Battle on the Q53

Yesterday, Lexcie, Alex and I went to walk the abandoned LIRR Rockaway Branch. After meeting in Midtown and having lunch, we took the R train to Forest Hills, where we walked around trying to find access to the ROW. However, Forest Hills had gated most access to the ROW, so we had a difficult time. We finally found a clearing at Southridge Street and Yellowstone Road, and climbed up onto the tracks. It took us about two hours to clear half a mile along the thick, thorny brush, but we did find a bunch of interesting spots on the way, including some washed-out track beds and a car parts and chemical barrel dumping ground. We abandoned the route when we hit the LIRR Lower Montauk Line, and will perhaps finish another day. I would like to see the abandoned stations.

And the whole time we walked the abandoned ROW, my mother was worried about people and danger we might encounter, when the real action turned out to be at bustling Rockaway Beach.

After we finished with walking the ROW, we grabbed the A train at Rockaway Boulevard and rode down to Rockaway Beach. After grabbing some ice cream and walking the boardwalk, we decided to head back home since it was getting pretty late. Walking back to the Rockaway Park subway station, we passed the long queue of people waiting for the Q53 MTA bus, which had just filled up and the dispatcher told to leave.

The bus started to move, when suddenly the front door opened and we hear people shouting, “Call the police! Someone call the police!” Suddenly, a guy in his early 20s comes tumbling out of the bus, which is still moving, and hits the side of the wheel and rolls onto the sidewalk. He grabbed a nearby garbage can, which was overflowing with beach trash, and hauled it at the bus, strewing the trash all over the place. He runs back onto the bus, and then he and the bus driver tumble out, punching and screaming. The guy’s friend comes out, also attacking the bus driver.

Meanwhile, the bus is still idly moving, hits a shipping container in the street, and stops.

Now, the first guy is rolling around with the bus driver on the ground. The bus driver had him in a headlock, trying to subdue him. The bus dispatcher, in the meanwhile, is trying to subdue the guy’s friend, punches thrown back and forth.

Two middle-aged women are screaming hysterically at the two attackers, the rest of the crowd joining in the shouting. A cop and two local EMTs rushed to the scene and tried to get things in order, but the four continued to fight. Someone delivered a nice punch to the first guy, and he fell and had trouble getting up. The one cop used this opportunity to cuff him, while the other guy was being held down by a few other MTA Bus officials who had arrived at the scene.

Someone had to walk the bus driver away – he was steaming mad. Someone returned his badge, which was ripped off in the scuffle. The other cops arrived and the other guy was cuffed.

I heard from someone on the street that the two had went on the bus, tried to use empty MetroCards, and stayed on the bus. The driver tried kicking them off, and then both of them attacked him. Don’t know how true it is, but all the passengers on the bus seemed to be siding with the bus driver.

While all this was happening, a slew of people in the crowd boarded the bus without paying. Finally, an MTA Bus guy screamed for them to get off and for the crowd to disperse.

The story didn’t make the news, but I’m wondering what’s going to happen to the two attackers. You can get up to seven years in the can for attacking an MTA employee.

So, that was our excitement for yesterday. Fun times!

One Response to “Battle on the Q53”

  1. Chris says:

    One thing I learned as a bus operator is that you don’t confront and make a scene out of the passengers if you don’t have to. I wouldn’t kick them off on the first fare infraction, it’s just not worth the trouble. If it happens again and again on a daily basis, then I call in for a supervisor to intervene at a major time point or rail/bus station. I don’t know exactly what happened, but you gotta swallow a whole hell of a lot of pride as a bus operator…

    …Or I could just cut up and terrorize the rest of the route and end up at the end of the line 15 minutes early. That way, everyone suffers as a result of these buffoons;-)

    I sorely miss terrorizing the drunks on Orange! LOL

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