It’s been a long road. We began the battle with Muni over access to its records of complaints against bus drivers about two years ago. We were just trying to gauge what passengers were experiencing on a daily basis. We even had to file a lawsuit against the city and Muni, when the bus drivers’ union got involved and tried to block our efforts.
Cynthia Thompson has received 139 public complaints in three years, the most of any of the 2,000 Muni drivers. Here are some we didn’t mention on the air:
May 18, 2004: “The operator was on her cell phone from the time she boarded … until she got off.”
January 26, 2005: “She reminds me of the ‘Soup Nazi’ on Seinfeld.”
September 13, 2004: “Extremely rude and unnecessarily rude toward passengers.”
January 2, 2006: “Operator was clipping her nails while driving the bus.”
March 23, 2005: “Close doors on patron’s wrist. Patron had to pull his wrist out to avoid being dragged by the bus.”
October 3, 2005: “The rudest, most disrespectful operator this patron has ever seen.”
And those are just some of the complaints deemed “actionable” by Muni; there are many more labeled “no action”. We're also streaming some of the surveillance video featured in our report tonight: "Your Momma" and "Foot Stuck in Door".
To wrap up this story, we knew we had to speak with Thompson. The bus drivers’ union wouldn’t put us in touch with her, nor would Muni, and her name is so common, the only way to find her was to ride her line. It was an amazing coincidence. About ten minutes after an I-Team producer boarded Thompson’s bus, a young girl got her foot trapped in the bus’ door. Thompson’s response is featured in tonight’s report.
This probably wraps up our I-Team investigations into Muni … for now. We’re always looking for the next tip. Please send us an e-mail or call 1-888-40-I-Team.