired and yes, it should be reported bc Muni messed up. However, commenting on her sick leave and “public dollars” owed are not the issue. If you got fired from your job you too would want to have some money to live on while you find other work. You anti-union people are either sick or just stupid.

      1. bob says:

        I’ve NEVER put a busload of people’s lives in danger. There is a difference between doing something “wrong” and being responsible for the safety of hundreds (thousands?) of people every day.

      2. Ted Neward says:

        I put people’s lives in danger all the time. As a MUNI driver, I text and chat it up the whole time. Not going to give you the regular line that I drive, but who cares.

        MUNI management doesn’t care. People who ride busses are losers anyways, only second to the operators that drive them. Except some of us get paid $80K a year to text, chat, and push a button. Yeah, I’m one of those lines. Good luck.

      3. you troll says:

        Nice attempt troll.

      4. Gabe says:

        I was with you all the way, until you threw in the “You anti-union people”. I’ve been a union worker, one of the strongest in CA, and I have been a steward for that union. I can’t speak for all unions, although my personal opinion is that they are all the same, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that the union I was involved in only cared about growing bigger and stronger and it was not for the purpose of the workers. It was all about prestige and power. I think the concept, the intent, of unions is great. But like everything else, those in charge have warped the original intent into something that is hard to live with.

      5. JoMama says:

        Why do you feel a need to call people names, just because you disagree with what they have to say?

      6. another city employee says:

        “If you got fired from your job you too would want to have some money to live on” WELL, if I got fired I’d want to live in a big castle with lots of servants. Hec, if you’re going to live in fantacy land, you might as well think BIGGER!

        She got fired for serious saftey issues so, how much thought did she give to “having some money to live on”?

  2. Po Savea says:

    This is unacceptable!

  3. HooDatIS? says:

    SHE IS GOING TO KILL SOMEONE, GOD ALLOWED U TO RUN INTO HER AGAIN, YOU SAVED SOMEONE LIFE……SHE COULD HAVE KILLED A WHOLE BUS LOAD OF PASSENGERS
    http://ethicalfutures.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/obama-announces-re-election-bid/

    1. DatsHoo says:

      Your God also made her text whilst driving.

  4. Nelson Tan Bonifacio says:

    ??????

  5. Victor says:

    I strongly agree with Shawn Higgins because I think Muni should have fired that texting bus driver in the first place.

    1. Victor says:

      I may not be a driver, but I know that we Americans (including bus drivers) should keep in mind that texting while driving is illegal and could cause more deaths.

  6. getalife u idiot says:

    Cannot believe that someone is taking that much time to go for a person for Texting. There are millions of other things in this world which people doing wrong every second from sex trafficking to murders to rape to drugs. Please get a life..

    1. You're kidding, right? says:

      How about losing a life to a texting driver? That sounds like a minor detail to you?

    2. joemama says:

      You are the one that needs to get a life. What if that bus driver ran over a little child and killed the child, you don’t think that is serious. You sound like someone that texts while they drive.

    3. bobby says:

      Wait, don’t tell me, you replied to this on your Iphone while driving…
      Your ID should be i may take a life i’m an idiot!

    4. JimmyD says:

      I agree. A public bus driver should be allowed to text as much as they want. Damn public safety. Who cares if a bus full of people die because some driver NEEDED to text.
      I think the public, who pays this drivers salary, has the right to know the content of these ever so important texts.

      You are an idiot.

    5. Gerry P says:

      You must be an employee of SF Muni.

    6. Bert says:

      Texting while driving, whether a car or, even worse, a bus, is bloody dangerous puts other people’s lives at risk for the sake of a stupid snippet of conversation between morons. “getalife u idiot” is a complete schmuck with no respect for human life who can only speak in moronic cliches like “get a life.” My advice to “getalife u idiot” is to ‘get a conscience and get a brain.”

  7. Gomer Pyle says:

    Surprise, Surprise, surprise! .What do you expect for an average of $101,000 a year in salary and benefit?.
    I am very pro union, but NOT when it comes to the transit workers union. If they don’t change the work rules, then the drivers don’t deserve any public respect or support.

  8. Lawrence Yuen says:

    only way to fix muni is to privatize and run it like a business

  9. Jarnell says:

    Now she can text and drive in her own car using unemployment checks and severance pay to get her nails did. Oh never mind they can’t fire her cause the union said so

  10. Jay Johnsen says:

    I have seen other bus drivers doing the same thing! I sent an email to them about it and they did nothing!

  11. hillngully says:

    Public employee unions once again proving their value to the taxpayer.

    1. Are Fn serious?! says:

      Unions are not telling people to text and drive…stop pointing fingers. She is an individual with her own mind and choices. Anti-union comments are just stupid

      1. Nicolas says:

        Being Pro union only promotes Mediocrity ,over inflated wages,and sends more jobs to China.If you only have a high school diploma you should not get paid more than $15 to $20 per hours .

  12. tn says:

    The inmates are running the asylum. Must be some negotiated deal between the Union and texter that allows her some sort of a financial severance or settlement to “leave” Muni. Having worked another day may qualify her for some benefits (long-term like pension or medical benefits) that we the taxpayers will be forced to absorb. Muni is powerless against the Union. Going to court will cost even more money for everyone. Texter wins and beats the system.

  13. Roger says:

    Open your eyes, citezens of California. This is what’s wrong with your state. There must be consequences for inappropriate behaviors!

  14. runners says:

    This is a management problem they can’t or won’t control. Those supervisors in control of assignment of drivers, knew very well not to assign her driving duties. They however failed in their duties.

  15. Juan says:

    I am guessing those who are discounting this bus driver’s texting while driving act have short term memories. They have forgotten in 2008 an engineer for a Los Angeles area commuter train was texting while working which resulted in a horrific accident that killed 25 persons.

  16. xavier says:

    I’ve been on Muni once a few years ago, and living in Hayward and riding AC Transit – it’s like night and day. Muni buses stink, their nasty and diry, the e insides have trash and graffiti, and they smell like pee. The drivers drive too fast, are NOT friendly, and if your a pedestrian or in your car near one, they sometimes don’t pay attention. When I worked in Frisco back in 2000 and again in 2004 – I almost got hit twice by a Muni bus and I was crossing the street at the right time. They don’t pay attention half the time.

    1. Pachonette says:

      I agree AC Transit holds themselves to a higher standard for lower pay.. However, I betcha a few of their drivers are texting as well, they just haven’t got caught.. If your living in a glass house don’t throw no stones…

    2. oh no you di-int!! says:

      etiquette please… since you don’t live in the city, you DO NOT get to call it frisco.

  17. OUTTA CONTROL says:

    FIRE THE DRIVER ARE YOU KIDDING FIRE YOURSELF FIRST THEN THE DRIVER HOW DID SHE GET TO DRIVE AGAIN ANYWAY THATS WHY MUNI HAS A BUDGET SHORTFALL STARTS AT THE TOP SHE DIDNT STEAL THE BUS DID SHE AND PANSY BOY YOU MADE YOUR POINT THE FIRST TIME

  18. Gerry P says:

    Don’t you just love the Ford-run SF Muni and the Muni’s union?

  19. Gerry P says:

    Ooops! My comment about being a Muni employee was directed to: getalife u idiot

  20. Nicolas says:

    ah unions! the gift that keeps giving.

  21. Agent P says:

    Most today are more concerned/enthralled with Ratting out their fellow citizen, than they are about ‘Doing Good’…

    That’s Ok though, because you end up with the Society you Deserve. So if you want a Police/Security State, where everyone is Suspicious of each other and Paid informants rat out to the street corner STASI police, then this is indeed your Paradise –

  22. Janice Ohlson Husak says:

    The guy that turned in the texting bus driver TWO TIMES is a hero. This driver is an accident waiting to happen, just put her in a smart car and let it happen, not a bus.

  23. H Yuen says:

    Muni need to update their employee policy and include texting as prohibitive practice when driving buses. Hopefully this will be a easy fix with the unions.

  24. BL says:

    I don’t think the Muni driver should have been fired. I think repramanded, suspension…sure…but she made a simple mistake. She should be allowed to correct her actions and as long as it doesn’t happen again. Think about yourself at work…if you make a mistake…even a critical mistake, wouldn’t you like the opportunity to correct it? Instead of being made an example and being fired. So…in the end, what did that solve?

    How many times have you seen Police offices…either city cops or CHP driving and talking on the phone? And why are they not accountable?

    1. Dawg says:

      Police are exempt from the cell phone law during the course of their duty.

      1. Argh! says:

        Good point, “during the course of their duty.” They have 5 antennas bristling from the top of their cars! Who do they need to talk to on their cell phones? Their spouses about dinner plans?!

  25. k says:

    I see women all the time texting while driving.

  26. rodneyra says:

    Why are the managers not being fired? If they cannot properly manage their employees, they have no business working for Muni.

    1. tn says:

      …because the managers were probably once Muni drivers themselves….(and probably texted while they drove Muni vehicles…) Monkey see, monkey do.

  27. Marty says:

    Amen to that! This state has so many problems for such a beautiful state. It is definately not the state i thought it was so we are planning on moving back to Texas. Texas is proud of their state and they take care of their Texans. period.

  28. Johnny Darko says:

    i heard she was sexting. ew, can you imagine, a bus driver with an acutual life? ick

    1. jimbo cream says:

      what a wierd fetish ; sex with a muni driver
      only in SF

  29. Amy W says:

    There are strange union issues and work rules that are in place if that person was still around. Who is at the bargaining table for the city? Willy Wonka? Insane. How could it escape a supervisor’s notice that en employee on leave pulls a bus out of the lot…the driver must’ve slipped by. Blaming the chain of command obviously means the chain is WAYYYYY too long.

  30. Everett Flowers says:

    let’s hear for the UNION

  31. sanjay says:

    Wow we speak about this driver….. but i see car drivers in 880, 680, CA-17, CA-85 and 280 talking on hand held mobiles(no bluetooth) while driving. I no one worries about it !!!

  32. gaijinpl says:

    What is hilarious is that the bus STOPS at every dang corner anyway… text at when you’re stopped!

    Fire her, and fire the head of Muni that allows this garbage to continue.

  33. gaijinpl says:

    The funny thing is that the bus stops at every damn corner anyway… just text at the stops!

    Seriously though, fire the driver and find someone who takes their job more seriously.

    Then, fire the head of MUNI, because they allow this garbage to continue.

    Remember, public unions are organized…. AGAINST YOU!

  34. ros says:

    I wonder what Shawn Higgins and his husband will do once someone takes a photo of them doing something they shouldn’t be doing in public and uses it to attempt to create hostility. It kicks me that one person always feels obligated to judge and impose their morals and what they think “right” is on someone else “for the good of others”. The judger always believes they are better because they see another “having the nerve to do something so outrageous”. I’m appalled that this person goes around taking photos of strangers on his phone and posting them like its the thing to do – the driver of the bus should be fired but this guy taking photos and “unbelieving it” then running home to post it says alot about what people believe they can do to others. The unions have nothing to do with it.

    1. Hatesstupidpeople says:

      You are a moron. This person is driving a bus full of people. Have you seen bus accidents where people are ripped apart? How would you feel if it was because some lazy trash is texting instead of driving their bus. It’s try to act as if this person is doing people a favor, no they are doing their job and failing at it.

      If

      Obviously you are just posting as some lackey loser associated to this poor trashy couple. Probably will be dead or in rehab in 15 yrs anyways.

  35. Jeff says:

    What is really crazy is that I see police officers on their cell phones texting and all.
    You can call on your cell while driving only if it is an emergency, but Ive seen cops laughing out loud on their cell – what kind of emergency is that ? the latest yo momma joke.

  36. Sal says:

    Just goes to show that Haley and Ford are on top of things at Muni.

  37. Radical 1. says:

    At least MUNI took some type of corrective action. The driver broke the law, admitted it, was suspended and now back at work. The news is biased and does not tell all except what they want for instance,. BAE Systems in San Francisco has a General Manager who was found guilty of racial discrimination. He fired, suspended and laid off every Black person in supervisory or management position. No action was taken against him and he broke the law, endangered the families those people take care of daily. He was found guilty in a court of law in January 2011 and still in the same position and received a promotion. The driver was punished and the general manager was promoted.

  38. Bob says:

    Reduce population and you won’t need so many buses. Start now and we can reduce the problems of bus accidents. Bus driver salary is high, yet their IQ is low. How does that work? The Director of AC Transit needs to be let go as well. It appears that he and the CEO of PG&E are of the same “cloth,” thus both need to be released before they hurt someone else.

  39. Ida says:

    AC Transit drivers….are you feeling me !!!!!!

  40. hamhock says:

    I hope Mr. Higgins will not be further shocked if she is caught driving the same bus after she is fired.

  41. MacGoo says:

    If she threw him and his husband off of the bus she may be guilty of a hate crime as well!

  42. Common Sense says:

    LOL typical for democrats are you really suprised especially in SF. THe biggest democrat ses-pool ever.

  43. Fire Them All says:

    how did we all know she was supposed to be fired but muni management didn’t? living behind castle walls and clueless about what is happening in the real world? Fire em all!!!

  44. amrio balin says:

    Being terminated is a very Traumatizing to anyone ,what gives anyone the right to say who should be Fired from any job,you have to understand we have a lot of idiots whom Roam the streets of san francisco looking for a free payday,and or attention, you know who you ARE, texting while driving stupid yes ,a second chance,with corrective action,with suspension yes do it again out the door for sure,everyone should get a job, find a hobby,and a damn LIFE !!

  45. Q says:

    I think people just need to mind their own business and stop trying so hard to get people fired. She knew what she did was wrong, punish her and if she does it again, fire her. Why is that guy trying so hard to get her fire? Did he get off on that knowing someone can lose their job and he was the one responsible for it? Get a life people!

    1. JaneQPublic says:

      INVITATION to Q and amrio and anyone else who thinks the texting driver should have been given “another chance’ to recklessly endanger other lives when they drive and text..

      Put yourself and your entire family on that bus and let her rip! Better yet, get on a plane where the pilot is texting and the air traffic controller is sleeping….

      1. M says:

        So then employees should get fired every time they make a mistake, no matter how small it is? Hey, that sounds like your reasoning here.

      2. truth says:

        IDoes any one have any idea bhow things realy work ? this texting driver was clearly wrong and was suspended and came back with a not tto drive tag on her then man power became a problem someone calls in sick and now they have to run what happens MANAGMENT gets behind the wheel and works (cant do that there busy waisting money)so a member of MANAGMENT tells the texting driver to drive direct order rank and file do not can not make that call anly MANAGMENT so go get the right person fired the one who sent her back out on the road!!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. MugWump says:

    With unions and lawyers running SF it s easier to get the equator moved south a mile than get a city workers fired. At least this driver is white so there won’t be a racial discrimination lawsuit.

    Have you ever paid a $5 Cable Car fare and were not given a reciept? When that happens the Muni conductor pocketed your money. Fare theft is rampant in the Cable Cars. Muni apparently does not pay conductors enough, so they pay themselves. The thieves know they are impossible to fire thanks to the TWU.
    In one Contoller’s audit check ride, a conductor asked everyone to pay that had not paid a fare. Nine people paid and none were given a reciept. A quick $45 for the conductor. The auditors were usually given reciepts, but that has not been my experience. Embezzelment is a serious problem. Even Mayor Newsom was not given a reciept. It is completely idiotic that MUNI can’t hire honest conductors and fire the embezzelers.

    MUNI has always been an makework affirmative action program disguised as a bus company. It is dysfunctional because of these conflicting goals. The City needs to renegotiate all City union employee contracts. Overpaid city employees are parasites. MUNI is a good place to start. Typical liberals will holler racisim when the logical argument is lost.

    Many people would gladly drive for MUNI at half what these lazy TWU union shufflebutts are paid. The TWU would fold like a lawn chair if the MTA allowed private operators to run bus services in competiton with the MUNI monopoly. Years ago there were numerous jitney operators competing with MUNI. TWU puppets in City Hall regulated them out of existence.

  47. JR says:

    I think we are beyond firing the Muni driver at this point. This clearly shows management in Muni should be fired for neglecting their duties. Heads should roll in management……………………………….If nothing changes you will always get the same results.

  48. Sharks! says:

    If you are over the age of 22 and text at all youre an IDIOT. Grow up and call the person you insecure piece of poop!

  49. JWAJ says:

    …..Higgins confronted the driver on the texting, but said she forced him and his husband off the bus and threatened them…….

    Him and his husband? ;-/

    1. mechanic says:

      I believe Mr Higgins and His HUSBAND were on a magical ride to their honeymoon destination that day; and were quite displeased that such an irresponsible person (the Muni driver) was out to spoil “their SPECIAL day”.

  50. Patty Cakes says:

    SHE SHOULD BE TERMINATED IMMEDIATELY! she jeopardized everyone inside the bus as well as around the bus. UNACCEPTABLE!

  51. davey says:

    We have to treat the muni drivers with respect because they belong to the Union. I do not want them to go on strike.

  52. mechanic says:

    I believe Mr Higgins and His HUSBAND were on a magical ride to their honeymoon destination that day; and were quite displeased that such an irresponsible person (the Muni driver) was out to spoil “their SPECIAL day”.

  53. Wyatt says:

    Texting is against the law because it is a public safety concern and endangers the lives of others. Therefore, a driver texting alone in a vehicle is endangering many lives, i.e., lives of all people in the vehicles near and around him. Therefore, an individulal driver is just as guilty as a bus driver with a vehicle full of people.

  54. Edward McDowell says:

    The Mayor must take charge of this unacceptable situation. Upper management of MUNI must be terminated along with the driver.

  55. Brandon says:

    How soon we forget about the dangers of transit workers texting. Remember the train crashes in LA and Boston? Both had operates who were texting. This is not a joking matter and Muni should have a zero tolerance policy on mobile device usage while driving a bus or operating an LRV or street car. In this case the supervisor that allowed a suspended driver to drive her normal route should be terminated as well.

  56. Jadǝ Purǝlica says:

    Was she caught driving AND texting at the same time (now THAT would be absolutely unforgivable!), or just driving? The article didn’t say. But yah, I wouldn’t trust a driver who’d multitask while driving next to my car, let alone the vehicle I’m riding on.

  57. Radical 1 says:

    Discrimination is Illegal and does not get this much attention.

  58. Sarah Noguera says:

    My mother was killed by a woman who hit my vehicle while I was driving with family, injuring my father, my daughter, my son and my husband. It also broke all my limbs, crushing my lower legs. The woman couldn’t explain why she suddenly ran off that country highway on that sunny afternoon, and overcorrected into our lane. She had a prior cell phone while driving violation. Despite this evidence, the CHP nor the DA bothered to look into her cell phone records, and she was only charged with 10 days of jail time, since no evidence was presented showing gross misconduct in her driving. The driver is in Mexico as we speak.

  59. Steve says:

    Well, was the driver still using her phone while driving this time? If she wasn’t then it should be ok (no reason for the heart to sink), since she isn’t breaking rules or laws this time. I think Scott is making this latest encounter a bigger deal than it really is. In fact, i think he is just a “busybody” at this point.

    Now, if she was back to her old ways again, then yes, she shouldn’t be allowed to keep her job. Its just going to get worse for her and Muni if she causes an incident due to her texting.

  60. L. Martinez says:

    The media coverage has exposed a crime. Muni drivers are licensed by the State of California DMV. This Muni driver has committed a criminal offense. S.F. mayor Ed Lee, the SFPD, and the SF District Attorney need to have the Muni management, the Muni union, SEIU prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The only people laughing about this incident are the driver and Muni employees. Why are they laughing? Becuase they are above the law. Enough said!

  61. Rogers says:

    You tax dollars at work thank God for liberals

  62. August says:

    you know, the SF Chronicle was just writing about a iPhone application put together by the city which shows open parking spaces in downtown neighborhoods on a map. If drivers are allowed to use this program on their phone, why are we hassling this bus driver? At the same time, when someone is looking at their telephone, nobody is driving the bus.

  63. Disgusted says:

    I’m impressed that most of the people (or should I say the PERSON) defending this driver or slamming the whistle blower are verging on illiterate. It is that uneducated people actually think it’s alright for a bus driver to text and drive, or could it be that a certain driver is defending herself?

    1. Steve says:

      Really? So if you make a mistake at work, and you get “punished” would you want to be allowed to change your ways and be allowed to try again? I am defending her this time because I think some people are just making a big deal this time around simply because she is back again, not whether or not she changed.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS San Francisco

Get The New CBS SF Bay Area Local App
Got Our Weather App?

Listen Live