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.
The driver, employed by city contractor Transdev Services, Inc., struck a woman in her 50s as she crossed Franklin Street at Geary Boulevard at 10:48 a.m., according to police.
The paratransit bus had pulled over to let the woman off just prior to the crash. She was crossing Franklin from east to west in front of the bus when it accelerated and struck her, Officer Giselle 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.
SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose described the driver as a “veteran” paratransit operator, although he did not have his exact number of years of driving experience. Today was his first day returning to work for Transdev, Rose said.
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board Chairman Tom Nolan released a statement this afternoon extending condolences to the victim’s family and friends. He described the vehicle as being operated by a contracted paratransit provider:
“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. … 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 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.