DORI MONSON

Dori: Metro driver worries about bus passengers’ exposure to secondhand drug smoke

May 4, 2022, 3:02 PM
Bus driver Treva White   in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)...
Bus driver Treva White in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

How much secondhand smoke from drug users riding Metro Transit buses is too much?

It’s something 22-year driver Erik Christiansen worries about – more for his passengers than for himself.

Public transit gets $3.7B to woo riders, adopt green fleets

Christiansen told The Dori Monson Show that he and his colleagues are seeing an increasing number of riders smoking drugs on buses – and they fear for children and pregnant women who sit near drug users inhaling fentanyl fumes.

“I take the safety of my passengers very personally,” Christiansen explained to Dori and his listeners. “It’s a public health issue.”

Dori talked to Christiansen Wednesday after a tip from reporter Gary Horcher Gary Horcher – KIRO 7 News Seattle at KIRO 7 TV. Horcher will have his own look at the drugs-on-buses problem during his 5:30 p.m. newscast on Thursday.

“Buses are being used as a convenient place to use narcotics or some other kinds of drugs,” said Christiansen. Cooking drugs on buses is easier than doing it outside “because there’s no wind and – at this point – nobody to stop them.”

While most often consumed in pill form, fentanyl fumes can also be inhaled after they are “cooked” on small pieces of foil.

Dori added that listeners often send his show “pictures from buses and trains, with addicts passed out on the floor, laying in their own vomit.”

“On Eastside routes and the northern routes – not as much,” Christiansen said. “It’s primarily the southern routes and ones through downtown (Seattle).”

Driving these latter routes takes its toll on drivers, he added.

“It is tough,” the veteran driver continued. “I changed routes to get back to the happy person I was. It was stressing me out. I was losing sleep. Now I have a decent route, and there are so many, many wonderful people on my route. I removed myself from the immediate problem of seeing the drug use.

“Unfortunately, many of my fellow workers see this on an hourly basis – I do mean hourly,” Christiansen explained. “Some see it many times in their eight-hour shift.”

Drug users often sit at the back of the bus, far from the driver, he said. It’s why Christiansen often invites new riders and pregnant women to sit closer to him at the front of the bus, he told Dori.

The driver described to listeners some of his favorite riders, including a group of boys, “about 10 or 12 years old. They’re loud and rowdy. They’re like a pack of puppies. They’re fun. What about them? Suppose they’re sitting in the back and it gets in their lungs? What’s it going to do? They don’t deserve that.

“If somebody is getting an incredible high (from smoking drugs on buses), I would imagine that leaching on to those 10-year-olds,” Christiansen said.

In a March 24 “Share & Care” virtual forum hosted by King County Metro Transit, General Manager Terry White downplayed the problem to participants.

“We understand employees have concerns about secondhand smoke from illegal and legal substances on our public transit system,” White said. “King County Public Health has provided data from studies conducted by the FDA that concluded that secondhand smoke does not show up as a positive drug screening and will not get you high.”

White recommended drivers use KN95 masks which “filter chemical and other biological particles transmitted by air.”

Why are these public rolling drug dens allowed? Dori wondered.

After initial hesitance, Puget Sound transit agencies officially end mask requirements

“Unfortunately, I cannot give you a solid answer who is allowing it to happen,” the driver responded. Having some kind of consistent enforcement presence on buses “would stop it, but I know that’s not going to happen.”

Christiansen went on to say that he believes only riders can apply pressure on Metro Transit to make it stop.

“You’re seeing this if you’re riding the bus,” the driver said. “We either live in fear or we take a stand and get this fixed. It’s up to you. Metro isn’t going to listen to the drivers. But you? You can do something. It’s up to you to do something about this.”

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dori Monson on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

(Unsplash)...
Dori Monson Show

Dori: Former prison cellmate believes triple murderer is `not evil,’ should be freed

The 42-year-old case is back in the news after the Washington state Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board approved a summer release for Pauley.
1 day ago
(Unsplash)...
Dori Monson Show

Dori: Triple killer to be released unless Gov. Inslee overrules parole board

After 42 years behind bars, convicted killer Timothy Pauley, 63, has been approved for release by the Washington Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board.
2 days ago
Marysville School District...
Dori Monson Show

Dori: Parent permission for Marysville school clubs becomes `hot button’ over LGTBQ issue

The intent to the proposed policy change, Atchley said, is to assure that parents “have the ability to know where their children are at all times.”
6 days ago
OlyToys, Don Wolph's toy refurbishing business in Olympia....
Dori Monson Show

Dori: Olympia Toy-Restorer ordered by County to kick disabled friend off his property

Wolph told Dori’s listeners, Thurston County officials have told him he and his wife of 47 years must evict their friend because “she cannot live on my property for more than 30 days.”
7 days ago
Sound Transit employee records video of homeless individuals on light rail. (Jason Rantz/KTTH Radio...
Dori Monson Show

Dori: The Sound Transit rolling drug den

Onboard: a series of apparently homeless drug addicts, riding the train while smoking various drugs or passed out across the seats.
9 days ago
A ferry and a tanker pass through the Puget Sound near Seattle's iconic Pike Place Market on March ...
Dori Monson Show

Dori: Internal ferry system memos show PR image more important than service

The Washington State Ferry System preemptively slashed sailings rather than face ongoing negative publicity for possible service disruptions.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Dori: Metro driver worries about bus passengers’ exposure to secondhand drug smoke