City bus contractors threaten stoppage

February 24, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Baltimore school bus contractors, angered over reduced and delayed payments, threatened last night to pull their buses out of service, and one contractor said his buses would not be running today. If all the bus contractors follow suit, about 3,500 students could be without transportation this morning.

"We're not running" today, said Joseph Gladney of Gladney Transportation when contacted last night after a meeting of the contractors.

The call to pull the buses off the road followed a decision by Carlton G. Epps Sr., the school system's chief operating officer, not to comply with a demand by the bus contractors for a meeting.

Epps, in a written response issued a few hours before the meeting, said he would respond only to written complaints filed by individual companies.

Association members had demanded the meeting because they said payments for transportation services had been delayed and reduced arbitrarily.

Epps acknowledged in his letter to the association that some payments had been delayed and promised that "organizational and process changes ... will eliminate such problems."

School system spokeswoman Vanessa C. Pyatt said last night that by 7 a.m. today, "we will be better able to assess just how widespread this boycott is, if in fact it materializes."

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