Balto. Co. schools try to keep kids safe on the school...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 07, 2000

Balto. Co. schools try to keep kids safe on the school buses

In The Suns recent article about children left on school buses (Firing of bus drivers sought, Feb. 18), Sen. Thomas Bromwell is quoted saying, We deserve to be angry.

On this point, I am in total agreement with him. The entire staff of the Baltimore County public schools Office of Transportation is also concerned, upset and dismayed at the recent events.

Mr. Bromwell is also quoted saying, You should be fired to Rita Fromm, our director of transportation. On this point, I vehemently disagree with him.

Anger should be directed at the individuals responsible for leaving the children on the bus, not Ms. Fromm.

As director, Ms. Fromm is responsible for approximately 1,100 employees who work throughout Baltimore County; she cannot personally control every action that takes place in the field.

Drivers and attendants are trained to perform a post-trip inspection after every run and are expected to do this every time without fail.

The drivers and attendants in question were given an automatic five-day suspension without pay by Ms. Fromm which, until recently, was the standard of discipline imposed by the Office of Transportation.

The motto of the Office of Transportation is We Take Pride In A Safe Ride. To us, it is not just a motto; it is a personal commitment to the 75,000 students we transport to and from school every day.

It is worth noting that our bus drivers and attendants collectively drive more than 12 million miles every year and have an outstanding safety record.

This is in no small part because of the competent and capable leadership of our director, Rita Fromm.

Firing Ms. Fromm would not correct the problem.

Wayne G. Hopkins

Timonium

The writer is a vehicle maintenance specialist for the Baltimore County public schools.

I am responding to The Suns many articles on the Baltimore County Public Schools bus drivers and attendants. I understand the seriousness of the situation, but I also know that the employees actions were not done deliberately.

Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell has stated that if drivers were paid better maybe we would get better drivers.

Maybe if the senator had looked at our transportation systems records he would have seen some of the positive things that drivers and attendants have done that havent been in The Sun.

The schools Transportation Department takes pride and care in the work we do. We do our best to make every child we transport feel safe.

Barbara Jones

Perry Hall

The writer is a bus driver for the Baltimore County public schools.

Without further investments, mass transit wont flourish

I read with interest the recent letter from Maryland Secretary of Transportation John Porcari regarding funding for mass transit projects (The state is investing in area mass transit projects, Feb. 29).

Mr. Porcari believes that the state can double mass transit ridership. As a daily rider of the MARC trains, I can tell him that, without significant improvements, that goal is a pipe dream.

Like others who live northwest of Baltimore, I do not have a MARC station near me. The closest station is Halethorpe, a stop on the MARC Penn line which is just a paved parking lot that is too small for the number of people using the stop.

It has no platforms to stand on, just some rocks and gravel. It has no shelter to stand under while waiting for a train when it is raining or snowing.

This is the second busiest station on the Penn line.

Meanwhile the state has spent millions building stations on the Camden line, which is under-utilized because of the poor service offered.

Its also too bad that MTA did not see fit to bring the Baltimore Metro to Penn Station. Linking the two major rail systems would help reduce traffic congestion and improve mass transit service.

Ed Hershon

Reisterstown

In his recent letter, Secretary of Transportation John Porcari states that the state is investing $2.5 billion in mass transit programs.

Could the state just get the windows fixed on existing buses, so they will not only close, but stay closed?

I cant tell you how many days this winter I rode to and from work on buses that were cold and drafty because of windows that could not be securely latched shut.

I dont think fixing them would put a large dent in the proposed expenditures.

Karen Fitze

Baltimore

Clearing drug corners is only a first step

Mayor Martin OMalley and Police Commissioner Ronald L. Daniel are to be commended for their intent to clear designated drug corners, but they should be a little more honest about the ramifications of such maneuvers.

All will not be sweetness and light. There will be increased turbulence at points distant from the cleared corners and a possible rise in the homicide rate.

But what worries me more is the paucity of social services needed for short and long term follow-up of the cleared corners.

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