SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A transit supervisor for Muni is now on administrative leave following a KPIX 5 investigation. The story revealed serious public safety concerns that unqualified light rail operators were being allowed to work for Muni after initially failing their light rail training. Some have gone on to have serious derailments.
“We have a lead instructor in the rail training side who I have had concerns about for quite some time,” said Mustafa Mohammed, the whistleblower who spoke to KPIX in April. He told us his former boss, transit supervisor Danny Hui, pressured him to pass unqualified operators out of Muni’s light rail division. KPIX confirmed Hui was placed on administrative leave Monday.
“First and foremost, it is a safety concern. We are allowing people that are unqualified out there operating the rails,” said Mohammed. He told us he knows what Danny Hui was doing because he participated in it. He said he was pressured to pass students who he did not think were safe to operate and fail others that Danny didn’t want working there.
“I was pressured into changing evaluations and omitting certain mistakes from the evaluations,” said Mohammed.
Testing records for one student show he was disciplined for a serious violation–failure to stop at a stop sign–and given what should have been “one more chance,” went on to make many more mistakes, but passed anyway.
Another student was also written up in a conference for failing to recognize a stop sign. A week later, the student again “failed a brake test,” was “retested,” “failed the second time,” then passed the brake test “on the third time after review.”
Mohammed recommended this person be eliminated from the program, but he says his decision was overruled. That student is now an operator with two major derailments on his record.
“Definitely he is the spearhead,” said Algerine Clayton. She is one of the students who says she was failed by Mohammed at Hui’s direction.
“I would personally like to see the entire LRV training department revamped with new people,” said Clayton.
“If we are dishonest as a training department, what does that say for the rest of the agency? We are responsible for the type of operators that go out there,” said Mohammed.
KPIX spoke with Hui briefly on the phone, but he told us he could not speak to the media about his leave. Muni told us it takes these allegations seriously and has launched an internal investigation but does not comment on personnel matters.