The Baltimore city school system terminated its contract with Allied Transportation yesterday after the company failed to cover routes and bus drivers refused to work because of a pay dispute.
Last Friday, Allied failed to operate 15 of its 32 routes, according to schools officials. On Monday, the bus contractor did not cover 17 routes, forcing the school system to permanently reassign seven of the routes to another company.
J. Keith Scroggins, the school system's chief operating officer, said officials have assumed responsibility for all of Allied's routes. He said contractors from other bus companies will take over some of the routes, and that for now, the system will provide taxi service for about six of the routes.
"We expect some slight delays [today]. But we will be able to pick everyone up," he said.
Scroggins said schools officials have repossessed eight buses from Allied and are in the process of reclaiming 42 more buses for breach of contract. Scroggins said he expects eight new drivers to be hired in the next few days and noted that many mechanics and administrators in the school system are licensed bus drivers and could help transport children.
A routing team has adjusted more than 100 bus routes to provide transportation for some of the displaced riders.
Allied was in the first year of a five-year, $2.5 million contract with the city schools system and was responsible for transporting 450 students at 45 schools.
Scroggins said Allied was having trouble paying its drivers.
"We believe that was a problem and resulted in employees refusing to do any work," Scroggins said.
An Allied representative declined to comment.