Thursday, August 13, 2009

Still a nation that values reading

Here's a story I forgot to tell last month, so I can give the latest update. In July, a bus driver was photographed reading a book while driving, but the story I read left out a crucial detail, resulting in this letter of mine in the Post:

I don't want to seem flippant about the safety issues involved if the Ride On bus driver in the July 14 Metro article "Bus Driver Who Had Book Is Off Md. Route for Now" was really reading while the bus was moving.

But how could your reporter have not asked the obvious question: What was the book? Those of us looking for a good summer read would be interested to know what book would deserve a blurb like "Couldn't put it down -- even when driving a bus!"

The story disappeared after that, but the resolution was hidden at the end of another article today. I was actually sort of pleased with the comparison among the punishments for the various recent offenses.

Metro has been faced with a series of embarrassing incidents involving bus and train operators this summer. The Washington Post reported this week that a train operator who tested positive for drugs is in rehab after bringing a train that was two cars too long to the Greenbelt Station. In July, another train operator was suspended for 12 days without pay after he was videotaped apparently sleeping behind the controls of a moving train.

Metrobus has also had its share of embarrassing episodes. In the past month, a driver has been charged with kidnapping a passenger; a driver was discovered driving with a suspended license; and another received a written reprimand for reading while transporting passengers.

Only a written reprimand. I still want to know what book was worth it!

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