Murder on the bus

September 16, 1997

NOW THAT MTA drivers in Baltimore are equipped with radios, crime on buses has been reduced and unruly passengers are fewer. Should something go amiss, help is at hand.

But radios provided no comfort to the 20 or so passengers on the No. 2 bus southbound on South Gilmor Street in West Baltimore last Wednesday evening. A discussion turned violent. One rider took a handgun and murdered another with four shots, wounding two strangers. Passengers fled screaming and the driver was hurt stumblng from the bus. The killer got away.

The No. 2 is a vital transportation link between downtown and Catonsville. Some 270,000 bus rides are taken in metropolitan Baltimore every day. Workers, school children, retirees, people enjoying city amenities, people without cars or preferring not to clog the streets with them, all depend on the buses as safe environments and efficient transportation.

Certainly a quick solution to this crime would help restore public confidence -- as would highly visible bus rides by city and MTA police, much like their responses on light rail. Installing cameras might be a deterrent.

Baltimore not only needs the buses to be safe, it needs the passengers to know they are.

Pub Date: 9/16/97

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