Snubbed cycling visitors

This pair of cyclists from Seattle felt at home in the rain as they visited the San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Cruz. They did not enjoy the poor hospitality of a Santa Cruz Metro driver and one of our perpetually cranky passengers.

Seattle cyclists visiting

The cute one in the Bern helmet is Anna. I forget the fuzzy one’s name, so we’ll call him Jon. They’re in California visiting from Seattle Washington. I saw them at San Jose Diridon Station, waiting for the Highway 17 bus to Santa Cruz, along with four other people with bikes. They couldn’t board the 5:45 bus because those earlier cyclists filled it up, but I let them know the 6:05 is usually fairly empty. I then rode away to get some dinner, run errands, and catch a later bus.

The next day, I heard from “David” (another bike riding bus passenger, not his real name) about Jon and Anna’s advetures with the 6:05. As I predicted, the 6:05 was mostly empty, but all three spaces in the front bike rack were in use. Santa Cruz Metro policy is that additional bikes can be placed in the handicap area if space is available, which it clearly was.

Unfortunately, “Margaret” was on board in the handicap area. Margaret hates people with bikes because “one nearly ran me over!” She gripes — loudly — about people with bicycles. She is the reason I wrote this article on the benefit she receives from bike riders on the bus. I tried explaining this nicely to her once, but she spun her head 360 degrees and projectile vomited green slime into my face.

The bus driver asked, meekly, if the Jon and Anna can bring their bikes on board. Margaret spat out “NO! I WILL NOT MOVE FOR FILTHY BIKERS!” My pal David told the driver, very reasonably, that Jon and Anna are tourists from Seattle and they’ve already missed two buses, and there’s plenty of seats for Margaret to move to. Margaret LOST IT then, going into full Linda Blair / Regan MacNeil / Pazuzu personality, uttering profanity and threats and spewing hatred while levitating. So the meek bus operator told Jon and Anna “sorry” (except he pronounced it “screw you”) and left them flapping in the wind and the rain for the next bus, which would leave in a half hour. As it turns out, that next bus was nearly full, but the operator of that bus was a little more firm in his request for empty spaces, and Jon & Anna were finally able to board.

When the 6:05 got to David’s stop in Santa Cruz, David gave Margaret a little piece of his mind. He was calm but firm. Margaret got into David’s face, shouted “I am NOT a mean person; my grandchildren love me!” and then HIT DAVID IN THE HEAD WITH HER BRIEFCASE. Twice. Yes, really.

The passengers on that bus and Santa Cruz bus operators who’ve been talking about this incident all week seem about evenly split on who came across as the bigger jerk. I’ve been the victim of Margaret’s irrational ire myself — she’s offended by my mere existance — so it’s easy for me to side with David. Margaret stayed in her seat to spite those Seattle kids waiting out in the rain, just because they had bikes.

What way to make an impression on our visitors, Santa Cruz Metro and Margaret.


  1. Hitting David in the head with a briefcase is assault; if there are any witnesses or evidence of the crime, maybe the police should be called before she seriously injures someone.

  2. Yes it is. But David’s a much nicer person than Margaret, so he didn’t call police.

    A Santa Cruz Metro supervisor came out on Margaret’s side, so maybe David should have reported the crime.

  3. Don’t your buses have video recording the interior?  Ours have 4 or 5 different views, inside and out. 

  4. um…this is “David” here, and while the dialogue was slightly different than quoted here, it was overall pretty close.  “Margaret” never called cyclists “filthy” but she clearly stated that “she didn’t like them” , “has a bad attitude about them” and wasn’t about to move out of her seat for a bicyclist becuase of the way she feels about them.  Also, I don’t recall hearing “screw you” from the driver, but it certainly would describe his behaviour towards cyclists. 

    As a follow up, the day after the incident, I was on the bus again, and at my usual stop a female Metro Supervisor boarded the bus, and approached me.  She stated she was interested in hearing my side of the incident but it was quickly apparent she was there to give me a lecture. 

    The supervisor was not at all intereseted in the fact that Margaret hit me with her brief case, yelled profanities at me, or that Anna and her pal had waited nearly 45 minutes in the rain.  She was more interested in yelling at me in front of other passengers, and admonishing me that “being able to bring a bike on the bus was a bonus, and all of ‘you’ bicyclists are lucky that we’re not charged extra” and the next time “I talk to Margaret I’ll be kicked off the bus and the police called.” 

    Bottom line…”Margaret” acted in a mean spirited, prejudicial way forcing two visitors to Santa Cruz to not be able to board the bus becuase of her beliefs about them as a “class of people” and when I stepped up and told “Margaret” that she “should be ashamed of herself” I get assaulted and then threatened with police action.  Maybe it is time to file an assault report. 

    Maybe Margaret is just pissed because cyclists get the “front” of the bus, and aren’t forced to sit in the back of the bus which everyone knows is the “proper” place for undesirables.

  5. Metro doesn’t allow bikes in our wheelchair area so we wouldn’t let them on either.  (Maybe on a deadhead, but not an in service coach).  That said, I’d politely request that “Margaret” wait for the next bus.  It’s either that, or she can wait with me, the bus I’m driving, and all of the passengers on board to explain to the police exactly why she assaulted another customer using her briefcase – it’s her choice.

  6. …i agree that it should have been reported if only to (a) have it on record & (b) so that the police can inform ‘margaret’ that that kind of behavior isn’t tolerated & yes, it constitutes an assault…

    …one can report something of that nature to the police with the caveat that you don’t wish to proceed with charges but that you feel the person is totally out of line & that the message would be better served coming from a figure of authority…

  7. You need to file a report. If not for yourself then for the rest of the cyclists in the world.,

  8. Now I’d been PO’d at the Metro Supervisor – perhaps her manager needs to be aware of this event. Can’t imagine her attitude represents operating policy of Santa Cruz Metro.

  9. Agree…I’m not happy with the supervisor…but I stopped making complaints to “managers’ about bevavior of  employees a few years ago.  We all have bad days and I prefer not to let that affect someones employment status.  I would never want to be responsible for someones loss of job or wages.  especially these days.

  10. Come on. That’s how people get away with things like this. It should effect her employment status. It is very difficult to fire a public employee. If you say nothing, nothing will change.

  11. Ignorant people like Margaret need educating, calling the Police would be part of this process. Not calling them leads bigots like her to believe she can get away with assault and being an obnoxious person.

    Margaret probably hates gay people and people of a different skin colour too. Hating cyclists is just as unforgivable.

  12. between the heavy handed ness of this response (which is total BS BTW)
    and the fact that they allow crazy / abusive people on the bus system who are repeat offenders.
    are both reasons that i avoid riding on the public transit system. Until they get their act together i an many others will continue to avoid them…

  13. Exactly.  We fill out Security Incident Reports on such incidents so the police can issue travel bans.  It’s a long process to actually get somebody banned but it does happen.

  14. …somehow that vehicle lost it’s status as a metro bus & it evolved (or escalated) into ‘can of worms’ & all because a few folks were just trying to move around on the planet in a sensible manner…wow…

    …margaret, i don’t know what your infirmity is but you’ve allowed it to make you one sad, entitled bitch…

  15. It will very likely have NO effect on her employment, this being the transit sector and all, but it WILL establish a record, which is important.

  16. Assaulting someone with a briefcase, even if she is a “beloved” grandmother, is illegal. The driver needs to stand up and control his bus if he’s allowing insane people to decide who gets on or off the bus.

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