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Rider's Almanac Blog

Bus Light Rail

Many hands make snow work

Posted by Drew Kerr | Wednesday, February 23, 2022 9:12:00 AM

Responding to winter weather is a team effort. From our service garages to our Transit Control Center, employees are out early and often preparing for, responding to, and ultimately cleaning up any time snow falls.  As snow fell on Tuesday, Feb. 22, we caught up with several of the people who help us get riders where they need to go, no matter the weather.  

Heywood Garage, 5 a.m.

Dispatchers Allen Juaire and Lasondra Gosa work to fill work from routes to trips throughout the day. They’re responsible for about 200 buses and about 450 pieces of work. Operators get their bus number and route assignments from them. Gosa is finishing up her overnight shift and Juaire is starting his. Gosa is a relief dispatcher and a bus operator.

Downtown Minneapolis, noon 

By early Tuesday afternoon, facilities maintenance crews were out at light rail stations clearing snow from platforms, efforts that would continue into the evening. Rail stations, bus garages, and other support facilities where employees report to work are prioritized when it snows. Facilities staff return later to other sites, including transit centers and shelters that are used by customers with limited mobility.   

South Minneapolis, 2 p.m.

One of 29 transit supervisors, Mike Vaughn spent Tuesday traveling across south Minneapolis in a Dodge Caravan, bringing sand to locations where roads were slippery, helping communicate detours to drivers and customers and, at one point, assisting a motorist whose car got stuck in the snow.  

East Metro Garage, 3 p.m. 

At St. Paul’s East Metro Garage, technicians Rafael Valle (left) & Taylor Schoephoerster (right) were on standby to help retrieve any buses that got stuck in the snow. Hillier St. Paul becomes particularly difficult to traverse when roads are covered in snow but, on this day, just three buses got stuck and needed to be towed.  

Transit Control Center, 4 p.m.

During snow events, Transit Control Center supervisors like Crystal Weinhold constantly monitor bus activity to ensure routes are running smoothly. During heavy snow, buses can get stuck, need to detour around a hill, or take on long delays from traffic. Supervisors contact drivers with a plan and talk them through the new directions to get the route back on track safely. By 4 p.m. Tuesday, buses were running just a few minutes behind schedule.  

Photos and text by John Komarek, Drew Johnson, Lindsey Geyer, Laura Baenen and Ryan Miller