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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • mikie

    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 !!!!!

    • Focus on the Issue

      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.

      • another city employee

        “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”?

      • JoMama

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

      • Gabe

        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.

      • Ted Neward

        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.

      • you troll

        Nice attempt troll.

      • bob

        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.

  • Po Savea

    This is unacceptable!

  • HooDatIS?


    • DatsHoo

      Your God also made her text whilst driving.

  • Nelson Tan Bonifacio


  • Victor

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

    • Victor

      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.

  • getalife u idiot

    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..

    • Bert

      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.”

    • Gerry P

      You must be an employee of SF Muni.

    • JimmyD

      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.

    • bobby

      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!

    • joemama

      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.

    • You're kidding, right?

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

  • Gomer Pyle

    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.

  • Lawrence Yuen

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

  • Jarnell

    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

  • Jay Johnsen

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

  • hillngully

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

    • Are Fn serious?!

      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

      • Nicolas

        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 .

  • tn

    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.

  • Roger

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

  • runners

    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.

  • Juan

    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.

  • xavier

    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.

    • Pachonette

      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…

    • oh no you di-int!!

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



  • Gerry P

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

  • Gerry P

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

  • Nicolas

    ah unions! the gift that keeps giving.

  • Agent P

    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 –

  • Janice Ohlson Husak

    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.

  • H Yuen

    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.

  • BL

    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?

    • Dawg

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

      • Argh!

        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?!

  • k

    I see women all the time texting while driving.

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