October 7, 2016
» The Regional Transit Authority of New Orleans is looking for an executive director. [More]
» The city of Gardena, CA, seeks a transit administrative officer. [More]
» The Chatham Area Transit Authority requests proposals for vendors to manage its advertising sales program. [More]
View more Classified Ads »
TO PLACE AN AD: E-mail the requested date(s) of publication to: ptads@apta.com. Mailing address is: Passenger Transport, 1300 I Street NW, Suite 1200 East, Washington, DC 20005. Ad copy is not accepted by phone. DEADLINE: 3 p.m. EST, Friday, one week prior to publication date. INFORMATION: Phone (202) 496-4877.

Southeastern U.S. Agencies Brace for Hurricane Matthew

As Passenger Transport went to press, public transit agencies on the southeast coast were shutting down or cutting back service, closing facilities and protecting vehicles and rolling stock as Hurricane Matthew scraped the coastline from Miami Beach to Cape Fear, NC, starting Thursday, Oct. 6.

The hurricane was classified a Category 3 storm as it neared land, with wind gusts exceeding 100 mph and storm surges up to 11 feet from Sebastian Inlet, FL, to Edisto Beach, SC—higher in spots than the surge from Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, according to the National Hurricane Center, if the surge coincides with high tide.

Here’s how the most severely affected agencies responded:

Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) buses conducted evacuations from three locations at the beach and special needs evacuations on Oct. 6 and shut down all service (including its ferry) early the next day, according to spokesperson Leigh Ann Rassler.

In keeping with the JTA’s Continuity of Operations Plan, Rassler said, the agency relocated half its bus fleet to high ground outside the evacuation zone and the rest to higher ground on its main campus in downtown Jacksonville. She added that JTA recently upgraded its main facility’s stormwater and drainage systems.

Rassler noted that—even before the arrival of Matthew—the city had received substantial amounts of rain and high winds due to a nor’easter, saturating the soil. She said JTA officials hope to resume service Oct. 8, depending on damage.

Broward County Transit, Plantation, FL, evacuated more than 500 people from their homes the evening of Oct. 5 and continued the effort on Oct. 6, shutting down regular service that morning. “When winds hit 39 mph, it is no longer safe to use buses, so at that time we stop,” said Mary Shaffer, spokeswoman.

The Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) in Orlando suspended all services the morning of Oct. 7, to resume when the roadways are deemed safe. LYNX staff was providing updates on its website, social media and traditional media.

Also in Orlando, Walt Disney World, including Walt Disney World Transportation, closed Oct. 6-7. Guests were evacuated from several Disney resorts.

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, Pompano Beach, suspended its Tri-Rail commuter rail service, which extends about 72 miles, after its last train Oct. 5, and expected to remain closed until Monday, Oct. 10, at the earliest, reported Bonnie Arnold, public information officer. She added that the agency secured as many as 75 gates, a process that takes 12 hours, and moved some of its rolling stock—50-60 vehicles—out of the storm’s direct path.

The Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works shut down regular bus, rail and Metromover operations early Oct. 6 and resumed service Oct. 7. Buses that transported residents to shelters have returned to these facilities to pick up evacuees.

Palm Tran in West Palm Beach suspended service at noon Oct. 6 and remained closed on Oct. 7. Public shelters opened the afternoon of Oct. 5 and the system’s website included route information for people to use buses to access the shelters. Maruti Transit Group LLC, which provides Palm Tran Connection paratransit service, transported customers to shelters until noon Oct. 6.

Amtrak suspended service in the southeast and ended one southbound line—the Palmetto Line, which typically terminates at Savanah, GA—in Washington, DC.

Help from APTA, TCRP
While not all transit agencies contend with hurricanes, many must prepare for other weather-related and natural disasters, including earthquakes, tornados, blizzards and wildfires. Here are some resources that can help:

APTA and many of its committees have developed standards and recommended practices on emergency preparedness, including those focusing on planning, communications strategies, railcar evacuations, working with first responders and other critical factors. To find the standards, click here and search on “emergency preparedness.”

Go to the TCRP website and search on “emergency preparedness” to find best practices and research related to paratransit challenges, response and recovery planning, communicating with vulnerable populations, legal challenges and more.

Return to Top
Next Article »

© Copyright American Public Transportation Association
1300 I Street NW, Suite 1200 East, Washington, DC 20005
Telephone (202) 496-4882 • Fax (202) 496-4321
Print Version | Search Back Issues | Contact Us | Unsubscribe
Twitter Flickr Blog YouTube Facebook