Ax-wielding rider confronts Muni bus driver

San Francisco police are looking for a man who swung an ax at a Muni bus driver.

Officials said the driver was not hurt, but are warning riders to be alert at all times when on public transportation.

Police said shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday they responded to calls of an attack on a Muni bus in the area of California Street and Van Ness Avenue.

The driver said he heard an argument in the rear of the bus, and shortly thereafter a man approached the front of the bus swinging an axe or hatchet.

Police said a shield that was installed to protect operators from COVID, may have also protected the driver in the attack.

"It may have been what protected the driver from the edged weapon," said Officer Eve Laokwansathitaya.

Police say the suspect exited the bus and made his way east on California Street.

Officers said in this type of case eyewitnesses can help, but the video surveillance system on the bus may be critical to tracking down the suspect.

"It's important that we have witnesses come forward when they see an incident, that's important too, but nothing beats surveillance video and us being able to actually see what occurred," said Laokwansathitaya.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said the bus operator is doing well after the incident.

The agency said the safety of its operators and passengers are top priority, and they have been working hard to protect both.

"Actual reported crimes on Muni are at or near historic lows," said SFMTA Director Jeff Tumlin. "They're down 70% compared to where they were four years ago and operator assaults have also been declining."

Police said the incident is a reminder to all who ride Muni or any form of public transit, that these systems are open to the public and riders should always be aware of their surroundings.

"Just be more vigilant of your surroundings when you're on a Muni bus, Muni platform," said Officer Laokwansathitaya. "Be wary of people standing too close to you, it could be pickpocketer or thief or even attempted robbery."