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Public Transportation Taking Steps To Ensure A Smooth Ride During Cold Weather
Some of us have already had that helpless feeling this year. We are about to leave for work and our car won't budge. There are people prepared to take us where we need to go, no matter what the weather outside, but even they are preparing for mechanical problems.
Local mechanics are hard at work because of the recent cold spell.
"If you get a battery that's going bad, or a battery that is low, a cold weather snap like this will certainly finish the battery off," said Chuck Blankenship, General Manager of Schlosser's Transmission Service.
Cars fill the shop at Schlosser's, but this may only be the beginning.
"As the weather gets colder you're going to see more and more problems occurring," said Blankenship. And when an issue does happen, people still need to get to work. "We seen an increase of probably 100 trips per day," said Mike Antonacci, owner of the Lincoln Yellow Cab Company in Springfield.
Lincoln Yellow Cab says that increase is from cold pedestrians or broken down vehicles. With the public relying on them for travel, they are prepared to handle cold weather car problems.
"We have everything in stock. We have probably 30 or 40 tires in stock at a time. We have probably 10 batteries at a time. We buy new alternators and everything like that," said Antonacci.
And those items quickly add up.
"We probably on average, the bill is from $500 to $800 a week on spending on small maintenance stuff. That's not including the tires. Those range from $1,000 to $1,200 for tires," said Antonacci.
Even with mother natures worst, public transportation keeps rolling. Norman Mars has been in the bus business since 1964 and has seen a variety of cold weather problems.
"The problem that we used to encounter was fuel gelling up and it wouldn't flow through the fuel pump and the engine would die," said Mars, Operations Manager at First Student in Springfield.
But there has been no issues this year since mechanics start their day at 4:30 am.
"We start the buses to make sure that they are going to start. Of course if any of them are having any difficulty that's why the mechanics are here, to make sure they do operate," said Mars.
First student says improvements such as fuel additives and modern engines prevent many cold weather problems.
Mechanics say preventative maintenance such as tire pressure and a yearly check of your battery will save you the hassle of not having a car this winter.