PARTA Driving Conditions Reviewed

Max Hayden

Like the US Postal service, PARTA has buses running, rain or shine. For drivers like Patrick Mortier, the biggest thing to remember is to take it slow.

“During the winter we just slow down and keep an eye out for drivers losing control or people that just don’t seem to know how to drive in the snow,” Mortier said.

PARTA trains all drivers at their orientation when they’re first hired no matter what time of the year that may be, said Joseph Yensel, PARTA’s manager of operations. At the beginning of each fall semester, the drivers are required to review winter procedure.

“We pretty much just remind them to drive more defensively,” said Yensel.

Some of the drivers, like Mortier, have lived in the area their entire lives so they are used to driving in the snow.

“Since I grew up here, driving in the winter feels like second nature to me,” said Mortier. “Besides sliding around some corners I haven’t experienced anything bad while driving in the winter.”

Yensel believes all of their drivers are trained well enough to handle any condition he or she might encounter while driving and their buses are capable of driving through any type of weather.

“The buses drive pretty good in the snow,” said Mike Hammond, a PARTA driver. “If you use a safe speed and travel distances, then everything should be okay.”

The only problem PARTA consistently runs into every winter is everyone else driving on the road, Yensel said.

“The single worst part of driving in the winter is the other drivers,” said Mortier. “You can’t control how they drive so it can be scary.”

But not every person drives in the winter. Yensel said he does see an increase in volume during the winter season. Yensel says PARTA acknowledges the increase and tries to accommodate to the passengers when it gets busy.

“We have 11 buses out a day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” Yensel said. “We try to have a bus always coming so people don’t have to wait long for a bus.”

Although there are more buses out on the road during the winter season, sometimes those buses are not enough.

“I have to pass people at stops if the bus is full while driving around campus during rainy or snowy days,” said Hammond. “Especially during the times when classes start in the morning.”

Time is a key policy to PARTA’s system as many people rely on the bus to get to their destination on time, Mortier said. Not only do the students rely on it to get to class on time but others rely on it to get to their jobs on time.

PARTA offers transportation to and from anywhere in the Portage County area as well as connections to and from the Cleveland and Akron areas. Yensel said additional routes going to different areas will be available around the county later this year.

“One problem with driving the Cleveland and Akron routes is people base their lives around our bus schedules,” Mortier said. “So if you are late, they tend to get mad.”

In certain cases, like last semester’s Summit Road closing and this semester’s Depeyster Street and Erie Street closings, PARTA can’t help the time delay. Yensel said they try to keep to their schedules as best at they can despite the change.

“We do our best to detour around it,” Yensel said. “The dispatcher will make the decision of alternate routes and inform the drivers where to go during the closing times.”

So while PARTA does have some hiccups during the season, Yensel said, PARTA continues to be the best it can be.

“In the winter, I think the best place to be is on a bus,” Yensel said. “If there’s no cars, there’s no issues.”

Any changes or additional information can be found at PARTA’s website at