The Giants' World Series victory celebrations across The City this year did not result in the complete destruction of a Muni bus as infamously occurred in 2012, but the blow to the transit system was no light one.
A total of 28 vehicles — mostly trolley coaches as well as buses — were vandalized the night of Oct. 29, with a combination of broken windows and graffiti tags, according to John Haley, transit director for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. One new hybrid bus incurred more than $14,000 in damage from broken windows and doors, and graffiti. SFMTA's estimated bill overall was about $140,000.
“The number is very conservative — it does not account for all the extra people we had to bring in and the materials,” Haley said. “It's kind of a black eye for all of us in what otherwise should be a joyous event.”
The transit agency applied lessons learned from the 2012 World Series victory riots, when a bus near AT&T Park was smashed with barricades and engulfed in flames due to a fiery object thrown inside. The bus, which had just received about $300,000 in upgrades, incurred $700,000 in new damages for a $1 million total loss, according to the SFMTA.
To prevent serious destruction from reoccurring, the SFMTA stopped light-rail vehicle service between Fourth and King streets and The Embarcadero, and turned the N-Judah back at Sunset Boulevard because fans in the area got rowdy during the last Super Bowl.
“I asked after 2012 why were we even running service at all down there,” Haley said, referring to the ballpark area.
Had the Giants' third World Series title in five years occurred on a weekend day, the SFMTA would have de-energized the trolley system and run buses instead, he said.
“When people begin to climb up vehicles, they're obviously not thinking about if the overhead wire is energized. There could be a serious and possibly fatal injury,” Haley noted.
Damage can also be caused by throwing toilet paper and articles of clothing on the overhead wires, as was the case this year on Market Street, the Mission and Castro, according to Haley. Overall, there were fewer broken windows and damage than in 2012.
Muni mechanics and repair crews were ready as the game ended to replace windows and paint over graffiti, and they went to work as soon as the damaged vehicles rolled in.
“People that got up in the morning expecting the bus or train to be there,” Haley said. “The fact that we ran normal service through the morning I think is a tribute to the workforce here.”