TriMet, Metro Transit, and Dallas Area Rapid Transit were able to deal with the cold weather conditions facing their respective areas through preparation and transparency.
TriMet was among multiple transit agencies that prepared for the winter weather in late 2022.
The speed of TriMet’s MAX trains changed as well, as the agency said the trains were traveling no faster than 30 mph. TriMet prepared customers for delays of up to 15 minutes. Due to trash/debris getting picked up by the wind, TriMet experienced service disruptions. Crews responded by removing the items.
“Safety is a core principle at TriMet, and we prioritize it every day,” said Tyler Graf, TriMet’s public information officer. “But when winter storms hit us, we emphasize it more, even over schedules as we have to take extra precautions. We want to provide the best possible service to those who rely on us, but we also know that safety is paramount when it is cold and slick outside.”
Because of the freezing temperatures in the area, TriMet ran its trains with ice cutters throughout the night and into the early morning. MAX trains are powered by electricity that is supplied by overhead wires. Ice cutters shear off a layer of ice so that the train can connect to power and move forward, according to TriMet.
The agency’s maintenance team also attached heavy-duty chains to a portion of buses. According to TriMet, when buses are equipped with heavy-duty chains, they can travel no faster than 25 miles per hour.
TriMet’s LIFT paratransit team then contacted riders to cancel or postpone non-essential trips.
The agency addressed more of the aftermath of the cold weather conditions, saying “there were delays, detours, and disruptions for a few days due to high winds, snow, and ice.”
Meanwhile, Metro Transit was expecting the first major winter storm of the season to bring blowing and drifting snow, ice, wind gusts up to 50 miles an hour, and wind chills of 35 below zero to the St. Louis region.
The agency encouraged public transit commuters to work from home during the time the Winter Storm Warning was in effect. If working from home was not an option, the agency advised transit customers should dress appropriately by layering warm clothing and keeping exposed skin covered.
Metro Transit was transparent in its messaging, relaying to customers that as road conditions deteriorate, MetroBus and Metro Call-A-Ride vehicles may be rerouted or delayed. MetroLink operated single-car trains through the weekend of the weather warning.
TriMet and Metro Transit were not the only agencies to prepare their customers for the cold weather.
DART expected a dangerously cold weather forecast on Dec. 23.
DART put its operations teams in place across the region to ensure regular service is not impacted by the expected weather.
In preparation for possible ice accumulation, bus and train station parking lots and walkways were treated, and DART vehicles are being weatherized.
DART extended its hours for transit centers and stations to be available and keep customers warm. The agency extended the hours from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. from Dec. 23-24.
Here is the list of transit centers that offered extended service:
- Addison Transit Center.
- CBD East Transfer Center.
- CBD West Transfer Center.
- Cockrell Hill Transfer Location.
- Downtown Garland Station.
- Downtown Irving/Heritage Crossing Station.
- Illinois Station.
- J.B. Jackson Jr. Transit Center/MLK Jr. Station.
- Ledbetter Station.
- Parker Road Station.
- South Garland Transit Center.
DART warned its riders that extended exposure to cold weather can be dangerous, and advised them to dress in layers to stay warm, wear a hat, cover exposed skin, and watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
Graf shared advice for other agencies that may experience the impact cold weather can have.
“It is important to have your operations plan and your winter weather processes in place before the snow starts falling,” he added. “Make them available—forms, checklists, status reports, plans, maps, and other documents—in one location. When winter weather strikes, it is all hands on deck, so it helps to have as much grab-and-go information as possible built out ahead of time.”
TriMet also encouraged agencies to stay in regular contact with transportation partners and regional leaders through daily coordination calls.
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