Another report of bus driver ejecting mom, child

October 6, 2011 - 5:05 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland-area mass transit agency TriMet is facing another report that an angry driver kicked a mother and her fussing child off the bus.

In August, TriMet sent an out-of-service bus to pick up Amy Pittman and her 2-year-old son, Jasper, after a driver yelled at them and ejected them miles from their suburban home, The Oregonian reported Thursday.

Last week, angry passengers got off a bus in protest of a driver who stopped the bus and said she wouldn't continue while a woman's daughter was crying.

The agency said the man driving the bus in August was disciplined, the woman driving the bus last week has been put on leave while an investigation is conducted, and all drivers have been reminded that crying and noise from children isn't a violation of the rules against noise intended to cause disruption.

Pittman told The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/quyPcF) she had spent the day at a farmer's market, temperatures were in the 90s, and Jasper needed a nap but wasn't screaming or disruptive — "a little fussy and chattering, normal toddler behavior."

The driver pulled off the road and yelled at Jasper "so loudly I could barely understand his words," she wrote in a complaint to the agency.

The youngster, frightened, yelled "no" and began crying. Another passenger scolded the driver, according to the report, and he responded by saying he hated children and couldn't concentrate on traffic because of the noise.

The driver has not been identified, and the nature of the discipline wasn't disclosed.

Spokeswoman Mary Fetsch said he violated "TriMet procedures to provide exemplary customer service."

The woman ejected last week, Magdalena Rabadan, called her husband for a ride home.

She told KATU (http://bit.ly/r2pmke) through an interpreter that despite a language barrier, she understood the driver wanted her to stop her 2-year-old daughter from crying, but there was nothing else she could do. Other passengers followed her off the bus in support, and several lodged complaints.

The driver, who said she couldn't safely drive the bus with the noise of the crying, has not been identified.

The agency, which also operates light rail, a suburban train and streetcars, sent its drivers a bulletin on Tuesday:

"Some customers will require additional time, effort, assistance and patience. TriMet expects operators to be polite and courteous to all customers and to respond to questions and challenging situations in a polite, respectful way."

Pittman told the newspaper she suffers from a medical condition that prevents her from driving.

In light of her own experience, she said, the reports of last week's ejection were disquieting.

"I can see one bad apple," she said. "But two bad apples so close together. I'm getting concerned."