SEPTA bus service suspended as snow plows trudge onward

SEPTA has suspended its bus service indefinitely because of problems navigating snowy streets. The regional transit agency’s Deputy General Manager Jeff Knueppel says as the weather got worse and streets became more treacherous, too many buses just weren’t able to complete their routes.

“It’s a very dynamic situation. If we don’t make this decision, [snaps fingers] half an hour, that number could go from 25 to 30, 75 to 80, could climb to a hundred. We’ve seen that several times in the past, and we want to be ahead of that.”

I-95SB past Columbus: @Septa bus went off road, hit concrete barrier #NBC10Snow @nbcphiladelphia

— Christine Maddela (@christnemaddela) February 13, 2014

Knueppel says SEPTA wants to have the buses back on the streets as soon as possible.

“I think we are going to have to watch how conditions change,” Knueppel said. “This storm is so difficult to predict. I watch. It’s changing back and forth from snow to sleet to rain. It’s a very difficult-to-assess storm.”

For now the trains and subways will continue to run and SEPTA will honor bus passes on the trains.

Snow plow operations

Philadelphia Director of Emergency Management Samatha Phillips says they are keeping a close eye on the storm.

“This heavy precipitation that’s moving in, the potential for downed trees and downed wires is certainly going to increase throughout the day as this heavy type of moisture arrives in the Philadelphia area,” Phillips said. “Of course, the back end of this storm, we were expecting one to two inches. Now it could be two to four.”

Streets Commissioner David Perri says crews already are having some problems clearing the snow.

“We’re having some problems in South Philadelphia on the narrow streets,” Perri said. “We need people to park their cars as close to the curb as possible and not park in the intersection. We’re having difficulty getting our plows around those smaller streets.”

Perri says they have sent extra crews to help with snow removal in Northwest Philadelphia neighborhoods where they had so many troubles during the last storm.

By the numbers

The Governor has called up the National Guard and is asking residents to stay off the roads.

“The rates of snowfall are making it a challenge to keep roads clear here in Pennsylvania,” said Gov. Tom Corbett. “We are still encouraging people who do not have to travel to stay off [the roads] and as I said, thanks to those who have been staying off.”

Some 783 members of the national guard have been called up, officials report. There are 14 four-wheel drive ambulances stationed throughout the region, and nearly 2000 PennDot and turnpike trucks currently plowing roads and covering the  territory that is being affected.

Additional reporting by Emma Jacobs.

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