Snowmageddon in Hothlanta 2011
In case you live under a rock and wait to get all of your news from our website, Atlanta was hit by an insane blizzard this week, resulting in something like two inches of snow and half an inch of ice. It shut down the city. And before you folks up north start laughing at us, we have a total of ten snow trucks. Therefore, until it thaws out we have to wait on those ten to dig us out. The whole city was stranded and all the grocery stores were out of produce, milk, bread, and frozen pizza. It was kind of like the test-run for the Apocalypse.
That being said, there were a couple of days where the only thing running was the MARTA train, and a couple of nut jobs who more than likely ended up with their cars up on a curb. MARTA has gotten a lot of grief over not running bus service (as a psychologist I can tell you that it takes much longer than three days without antipsychotics to start hearing voices, these sorts of drugs work on the premise of building up levels of the drugs in your system. And way to go lady for planning ahead in the face of a storm, like we didn’t know it was coming. As for McDonalds lady, can someone tell her that DCM offers help with things like power bills?). That little rant aside, let’s take a look at what it took for MARTA to provide us with the service that they did.
After knowing the forecast, a couple of train operates drove to work Sunday night and slept in their cars so that they would be there Monday mornings for their shift. They slept in below freezing weather to ensure that we had train service. Since then, the trains have been running 24 hours a day to keep the third rail from freezing.
Train operators and bus drivers have been spending the night at hotels near the yards because they haven’t been able to go home to their families. MARTA staff put chains on fleet cars to pick these guys up for their shifts; and they have been eating Waffle House as the only thing that was open. MARTA has also been purchasing socks and underwear for the operators and drivers so they can be fresh for their shifts.
Bus supervisors have been going out inspecting roads to check the safety for the buses. I haven’t had service all week, and I don’t blame them one bit. After taking a ride down Briarcliff to the pharmacy yesterday I saw several cars just blocking the road from spinning out and cops trying to push them out of the way. It’s bad, folks. But MARTA’s doing the best that they can.
I got around just fine on the train and on foot this week. I saw friends, had a drink or two, and stayed well fed. I’m proud of MARTA’s response to the attack on Hothlanta.
And, as my final give-them-a-break-folks statement, I give you the MTA stranded bus video. Because guess what, even the largest transit system in the nation has bad days, too.