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21 RESPONSIBILITY In general, transit agencies are responsible for either maintaining 100% of their bus stops or none at all during both extreme weather and regular service. Of those surveyed, 22 (69%) maintain all of their bus stops, one maintains its Park N Ride lots, one maintains Transit Centers only, and the others do not maintain any. Bus stops are maintained by the municipality, state, county, outside contractor, or private property owners. Where the transit agencies do not maintain their bus stops, the responsibility most commonly lies with the municipality. This was found to be the case at some of the largest transit agencies. Overall, more than half of the transit agencies [18 (56%)] maintain their bus stops during extreme weather; however, some agencies shift responsibility from the agency itself to the municipality, pri- vate property owners, and in one situation the county. The responsibility only shifts outside the transit agencies during snow and ice, with the exception of one agency that also shifts responsibility during wind storms, at which time the county assumes responsibility and is the only one that does so. During snow and ice events, large agencies in large cities depend more on the municipalities to clear bus stops than do the small and medium agencies. This is generally because large cities have larger organizations and more miles of roadways (Figures 13â15). The departments of transporta- tion, sanitation, and/or public works are responsible for clearing the streets of all vehicles so that the agencies can then dispatch buses. The municipality provides access and the transit agency provides the service. Medium-size agencies depend significantly (30%) on property owners. None of the large agencies reported that they depend on property owners to clear snow from bus stops. Of the large agen- cies, two use outside contractors. Seven agencies (four large, one medium, two small) have written policies that govern the mainte- nance of bus stops during extreme events. Six of these have written policies that describe when the agency will clear snow from the bus stops (see Appendix C). These plans include the responsibility of the municipalities, property owners, and transit agencies and are very specific to that agency. One agency has a written policy where homeowners are responsible for clearing snow and the agency does not because of liability issues from falls. Others would prefer to but do not yet have a written plan because these events are becoming more frequent. CASE EXAMPLE: METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT DEPENDS ON THE MULTIPLE CITY DEPARTMENTS MTA NYCT is a state authority that is governed by the state of New York. During blizzards and snow storms, the city of New York Department of Sanitation is responsible for plowing and removing snow from the interior of shelters, while the Department of Transportation is responsible for clearing around the shelter and, in some cases, clearing a path to the bus stop or shelter. The Department of Parks and Recreation is responsible if the bus stop is on park property. In addition, a company that pays to advertise and maintain bus shelters in New York City is responsible for snow removal at those shelters. At times, MTA will clear bus stops and shelters to expedite snow removal so that customers can access the buses. chapter five SURVEY RESULTS: GOVERNANCE
22 CASE EXAMPLE: NJ TRANSIT CORPORATION DEPENDS ON STATE DEPARTMENT Of TRANSPORTATION NJ Transit Corporation (known as NJ Transit) is a state-owned public transportation system that provides bus service throughout the state of New Jersey. However, the state department of transpor- tation, a separate state agency, is responsible for maintaining all of its bus stops (16,100), with the exception of the few (60) that are on NJ Transit and/or leased property. Transit Agency, 5, 46% Outside Contractors, 2, 18% Municipality, 4, 36% FIGURE 13 Large agencies: Who primarily maintains bus stops during extreme weather events? Source: Thomson Consulting. Private property owners, 3, 30% Transit Agency, 5, 50% County , 1, 10% Municipality, 1, 10% FIGURE 14 Medium agencies: Who primarily maintains bus stops during extreme weather events? Source: Thomson Consulting.
23 CASE EXAMPLE: TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION DEPENDS ON CITY Of TORONTO MONITORING The city of Toronto is responsible for Toronto Transit Commissionâs (TTCâs) snow removal at bus stops: Levels of Service for Winter Maintenance Activities The maintenance of a safe and reliable municipal transportation system is based on three main elements: de-icing, snow ploughing, and snow removal. The selection of the most appropriate method of dealing with a particular winter storm is principally based on the amount of accumulated snowfall and prevailing temperatures. Based on these, the selected method offers a balance between the clearing and/or removal of the accumulated snow and ice at an appropriately determined pace in a fiscally responsible manner. In addition to these major winter service operations, work crews ensure that catch-basins, drains, and culverts work properly and that cross- walks, bus stops, and sidewalks for senior citizens and people with physical disabilities are also cleared of snow and ice. The effective deployment of these winter service operations makes it possible for emergency vehicles and the public to travel safely, for the transit system to provide the public with timely service and for commerce to continue functioning: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=e33422cdac873410VgnVCM 10000071d60f89RCRD&vgnextchannel=cd3d4074781e1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD (City of Toronto, March 2015). During extreme weather events, transit agencies surveyed require that a designated area beyond the actual bus stops is maintained and cleared. Such an area includes the stops themselves, shelter structures, adjacent walkways, drains, curb cuts, benches, and paths to the buses. When asked what the agency maintained, the responses are broken out as follows (Figure 16). During winter storms, some agencies require a path to the bus and some do not. One-half of the surveyed agencies (16) reported that they require a path to the bus; 15 (47%) noted that they clear at least 3 feet beyond the bus stop. The data gathered does not provide a statistical correlation between either geography or levels of snow to make any general requirements. Who Performs the Work? Bus stops are cleared by transit agencies, other public agencies, contractors, property owners, or a combination thereof (Figure 17). Approximately one-third (11 or 38%) rely exclusively on transit personnel. Another 11 (38%) rely on a combination of transit personnel, other public employees, outside contractors, and property owners; three (10%) depend on other public employees; and three (10%) depend on outside contractors. One agency (3%) depends entirely on property owners. Transit Agency, 8, 73% County , 1, 9% Municipality, 1, 9% Did Not Answer, 1, 9% FIGURE 15 Small agencies: Who primarily maintains bus stops during extreme weather events? Source: Thomson Consulting.
24 Transit system personnel, 11, 38% Combination, 11, 38% Other public employees, 3, 10% Outside Contractors, 3, 10% Private Property Owners, 1, 4% FIGURE 17 All agencies: What personnel perform maintenance during extreme weather events? Source: Thomson Consulting. 0 5 10 15 20 25 Bus Stop Shelter Structure Adjacent Walkways Drains FIGURE 16 What is maintained during extreme weather? Source: Thomson Consulting.
25 One agency (3%) that used a combination of transit personnel and others reported that it hires temporary employees during extreme weather events. It is not clear, however, whether agencies do not hire them because it is against agency policy or if it is because another group is responsible for clearing the bus stops. The large and medium transit agencies are inclined to use a combination of resources to clear bus stops, and the smallest agencies more often use their own transit personnel. Many large agencies also depend on outside contractors; the only size of the agency that depends significantly on them (Figures 18â20). FIGURE 18 Large agencies: What personnel perform maintenance during extreme weather events. Source: Thomson Consulting. Transit system personnel, 2, 20% Combination, 5, 50% Other public employees, 1, 10% Outside Contractors, 1, 10% Private Property Owners, 1, 10% FIGURE 19 Medium agencies: What personnel performs maintenance during extreme weather events? Source: Thomson Consulting.
26 Transit system personnel, 6, 67% Combination, 1, 11% Other public employees, 2, 22% FIGURE 20 Small agencies: What personnel perform maintenance during extreme weather events? Source: Thomson Consulting. Monitoring One-half of the agencies (16) reported that bus stops are monitored for snow clearing during extreme weather events. In general, the small and medium agencies monitor themselves; the large agencies share monitoring responsibility between themselves and the municipality, as well as occasionally with outside contractors and property owners. CASE EXAMPLE: METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT USES TEAM EffORT TO MONITOR MTA NYCT uses a team effort to monitor bus stops. If a NYCT bus operator notices a bus stop is impacted, he or she will report it to the Bus Command Center, which then relays the information to the city Department of Sanitation. The Department of Sanitation also deploys supervisors to monitor the condition of bus stops during extreme weather events. The public can (and often does) report impacted bus stops by calling 311, its information line. CASE EXAMPLE: INTERCITY TRANSIT HAS COOPERATIVE ARRANGEMENT Intercity Transit in Olympia, Washington, has a cooperative arrangement between local jurisdic- tions and other large public agencies that may be impacted by weather conditions. It meets annu- ally to review and update the current agreement and work assignments. In the case of public transit service, it works with the jurisdiction to prioritize bus and school routes for snow plowing and/or de-icing. One small agency that serves a number of small cities noted that it has inter-local agreements or Memorandums of Understanding with the cities to assist with extreme weather events. Other agencies also provided specific examples of who monitors bus stops for clearing. These include facility managers, the public, property owners, bus operators, police, and other field staff. STANDARDS AND SPECIfICATIONS Responses to extreme weather events vary from agency to agency and by type of extreme weather event. In addition, the clearing of snow and ice can depend on how fast a storm approaches, when it was predicted, and the intensity of the snowfall. Some agencies have winter weather plans for
27 bus stops and others do not, and depend on other public agencies to clear them. The agencies have standards to identify what sort of storm is approaching, such as a blizzard or hurricane; however, the responses require a balance of resources, costs, and the severity of the individual storms. The focus of most agencies is on providing and/or restoring bus service and then clearing the bus stops for passen- ger access. The priorities then are evaluated, with those bus stops associated with the largest number of passengers being attended to first (Figure 21). The survey asked if agencies have standards, such as the amount of snow, wind speed, or rain anticipated, associated with determination of an extreme weather event. They were also provided a space to describe qualitatively and/or provide a link to their standards. Although given the oppor- tunity, no links or actual policies were submitted. For those that responded, ten (31%) noted that there are standards, which are developed by the transit agency (six), municipality (two), and the county (two). All of these standards are enforced by the transit agency itself and focus on identifying and documenting whether or not there was an extreme weather event for budgeting and planning purposes. The synthesis also attempted to identify whether agencies have standards and/or specifications to prepare for and clean following severe weather. Five agencies (16%) require that bus stops are prepared before a snow or ice event. Eight agencies (25%) have time requirements covering ice removal, 14 (44%) have time requirements for clearing snow, and eight (57%) of these must clear snow within one day of an event. Three agencies (9%) clear snow during snowfall and three more (9%) must clear snow within 2 days. No agency has a requirement beyond 2 days. Several agencies protect passengers from wind and heat with bus shelters. Five agencies (16%) have bus shelters that protect passengers from wind by designing and building them with permanent wind shields or glass panels. Three agencies protect passengers from heat by providing structures for shade. None prepare bus stops for floods or mud slides. Some agencies use next-bus arrival or real-time arrival signs and apps to minimize wait time for customers, thereby protecting them from an extreme weather event. Although it is a normal operat- ing procedure, it also allows people to minimize wait times during periods of extreme heat, extreme cold, or precipitation. This information takes the guess work out of waiting and customers can make alternative arrangements depending on this real-time information. FIGURE 21 How much time is allowed to meet snow clearing requirements? Source: Thomson Consulting. During Snowfall, 3, 22% Within 1 Day, 8, 57% Within 2 Days, 3, 21%