Paratransit driver who struck & killed passenger was returning to job

The paratransit bus driver who struck and killed a woman near San Francisco's St. Mary's Cathedral Thursday morning was a "veteran" paratransit operator who had just returned to work today, according to a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman.

A woman in her 50s was killed when she was struck by the bus driven by a city contractor employee with Transdev Services, Inc. According to police,  the bus had just dropped the woman off moments earlier.

The vehicle pulled over to let the woman off at Franklin Street and Geary Boulevard just before the collision, which was reported at 10:48 a.m., police spokeswoman Officer Giselle Talkoff said.

She was crossing Franklin heading west in front of the bus when it accelerated and struck her, Talkoff said.

The woman, who was around 50 to 55 years old, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver was detained at the scene but not arrested and the cause of the collision remains under investigation.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board chairman Tom Nolan released a statement this afternoon extending condolences to the victim's family and friends. 

"The SFMTA will continue to work with the paratransit provider involved to ensure that SFPD has the information they need to conduct a full investigation into this matter," Nolan said. "While we have limited details at this time, we remain fully committed to pedestrian safety and our Vision Zero goal to eliminate traffic fatalities."

The woman was apparently on the way to the First Unitarian Universalist Church for a meeting regarding the seniors with disabilities act.

"She seemed to be a very outgoing lady. An elderly lady who got around," said church employee Donald Johnson.

"She was waiting for paratransit and she would always complain about how they weren't on time," said Robert Delao, another employee.

SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose did not have the male driver's exact number of years of driving experience.

The SFMTA board just approved a $142.9 million five-year contract with Transdev on May 3 for paratransit brokerage and transportation services, with an option for a five-year extension.

Calls to Transdev for comment have not yet been returned.