Broward County Transit (BCT) buses rolled out quickly, on Thursday morning, Sept. 7, to designations across Broward County picking up residents evacuating from Hurricane Irma to the safety of shelters opened throughout the county.
Entire families, the young and the elderly, carrying what they could, boarded BCT buses, relieved that they were being transported to the safety of the shelters.
Bus evacuation pick-up routes included people living along the beaches, in mobile home parks, and the homeless. BCT’s paratransit service, TOPS, also assisted with transporting their most fragile customers, those living in assisted-living facilities and hospitals, to shelters set up to meet their specific needs.
“Our goal was to get people to safety and leave no one behind who contacted us needing transportation to a shelter. As part of our plan, we designated pick-up locations and conducted sweeps picking up people who waved to our bus operators to stop. BCT’s evacuation plan was well executed and I couldn’t be prouder of our bus operators and other staff members who worked tirelessly to ensure that Broward County residents got to safety, “said BCT Director Chris Walton.
BCT also shuttled 130 National Guardsmen, from Wisconsin, to various locations across the county to assist with clean-up efforts and distributing supplies after Hurricane Irma left a trail of destruction of downed power lines, trees and debris, which cut off many neighborhoods.
As roadways were cleared and deemed safe for travel, BCT quickly resumed bus service with limited hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., due to power outages and numerous traffic signals not working in many neighborhoods.
“As the county begins to get back to normal and conditions improve, BCT will continue to increase its bus services, until fully operational, to meet the needs of our customers,” Walton said.
BCT services are now fully operational. The agency is the second-largest transit system in Florida and also services locations in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties.