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Metro Transit Official Says He's 'Pretty Satisfied' With Snow Response

Deborah Wang
01/18/2012

Metro transit reports that bus ridership has been much lighter than usual today. More than 30 bus routes were cancelled, and many buses were delayed by the weather. But officials say it could have been much worse. KUOW's Deborah Wang reports.

TRANSCRIPT

At a place called the Transit Control Center in South Seattle, Metro dispatchers sit in front of rows of computer screens, trying to keep the buses moving.

Dispatcher: "If you're not stuck, I need you to get underway."

They've been dealing with everything from closed roads to buses that have lost their chains to buses stuck in traffic jams.

O'Rourke: "Just basically, its busy."

Jim O'Rourke is the operations manager for Metro.

O'Rourke: "Once it snows these guys are working 12 hour shifts and seven days a week. And they are busy all that time."

At the worst point today, around mid–morning, dispatchers were dealing with about 70 stuck buses. That's out of a total of 700 that were out on the roads. Metro cancelled more than 30 routes, and many buses were delayed. But things could have been much worse, according to Jim Jacobson, Metro's deputy general manager. He said lighter than expected snowfalls and lighter than expected traffic helped the commute.

Jacobson: "I mean, we knew we were going to have some challenges given the weather forecast, and we made decisions last night based on what those forecasts are, and I think at this point we are pretty satisfied with how that played out."

Metro officials say they learned important lessons from the disastrous snowstorm of 2008, when the region's roads were nearly impassable, and when hundreds of buses were affected. They say they are now doing a better job coordinating with cities and towns in the region, to make sure that key Metro bus routes are among the first streets to be plowed.

I'm Deborah Wang, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2012, KUOW

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