Recent attacks have Metro riders worried about bus safety

Recent attacks have Metro riders worried about bus safety »Play Video
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SEATTLE -- Recent violent episodes on King County Metro buses have some riders wondering if their route is safe.

Metro officials say they're beefing up security on buses, but data shows that there are a handful of routes were riders have every right to feel nervous.

The worst three routes alone accounted for 700 assaults and disturbances last year.

Those statistics don't surprise metro rider Nicole Simpler, who thinks there needs to be more security on buses.

"Oh my God. Really? Bus safety sucks," she said. "We're packed. There's nowhere to sit. There's nowhere to stand."

Metro data shows that violent behavior happens most on very specific routes.

The 358, which is a lengthy route running from North Seattle to downtown, was the worst with more than 333 incidents in 2011.

The 7 came in second with nearly 250 problems along the route from downtown Seattle to Rainier Beach.

With 145 incidents last year, the Rapid Ride from Tukwila to Federal Way came in at number three.

While those numbers might seem high, Metro Transit deputy GM Jim Jacobson said they're just a fraction of Metro's ridership He said two million people use metro's 1,000 buses each week, and the stats show that the number of assaults on those buses are dropping.

"We've seen our assaults, both on operators as well as riders, drop over 30 percent," Jacobson said.

In order to make buses safer, Jacobson said the goal is to add more cameras and increase police presence.

"Typically, the things we see on the bus are really in many cases spillover from what's going on in the communities in which those buses operate," Jacobson said.

As it stands, only four out of ten Metro buses are equipped with cameras, which makes catching criminals tough.

Simpler said she isn't surprised.

"I'm from Brooklyn, New York, so I thought I'd seen it all," she said. "I get here, and you all take the cake."

Longtime rider Michael Jones sees it differently.

"They've cleaned it up," he said. "They know there's a lot of trouble down here nowadays.".

Jones said he's happy with the stepped up police presence, though most would admit Metro still has a long way to go.

"There is a lot of violence around here and they want to change everything so everybody can get on the bus and do what they have to do," he said.