MTA stands for “Most Troubled Agency”

You know that sometimes, I get letters. And sometimes I get them about the Maryland Transit Administration, which as you know if you’ve been paying attention, is in dire need of a clean slate and fresh leadership from somebody who has not been part of the circus and has at least a smidge of common sense.

So needless to say that the following email message I got was….disturbing:

A guy I work with has a neighbor who does maintenance and repairs of the MTA buses in Baltimore City. Last week, a call came in from a driver, and she wanted to bring her bus in because “someone had taken a crap in the bus.”

She brought the bus in, and, unbeknownst to her, this guy reviewed the tape from the bus. Well, as you probably guessed by now, they have footage of her emptying her bus, going Out of Service, pulling off somewhere, and taking a crap in the middle of the bus. The best part of it was this: she was on the phone calling it in as she was taking the dump.

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So, the mechanic followed up with HR (or whatever the heck they have) and, because she is union, she was not fired… only reprimanded for her behavior.

Wow. Just wow. Is it any wonder why Light Rail, Metro, and MTA Buses fail to meet ridership expectations? I mean, how can riders expect a clean and safe mode of transit when even MTA employees can’t meet basic standards of human civility?

So that leads me to ask the same questions I usually have when this issues come up:

  • Why do Senior Leaders at the Maryland Transit Administration continue to have jobs;
  • Why does Governor O’Malley take no responsibility for MTA and its mismanagement?

If transit advocates really want to help increase ridership in the Baltimore area, they should join me in calling for new leadership and new realities over at MTA Headquarters. The current crew cannot change make the necessary changes to provide safe, reliable and clean transit.
For positive change, outside leadership is necessary.


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