My name is Bison. Some of you may know me through these forums and some not. My part time job is writing DS lore with others who have a passion for the DS mod in which they created, and it's a pleasure they allow me in and share stories of various characters we dream up who inhabit the universe which come alive on our computer screens.
My day time job is working for a well known transportation company for the last 17 years, 15 of them driving. The company will be apparent in the pictures below. Anyway, this time last week a major storm was barreling down on the east coast specifically New York City.
I thought it will be interesting to share what it's like driving in a blizzard with others who should not be on the road if they can help it.
My departure time from New York is 115pm to Springfield, Ma. It was already snowing when I left the house at 1100am, as noon approached, the roads got worse and worse. Little more than a mile from the Lincoln tunnel, two accidents occurred within a mile of each other, no one seriously hurt but the first responders had yet to arrive and proceed to shut traffic down to help the victims.
Finally made it to the Port Authority and over to our yard where we keep our busses, after pre-trip, I had to stop by the filling station and dropped 100 gallons of diesel. Normally, would have place just 50, but because of the weather, not to mention to add the extra weight to the bus for traction, did not know what was going to happen but I guess right and will explain that later.
Got over to the Port and was told only go to Hartford, Ct and come back, so I begin to load only to take New Britain and Hartford pax only.
Left an hour late and took 4 hours and 15 min to travel 110 miles to Hartford. Saw many a truck and cars spinning out, in the median or was unable to pull hills, that includes the new Camero, just like the old, can't pull uphill in snow worth a damn.
Got to New Britain and dropped 11 pax right on the sidewalk where the station is located, they were closed, part of me was concerned but they told me the rides were coming and did not want to go to Hartford even though it's only less than 15 miles away.
Arrived in Hartford at 630pm and dropped the rest of the pax there, however, with the exception of subway, everything is closed. Peter Pan bus lines dispatch and ticket counter was closed, they have already shut down operations and I was the only nut out there fielding questions on when is the next bus going to x,y,z.
For some reason, the people did not understand there was a blizzard going on and there are canceling schedules because of it. Anyway, I had to call my dispatch which is located in Dallas to get permission to head back to New York, his first question was, THEY SEND YOU OUT IN THIS WEATHER!!!
I have to save that for another time about idiot supervisors and their grasp of reality, I said yes and he cleared me to go back to New York cause I have enough time to get back bar any unseen problems, that's for later.
These are the first set of pictures after I arrived in Hartford, the bus is a Prevost 2009 X345, holds 50 pax with seat belts for them and has wi-fi which on this one was not working.
Left hartford at 750 pm to head back to New York taking 91 south to 95 south. Forgot to add, 6 of those pax where going elsewhere and I told them you will not be able to leave because all service will be cancelled, I told them multiple times before we left New York and the decision will be on you because you were told before hand. Be that as it may, they were sleeping on the floor in Hartford. One of them tried to go back with me and I told him I am NOT AUTHORIZED TO TAKE YOU. You was told before you got on that bus, but you did not listen. 4 of them were trying to get to Worcester, Ma which is about 60 miles away. Even if the found a cab driver to take them, he was gonna ask for triple the rate to get there if not more.
Here are some pics heading down on 91 to New Haven, Ct.
After passing through New Haven and Bridgeport, the wind was incredible, snow moving sideways, this was truly the most powerful snow storm I have every drove in.
Roughly near Norwalk, Ct there is a slight rise to 95 south, as I near the New York state line and cars and tractor trailers begin to slip uphill.
The bus has a feature where the tag axles will raise placing all to weight on the drive tires giving the bus excellent traction in snow, cruising right by everyone else that is slipping.
Cross the State line and was getting about 20 miles from Manhattan and it happen.
A slow crawl and already pass the exit where I could have taken an alternate route to get to New York.
The guy in this Ford Taurus thought he was in a 4x4 and got himself stuck in high snow near the wall, he finally got himself unstuck after I passed him several hundred feet back. Eventually, all traffic came to a stop at 1110pm for the next 6 hours on 95 south near exit 19 near Rye, Ny. Good thing I got that extra fuel before I left. Unfortunately, some people did run out of fuel, one truck actually broke down and I was forced to go around him to continue on. At one point, I got off the bus to stretch my legs and knocked the ice off the wipers and and tail lights they were a few people behind the bus and we got to talking, the young lady that was with them ask was I going to Texas and I said no, "why did you ask that?"
"Because of the plates," she said. I said no, the company is based in Dallas, I'm going to New York. They inquired about do these busses have bathrooms and I said "yes, do you need to use it" and I said, "come on," and a few other motorist used it as well.
Eventually, New York state troopers came by to check on everyone as well as ambulances came down the north bound lane to check as well, then about 5am, state troopers on ATV's were letting people know they are about to open 95 south as seen in this pic.
At 515am I was underway again doing a slow crawl to New York, the road was still pretty bad but I figured once I crossed into the Bronx, it will be better. Sad to say no, first sign of trouble when I was passing through Co-Op city in the Bronx and saw a NYC MTA bus stuck on the ramp to 95, proceeded on towards the Bruckner expressway and finally 138th concourse and across the Madison Ave bridge to 5th Ave, continue to 132nd street and saw this.
After passing Marcus Garvey park and approaching 119th Street, came upon another NYC MTA stuck on the corner with it's flashers on, driver was there so long, as I passed by he was asleep. As I passed by, these cars were just buried because of the blowing snow, not plows.
During my slow creep down 5th Ave, saw other busses, cabs, and NYPD cars buried in the snow and abandoned. Here at 58th Street, another bus stuck along with a car in front of the Apple store.
As I continued on, huge earth movers were present placing huge piles of snow on 5th Ave.
I could not believe this was New York, people walking the streets because of the sidewalks were clogged with snow, busses and police cars abandoned, it was a sad sight to behold. Made a right on 42nd Street and was approaching Time Square and it was a virtual ghost town.
Got to 8th Ave, where the Port Authority is located.
Continued to 9th Ave where I make a left turn and saw another NYC MTA bus blocking the entire street, normally I've would have turn on 97th Street transverse through central park to get to 9th Ave then come straight down 9th Ave to the Port, but they did not plow that stretch of road plus a delivery truck got itself stuck trying to go down an unplowed road.
Got inside the port and parked at 7am. It sounds like my ordeal would be over, but not yet. I had to stay at the port for the next 21 hours because NJ Transit shut down all service in the state, I live in Paterson, NJ. The reason why I called it the storm a Hurricane/Blizzard was the weather guys said the storms barometric pressure was that of a class 2 hurricane. Even though the storm crippled New York, the leaders did not heed the call and called for snow emergency, along with the storm, their decision hurt and put people at risk. And that may have caused deaths because the first responders could not get to where there are needed.
I guess what I want to say is that no one wants to take the blame for what happened, sometimes the weather guys do get it right. I have worked out of New York for 4 years now, and this is the worst for a city the size of New York for this event. Step up and admit that someone messed up bad for this debacle.