Rochester Locals Struggle for Transportation Options During Snow Storm

LCT Staff
Posted on December 23, 2008

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – When the weather gets tough, the tough get going — by limo.

While Friday's storm slowed and thwarted air and auto travel, some hardy bar hoppers decided to utilize limo service for their Friday evening rounds, according to East Coast Limousine owner Myles Rose.

That's a typical response with snowstorms, Rose said. While some limo renters cancel their plans because of weather, others decide to let East Coast do the driving as the snow piles up. On Friday, he said, some looking to go to bars and dinners turned to his service, as did a family whose daughter could not make her final leg into Rochester by air and instead traveled by Amtrak from Syracuse to be home for the holidays.

"They hired us to pick her up at the train station," Rose said.

Wintry weather can often play havoc with travel plans, but add holiday travel for thousands to the mix and a snowstorm like Friday's becomes particularly onerous for those on the go.

Had Friday been a scene from “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” those who traveled by rail would have been the big winners. As flight after flight was canceled at the airport because of slowdowns and shutdowns at major airline hubs, and fender-benders and more serious accidents clogged area roadways, Amtrak rumbled along on time in and out of Rochester.

The storm was not of the blizzard variety that outright paralyzes a region. But the steady snowfall, with occasional powerful gusting winds, was of significant enough scope to impede travel throughout the day.

Still, the forecasts about its arrival were, for the most part, so pinpoint accurate that many were able to prepare should the worst arrive. In a pre-emptive response, for example, City School District officials decided early in the morning, before flakes were falling, to cancel classes for the day.

"The weathermen should probably get an A-plus for the past couple of days because their forecasts have been right on," Greater Rochester International Airport Director David Damelio said about mid-afternoon as crews worked to keep the runways clear at the airport.

As of 2:00 p.m. about 30% to 40% of the flights scheduled in and out of the airport had been canceled because of the snowstorm that socked the region and sliced a swath from the Midwest to the east. But those cancellations were prompted by the inability of major hubs, like Chicago and New York City, to handle all their scheduled flights, Damelio said.

"No cancellation or delay has been caused by the operation" of the Rochester airport, he said.

Those traveling by bus didn't catch any breaks either.

"We've pretty much canceled our services until 6:00 a.m.," New York Trailways Vice President/General Manager Jack Barker said Friday. He said the company put only 10 of its usual 21 buses on the road Friday.

Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

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