I'll just call this the Great BP Blow of '08. 'Cause believe it or not, this cold weather is brought in by excessive retained solar energy, which will doubtless bring us more yet, knocking dents in our global-warming civilization. If the ice storm follows as predicted (a big if), we could call it the Fina Freeze. And so forth.
In any event, the fact that the Pacific has teased us so, has worn out the Tri-Met bus service. Days of driving with tire chains in expectation of --well, of today's phenomenon-- has overtaxed the mechanics, who have had to maintain chain repair/removal/installation stations in four locations constantly. Their fatigue is tremendous, and they are running out of chains as the bare asphalt tore them to pieces. They look like coal miners after a double shift. I feel so sorry for them.
Meanwhile the remaining mechanics have had to replace tires constantly, as the chains chewed them up. The chains also wear out the drivers with their vibration and noise--though that is jus the half of it; they force the buses off the freeways so that they have to take surface streets to begin and end their routes, and of course they cannot exceed 25 mph during the route, because that would destroy the chains.
All this means that drivers have been working constant overtime, all week. Now some of them are starting to call in sick and exhausted, thus forcing the remaining drivers to work extra....and so it goes. We are 'chained' to the weather. Some drivers are sleeping overnight at the stations.
Your bus will not arrive on time. This will get worse before it gets better. Your bus may not arrive at all, so if this weather continues, it's best to avoid the big breadloafs if at all possible...
This will increase the costs to the public. As you may know, the fare covers only about a third of the costs--the rest comes from a per capita business tax fo0r businesses over 50 employees, and from Federal subsidies. The cheap fuel will help eventually, but the several months of inflated costs have taken their toll. Soon you will hear pundits demanding that fares be reduced on the backs of the bus drivers and mechanics. But this society doesn't need for our wages to be lowered. It needs for all of us to make a living wage, and enjoy health care as a guaranteed human right.
Take care (and a hat and gloves)
Theresa the tranny driver