Pitcairn friend urges more transit options
Monday's Getting There column in The Sun suggested ways in which the Maryland Transit Administration could make its bus service more attractive to travelers coming in to Penn Station -- especially late at night. That drew the following response from Danielle Gilkes, a friend of Stephen Pitcairn, the young Johns Hopkins researcher whose murder prompted the column:
I am a friend and colleague of Stephen Pitcairn who worked with him at Johns Hopkins. I wanted to say thank you for printing suggestions that could potentially save other people’s lives when traveling within Baltimore. Your ideas for MTA are excellent.
I have been trying to get Hopkins officials to consider increasing their transit options. Stephen went to New York by Bolt bus often and would be back in time to catch the Hopkins shuttle from Penn Station to 29th Street (one block south of his residence). I am not sure if he decided to stay late that night or if the bolt bus was somehow delayed. The final Hopkins Shuttle bus Service is 9:30 pm on Sunday nights (6:30pm on Saturday). Unfortunately, the afterhours van escort service that Hopkins offers for its employees stops two blocks shy of Penn Station and therefore this was not an option for him.
I (like you) hope this will initiate change within Baltimore City as well as Hopkins. Please continue to push … I know I will.
COMMENT: Hopkins, like any operator of transit services, has to make rational choices about the hours during which it offers service. The university isn't wrong because it has set limits. However, it would be an abdication of responsibility of Hopkins officials didn't re-examine its previous decisions in light of this incident. The best outcome would be if multiple players who serve Penn Station came up with a creative solution. Perhaps Hopkins could offer vouchers good for taxi fare in lieu of running a late-night shuttle -- or at least do more to educate students and employees on the MTA routes that stop at the station and the need for caution in walking the streets at night.