Levi Pulkkinen of the P-I crunches the numbers and finds that, since 1998, incidents on Metro have risen almost five times higher than ridership.
Route 174 is the 2008 champion with 60 incidents, a stunning upset of the usual winner, Route 7 (with 52). The 7 is both the backbone of the Rainier Valley and the highest-ridership route in the system.
To keep things in perspective, however, system-wide we’re still below 5 incidents per million rides. Furthermore, “incident” encapsulates everything from the mildly uncomfortable to the absolutely unacceptable. Pulkkinen’s pie chart indicates that about 1/3 of the incidents materially effect innocent bystanders: harassment, theft, sex offenses, threats, and some portion of “other.” I think that compares pretty favorably with the odds of something bad happening to you when you drive.
With Route 174 likely to be split into Route 124 and RapidRide A in 2010, its reign is sure to be brief. However, a whole new candidate will appear when light rail opens. Consult my post from late last year on how Link can avoid this title.
And by the way, there’s a first time for everything: the P-I comment thread is totally worth it. There’s noise, sure, but John Niles crunches the numbers to show that these statistics are nothing to fret about, while commenter Seattle_Music points out that many incidents go unreported. Of course, truly serious assaults are generally reported.
Do unpleasant people and fights between others discourage you from riding the bus?