Sam Allard / Scene
"Rally to Save Transit," Public Square, 3/12/2018
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) made the decision to suspend all bus and rail service last Monday after 50 buses had gotten stuck in the snow countywide. As wet, heavy snow accumulated through the morning, multiple emergency transmissions from train operators also reported that trains had no traction on the rails and were rolling backwards.
“It was approximately at that moment when RTA made the decision to suspend
bus and rail service until further notice,” said RTA's Deputy Operations GM, Dr. Floun’say Caver, in a statement from the agency recapping Monday's events.
RTA says that it made its "conscientious decision" out of concern for the safety of its employees and customers.
"While we apologize for any delays the suspension caused, we stand firm in our decision as stewards of public transport, as it relates to the life, health and safety of the public we serve," RTA's statement read.
RTA has a Winterization Plan in place, and the agency said personnel began to initiate it the night of Sunday, Jan. 16, when the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast significant snowfall in Cleveland.
RTA's "Snow trains," which plow the Rapid tracks, began operating shortly thereafter, and a fleet of RTA plows began salting and clearing RTA facilities as well as streets in East Cleveland to ensure that the system would be up and running first thing Monday.
But according to the agency, the safety concerns mounted through the morning. The decision to suspend, the statement said, was ultimately "a matter of continued health and safe operations for our employees and customers."
After a day of triage and plowing, which included coordination with the Bibb administration to prioritize plowing of streets with bus routes, service was fully restored Tuesday morning.
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