Each month this year we at Portland's Roll Easy Blog are going to recognize the "Steely Eyed Bus Drivers of Trimet"
The winner of our January award is... is... are you ready?
It's every driver who made it in to work last week during the freezing rain and ice.
This Golden Hubcap is all your's baby.
Here Let me Explain it this way...
Of all the dreaded words in the bus driving vocabulary "Ice-Rain" is the King of Kings. Portland doesn't get much snow in a year, some years just a dusting, other years an inch or two, Maybe all togethers two weeks of light snow spread out all winter if we are lucky. Snow can be problematic in a city of hills like Portland but by far the big daddy mean days come with Ice Rain. When the usual Portland Rain, crosses a cold front the results can be devastating Ice Rain.
As Ice storms go last weeks was mild, yet still debilitating for transit. It started late Saturday with snow flurries, then Sunday with accusations of snow and the dreaded ice cold East winds. By Sunday night it arrived, ice rain!
Just an aside story...
It happens every year at trimet, some newby talking about where they grew up.
"This is nothing compared to ..."
go on and fill in the blank...
Other drivers have to listen to their tales of driving their cars or trucks in feet of snow. They ignore all advice, they laugh at all the concerns.
When their bus is brought back to the garage by maintenance or a tow truck, Or they have to get pulled out of a ditch or a parking lot a time or two or three. Let's just say they are usually a bit more humble when they come back to the garage.
Ok back to our story.
Snow is snow, but Ice is the King of Kings when it comes to snarling up a city.
I have been so lucky since the storm of the century in 2008 buried Portland in feet of snow. Since then almost every snow day has fallen on my day off or is mostly over when I start work in the afternoon. This is what happened Monday. The day started with Ice and a mess but by 3:01 PM (my start time) it was mostly over. You see the Ice rain is often followed by just rain as the temps climb. This melts the ice and usually by noon if the temps stays above freezing things get better fast.
Snow and Ice effect drivers getting to work just like everyone else, Kids stay home from schools, roads are blocked, vehicles are iced in, power lines down, what ever the reason, Bus Operators are just like everyone else. Runs get canceled when drivers can't make it in. This adds to the burden of the Transit system and there is no way around it.
Here is a list of Monday's canceled runs for just Powell Garage up until 3:30 PM (Powell is one of three Garages) It's not an easy thing, these drivers would have loved to come in but it wasn't in the dice for them. I can understand that.
So this months Golden Hubcap goes out to all those Operators who did it. Who for better or worse managed to get behind a wheel for a day of tests and trails. For every operator that got stuck, that fell, that helped others, that fought the good fight.
This Golden Hubcap is for you.