ATA defends operating buses stuck in snow

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Nearly 20 Metro buses got stuck in the snow Tuesday morning, less than a week after the same thing happened last Thursday. The Area Transit Authority decided to operate a limited run of 50 bus routes Thursday morning instead of its normal load of 180 bus routes.

"I think it was the right call," said the A-T-A's General Manager Mark Huffer, "Some people simply if they don't show up to work they get fired and it's our responsibility to be out there and provide that life-line for people."

But some riders like 19-year-old Toni Odum complain the ATA gave riders false hope, "I've been waiting an hour for this bus to come, it ain't come. I'm cold, my face is cold."

He said the ATA should've simply canceled bus service for the day like Johnson and Wyandotte County did.

Bus rider Nathan Babcock walked more than four miles to work after his bus got stuck at 63rd and Oak, "Walked right past him, he was there, I waved to him and he waved back but he's just basically a roadblock at 63rd and Oak."

Huffer admits the ATA had a tough morning but says by the afternoon a hundred buses were running and full service would resume Wednesday. He says future decisions to operate the buses in snowstorms will be made on a case by case basis.

"We're going to look at our options and see if there's better ways to operate but a lot of it really depends on the conditions at that time."

The ATA transports 55,000 passengers on an average day but says Tuesday ridership was ten percent of that at best.

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