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how to deal with harassment? - America's Best Transit System
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Sun, May. 22nd, 2011 12:19 pm
how to deal with harassment?

I had a jarring incident on the yellow line last night. I was approaching my stop, so I went to stand by my bike on the hook, and a man started yelling at me to get my hands off "his" bike. He repeated this about 10 times in the eternity it took for the train to stop. I just ignored him until the doors opened, and I loudly said "NO, this is MY bicycle, SIR" as I quickly deboarded. I guess that was the right thing to do (he didn't pursue or try to fight me) but I was terrified for a little while there. I am definitely going to sign up for that self-defense refresher course I was thinking about.

Is this a thing now? Potential thieves trying to intimidate people into abandoning their bikes? Anyone else noticed any recent threatening behavior on Trimet, and how it was dealt with? Should I have called the driver immediately instead of ignoring the guy?


Sun, May. 22nd, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC)

Yeah, someone who would act that way on a MAX approaching one of the most heavily-policed stations obviously isn't in their right mind. I'd hate to bother the operator over random insanity, they have enough to deal with already.

ReplyThread Parent
Explain me what is justice, what is right?
Sun, May. 22nd, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)

It doesn't help when there's no way to discreetly alert the drivers even on the bus, let alone MAX. I've had to hold back on reporting so many incidents just because there was no way I could do it without risking letting the perpetrator of the incident know. If you're on the bus, you pretty much have to walk up to the driver, and anyone who's paying attention will know what you're talking to the driver about. And on the MAX, you not only can be seen pressing the button, but you get to have your report BROADCAST through both cars.

They need to set up a system where there's a much safer way to report this stuff. Not sure how, but one thing that comes to mind is to allow reports via text message. It obviously wouldn't be available to everyone, but it's a start.

ReplyThread Parent
Explain me what is justice, what is right?
Sun, May. 22nd, 2011 09:15 pm (UTC)

I'm sorry to say that this kind of behavior happens ALL the time on TriMet, and it has indeed gotten worse over time. It also seems to depend on which part of town you're in or which route (and sometimes which time of the day). For instance, I was on the #6 a few years ago, and it was after 7 PM and already dark and getting cold out, so I closed the window that someone had left open. The guy sitting a couple of seats away from me promptly came up and JERKED the window back open so that it broke and could never be shut again. That really scared the hell out of me, so I immediately went all the way up to the front of the bus and took a seat there. I wanted to tell the driver, but was afraid that the guy would see me ratting on him; if he was belligerent and strong enough to break a window, I didn't want to think of what he could do to me.

Don't even get me started on all the fights that break out for absolutely no reason. I remember this one time, I was on the bus just a half a mile away from my stop to get home (thus, I'm not listing the route for reasons of privacy, but let's just say that I live in one of the less "dangerous" neighborhoods), and all of a sudden, this guy the next seat down starts whaling on his seatmate for apparently no reason.

And just a few weeks ago, I was minding my own business and obviously on my mobile phone calling my work to let them know that the bus was running late, so I was going to be late to work but was on my way. There was a guy sitting across from me, trying to get my attention, so I thought maybe I was talking too loud, so I put the call on hold and apologized for talking too loud. He then promptly asked me for money, and I said, "Sorry, but I'm on the phone with my work and I need to get right back to it." And what did he do, but kick me in the legs and curse at me.

TriMet is just really scary to ride on anymore. =(

Edited at 2011-05-22 09:19 pm (UTC)

Mon, May. 23rd, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC)

I'm so sorry to hear of the trouble you've seen... my experience is nothing in comparison. Like leorising1959 said, don't hesitate to report incidents (once you're in a place where you feel safe). Even if there's nothing anyone can immediately do, Trimet can use report metrics to determine where to beef up police presence along transit routes.

ReplyThread Parent
Sun, May. 22nd, 2011 10:56 pm (UTC)

Wow, that's a lot of violence you've run into. I have to say that I've been riding TriMet for 20 years and I haven't run into that much really violent behavior, especially aimed at me. (And I'm no one special, just a fat old white broad.) Who knows what to attribute that to -- probably luck, more than anything else. That, and I live in Beaverton.

Did you report any of these incidents? I keep Tri-Met's number on my cell's speed dial, not just for scheduling checks, but to report incidents like that, too. I know you were late in the last incident, but you might've at least reported it without staying to file charges.

Bus drivers should not be ignoring those incidents. I'd be a squeaky effing wheel each time (and, on the very few occasions I've seen people be violent, I have reported them to the driver. I do actually practice what I preach.) I know these poor drivers probably get jaundiced after seeing a lot of it, but that doesn't mean they can just relax and let their innocent passengers get abused. If you're afraid of retaliation, though, then I dunno -- just wait, get the number of the bus and the time, and call it in later. Most have security cameras these days, maybe that could help them do something.

I live in Beaverton, and we've got the whole suburban white-privilege thing going here. There aren't a lot of halfway houses, and people who are off their meds don't come out this way. They probably get arrested or something if they do. I hate elite privilege, but I'll be candid and say I don't miss the crazies, even if that makes me a bad person.

To you and the OP, I'm sorry to hear such scary things are happening. Good luck on avoiding such abuse in the future, to all of us.

Sun, May. 22nd, 2011 10:57 pm (UTC)

^This was meant as a reply to lady_angelina.

ReplyThread Parent