School bus owner wins reprieve

City restores 15 routes suspended after crash

January 17, 2002|By Michael James | Michael James,SUN STAFF

Saying that they feel "more comfortable with the situation," Baltimore school officials restored yesterday about half the suspended bus routes to a transportation company whose bus crashed into a house last week and injured several children on board.

At the same time, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration said yesterday that the agency is destroying the license tags of 17 of the company's buses that had been suspended after a recent citywide inspection of school buses. The company, Allender Group, owns 34 buses.

The school system's decision will allow Allender, whose buses have a spotty inspection record, to recoup about 15 bus routes that city officials had taken away pending an investigation of the accident Jan. 8 in Northeast Baltimore. Allender, one of the city's largest contractors, was not legally allowed to be carrying children on the bus in question because the vehicle had flunked a state inspection earlier in the day.

"We feel more comfortable with increasing the number of [Allender] buses because many of the problems with them have been corrected," said Edie House, a city school spokeswoman. "We felt that based on information we've been getting in our investigation that it's safe to start increasing the company's routes."

Allender will be allowed to operate its remaining 17 buses in the city school bus program. School officials said last week they were limiting Allender to two of its 32 contracted bus routes.

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