Low temps stall city buses - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Low temps stall city buses

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Monday's brutal cold was not kind to city buses in the Cedar Valley.

"It was just so cold, the fuel gels," said Brad Yearling, a mechanic for the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Metropolitan Transit Authority, which operates the city buses. "The diesel fuel actually gels up and won't go through the lines."

10 buses left the depot Monday morning.

"We've been losing a couple every hour," Mark Little, MET General Manager, said. "We're basically out of fixed-route buses."

Breakdowns across the city meant mechanics were frantically trying to get the vehicles rolling again.

"It's just a dangerous situation out there for drivers and passengers," Little said. "When they break down, it's cold."

"I'll be waiting," said one stranded bus driver over the radio. "I ain't going anywhere."

By mid-afternoon, all the routes were shut down. MET officials sent a few vehicles out to look for stragglers at bus stops.

Passengers were rescued, and mechanics opened up the buses. But in sub-zero temps, working with yours hands isn't easy.

"First you have to take your gloves off to work on the fuel filters," said Yearling. "That is horrible. It's just cold."

Some had success.

"Now that's what I like to see," one mechanic said, after successfully starting a stalled bus.

But many weren't so lucky. At least 3 buses had to be towed back to the garage to thaw.

Little said running the service today was a 50-50 gamble. He said they will try again tomorrow.

"Well, we're going to give it a shot, because we know people need the service," he said. "They need to get to work and medical appointments. We're going to do our best. We will go out."

Little said the extreme cold makes every trip a little riskier. He said unless a trip is absolutely necessary, stay home.

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