Dear PoPville – What to do when a Metro Bus is flashing, “EMERGENCY: CALL POLICE”

Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

Dear PoPville,

I saw this [“EMERGENCY: CALL POLICE”] on my way to work this morning, and all I could think was that Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock were on board trying to make sure a bomb wasn’t going to detonate. Any ideas? I’ve heard of other people seeing this before, so it made me wonder if bus drivers just accidentally push a button or something.

I guess it’s an example of better be safe than sorry and just call 911 and let ’em know when and where you saw it.

41 Comment

  • T

    Are you seriously asking this question? Call the police.

    Yes, bus drivers accidentally push the button.
    Yes, it might actually be an emergency.
    Yes, you should call 911 to be safe.
    No, you should not assume that someone else has called.

    • “Are you seriously asking this question?”

      My take: Either someone out there in PoPville is laughing his ass of for getting this question posted, or else PoP was feeling randy and just pulled one over on all of us.

    • I saw this one time, called 911. They told me it was a malfunction and they were aware of it. They also thanked me for calling anyway,

  • i predict lots of constructive comments ahead

  • “EMERGENCY. CALL POLICE” seems like a pretty straightforward request without any vestige of nuance.

  • I’ve actually seen that a number of times. I call the police.

  • Seriously, if someone is stupid enough to stick their legs through the door of a moving bus intentionally, then they honestly deserve to have them violently torn off.

    That is beautiful, beautiful Darwinism at work, right there, folks.

  • I’ve seen the “Call 911” twice:

    Once was at a bus bay with a number of metro employees already there, so I didn’t call.

    Second was when it bus was just driving down the street. I didn’t call then either, but that was because as I was getting out my phone I saw a police officer on a motorcycle so I just flagged him down and told him – he took it from there.

    Of course you have to do something, unless it’s abundantly clear that someone else has already stepped up.

  • It happened to me while I was on a Metro bus on Embassy Row once. Secret Service quickly surrounded the bus and came onto the bus with weapons drawn. Only after they thoroughly checked with the driver and all passengers did they realize it was accidentally switched on.

  • Dear PoPville: I was trying to get out of a building and the sign said PULL. Any ideas?

  • Is this a joke?

    I hope this is the end of the race-to-the-bottom dumb dear PoP questions. Because honestly, where do we go from: “Dear PoP: There’s a bright, flashing electronic sign instructing me exactly what to do. What should I do?”

  • Dear PopVille: I was at the hospital’s maternity ward, in the middle of birth, legs in stirrups and everything. To my sudden alarm, the Doctor started yelling “Push, Push, PUSH, YOU ARE ALMOST THERE, PUSH WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD”.
    I wasn’t sure what to do; any ideas?

    • stop hiding behind your computer screen insulting people you probably don’t know who ask a question on a blog.

      I know every question you ask is insightful and has deep philosophical meaning. I’m sure you scored higher than Stephen Hawking on the SATs but let’s not pick on those who aren’t as gifted as you are.

      • Or you could get a sense of humor… I’m hopeful the person who asked this question has one and can laugh about it now, too. Get over yourself.

  • What part of “EMERGENCY: CALL POLICE” didn’t you understand?

  • In my former life as a transit bus driver about 10 years ago, I was in my seat when a drunk passenger and his friend thought it’d be funny to try and fight me while I was driving. While trying to fight off the attackers and steer the 15-ton bus to safety, I thought to press the emergency button, changing the destination sign to “911 CALL POLICE.”

    Thanks to an alert driver seeing my sign, the police were called faster than they would have been otherwise.

    Seriously, “CALL POLICE” isn’t at all ambiguous.

  • Run and hide! That’s always best.

  • Oh oh! I know. Flag down the bus and get on it!

  • assume they hit a pedestrian or a parked car

  • You know what I do when I see the H8 bus…… HATE!!!!!!

  • Out of curiosity, could readers give examples of under what circumstances a bus driver would activate this feature? I too am picturing something out of Speed, but I assume it actually isn’t something to joke about.

    Yikes. I’m just imagining really awful situations.

    • They were installed as a precautionary measure after the first Speed movie came out; WAPO did a story on it in the mid-1990s.

      umm… or for any other POSSIBLE emergency that could ever POSSIBLY come up. Seriously, what is with this thread? HA!

      • I don’t know, I just never would have dreamed that this bus feature existed.

        I genuinely don’t think this was that stupid of a question. If I saw this, my reaction would be, “Wait, seriously? Am I totally misinterpreting this message?” I would just be really surprised to see this on a bus.

        Flame away!

        • i can admit (yes, anonymously) that i saw this on a bus once and was frozen in my confusion. the bus driver seemed fine and was making his stops, no one on the bus seemed alarmed, and i’d never seen that message on a bus before… so no, i didn’t call MPD.

  • …this one’s pretty easy, isn’t it?

    I’ve seen it a couple of times. I called 911.

  • Has anyone ever seen the cabs that on the top say “Call 911”? In that case, its just an FYI that this is what you do in case of emergency. From the comments, especially from the ex-bus driver, it seems obvious that this wasn’t the case for the bus. But really, it isn’t the dumbest question ever.

    • Or not… Really though, it seems like you can always see cabs’ call 911 signs.. oh well.

      • Of course you can see the “call 911” signs on top of cabs but you only call when lit or blinking. Not insulting anyone but is this your first time in a metropolitan city?

        There seems to be a lack of common sense (OP) in PoPville lately. But then again, I guess there is a lot of that going around when it comes to transportation so let me help.

        “Stand clear, doors are closing” means get the hell out of the way of the doors so they can close and we can go.

        “Please use all cars, this is a 10 car train” means don’t be the ass(es) who try to squeeze into the middle train and block everyone else from getting off and/or getting to where they need to be because you have to be on the all so special middle car which is already packed but you still try to squeeze into a crowded car while there are 8 other empty cars.

        “Please keep moving to the middle so other passengers may board” means take your dumb ass to the middle of the train so you aren’t stopping others from boarding.

        Lastly, a old but goodie “Please stand to the right so people may pass on the left on the escalator” means stand your stupid, no common sense having ass on the right so that people that are trying to get somewhere can pass on the left!!

        I can almost understand where the OP is coming from giving how often I see people do the above…yeah right! So glad I rarely take metro nowadays.

        Damn, I guess blatant instructions are harder to follow than I thought and common sense is that common.

  • actually, some cabbies have this too. a “Call 911” will appear lit up.

  • I think a meaningful response would include, don’t hesitate to call 911. 911 and the Unified Communications Center (UCC) members working that line are capabile of taking all calls. The 911 phone number is intended for emergency and non-emergency calls for police assistance. Not calling would be a mistake.

Comments are closed.