Metro Employee Encouraging Harassment

posted in: U Street, WMATA | 9

I got on the 96 bus heading West at U Street NW and 11 Street NW on Saturday, June 4, just before midnight. It was bus number 4299 (license plate B 37486). I didn’t get the driver’s name, but she was a black woman.

As I got on, I noticed the bus driver and a few other passengers yelling insults at a woman getting off the bus, who was visibly upset. I’ve seen a lot of confrontations on DC buses, so I wasn’t paying too much attention at first and don’t remember exactly what was said. It was clear, however, that the bus driver and two or three passengers sitting at the front of the bus (two men and a woman) were ganging up on her in their insults.

When the bus started moving, very slowly given the U Street traffic, I soon realized that the two men who had been yelling at the woman were continuously sticking their heads out the window and yelling remarks at women who were walking by on U Street and comment about their clothing and body types. Some of the women ignored them, while at least one yelled back and told them to stop.

The worst part was that the bus driver was actively encouraging the men and laughing at the remarks. The situation made me extremely uncomfortable and I didn’t know what to do. After 2-3 minutes, I yelled at one of the men to show some respect, immediately signaled to get off, got off at 14th street and walked the rest of the way to my destination. While I was walking, the bus passed and I observed the men continue to yell remarks at passing women.

It is one thing to observe this kind of harassment–it is another to have a Metro employee encourage the behavior while on the job. It was extremely unprofessional and I demand that Metro identify the employee and take disciplinary action against her. Washington DC’s women deserve better while riding on public transit.

Submitted by GH

Location: 96 Bus (#4299)

Time of Harassment: Night (7:30P-12A)

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

9 Responses

  1. B.
    | Reply

    GH~

    Have you considered contacting the press about this? It seems like something news sources would be interested in. It certainly couldn’t hurt~ It would definitely help to draw attention to the issue and to this specific employee’s abominable behavior if there was some media coverage!

    Also, what steps have you taken to deman Metro address the driver? Have you contacted them?

    What you witnessed is disgusting. Not surprising, sadly, but disgusting all the same.

    ~B.

  2. GH
    | Reply

    I reported it to Metro customer service, the Metro board of directors, and the rider’s advisory council and have yet to get any response. The story was also on Prince of Petworth. If anyone has an idea who the employee could be, please email Holla Back DC.

  3. Golden Silence
    | Reply

    You are awesome for getting all that information and taking action. If Metro doesn’t respond, I agree with B that you should go to the press about this. Metro needs to start being held accountable for its actions.

    Also, if you haven’t already, share this story with Unsuck DC Metro. Stories that get reported there tend to get a lot of attention.

  4. iuiu
    | Reply

    You get any of this on video? Be sure to contact metro and the press with this information.

  5. Jaded
    | Reply

    Good luck getting action taken on this situation. Since WMATA is involved, and almost assuredly the driver is a member of the union, I highly doubt anything will happen. It is sickening, but to my mind the only way you’ll get WMATA to do anything is to follow B’s advice and contact the press.

  6. B.
    | Reply

    I would even suggest going to the press in addition to Metro, regardless of whether or not Metro responds/takes action.

    –I guess because getting the press involved would not only facilitate potential punishment for the Metro employee, but it would also draw negative attention to the issue in general.

    Good luck, and please keep us posted!

  7. Nigerian Sista
    | Reply

    You made the right steps to see something is done. I reported a metro male employee for harassing me and I was told that I waited too long. Well, at least the can’t use that excuse with you. I don’t think they address harassment when it comes to hiring metro employees because too many of them seem way to comfortable saying and doing things to metro riders that would get them thrown out of a job if they were working in an office environment. All of this foolish and unprofessional behavior is part of the reason why I just don’t take metro transportation anymore. It can be a very hostile situation for someone who is just trying to get around from point a to point b. And that ‘woman’ should be ashamed of herself her conduct was not only unprofessional and childish but also immoral as a woman. How would she have felt had those two guys made her the target of their abuse? Deplorable.

  8. Kat
    | Reply

    I agree, you should report this to Unsuck DC Metro as well. I ride the U street line and am surprised to read this, because generally the bus drivers are pretty good in this area. All the more reason to dea with this one.

  9. Kat
    | Reply

    I agree, you should report this to Unsuck DC Metro as well. I ride the U street line and am surprised to read this, because generally the bus drivers are pretty good in this area. All the more reason to deal with this one.

Leave a Reply