PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA
BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Broward County Transit (BCT) buses rolled out quickly Thursday, September 7 to designations across Broward to pick up residents evacuating from Hurricane Irma to the safety of shelters opened throughout the county.
Entire families, young and elderly, carried what they could and boarded BCT buses, relieved they were being transported to the safety of the shelters.
Bus evacuation pick-up routes included people living along the beaches, in mobile home parks and the homeless.
Broward County Transit’s paratransit service, TOPS, also assisted with transporting its most fragile customers, those living in assisted living facilities and hospitals, to shelters set up to meet their specific needs.
“Our goal was to get people to safety and leave no one behind who contacted us needing transportation to a shelter. As part of our plan, we designated pick-up locations and conducted sweeps picking up people who waved to our bus operators to stop,” said Broward County Transportation Director Chris Walton. “BCT’s evacuation plan was well executed and I couldn’t be prouder of our bus operators and other staff members who worked tirelessly to ensure that Broward County residents got to safety.“
BCT also shuttled 130 National Guardsmen from Wisconsin to various locations across the county to assist with cleanup efforts and distribute supplies after Hurricane Irma left a trail of downed power lines, trees and debris, which cut off access to many neighborhoods.
As roadways were cleared and deemed safe for travel, BCT quickly resumed bus service with limited hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. due to power outages and numerous traffic signals not working in many neighborhoods.
“As the county begins to get back to normal and conditions improve, BCT will continue to increase its bus services, until fully operational, to meet the needs of our customers,” Walton said after the storm.
Broward County Transit services are now fully operational. BCT is the second-largest transit system in Florida and also services locations in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties.