MATS, Passengers deal with hot buses

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - They get you from 'Point A' to 'Point B,' but when the summer sun strikes, riding a bus in Montgomery isn't as cool as you'd think.

The Montgomery Area Transit system deals with thousands of trips--and passengers--daily.  Even the drivers need a break from the heat.

"I keep ice in my cooler with a rag to keep me from getting overheated," explained Latwanya Grays.

MATS workers try to battle the temperatures with air conditioning, but sometimes, it's not enough.

"People are like, 'Oh, it's so hot on the bus. We can't bear it. It's so hot.'  The air conditioners are working, just not as you would expect in your car," explained Victoria Belton, MATS' marketing director.

There is some relief, but constant passenger traffic causes trouble.

"When you're opening and closing the doors, letting passengers on and off, it's going to warm up the bus," said MATS general manager Kelvin Miller.

Despite all the issues with heat in the front of the bus, the real problem lies in the bus' engine compartment.  Despite equipment upgrades, the space won't hold larger air conditioning compressors.

"Imagine a car and a car compressor. When these busses were bought, that's what they had," Miller explained.

Eight new busses are scheduled to arrive next June.  Meanwhile, passengers are doing what they can to keep cool.

"I dress differently sometimes.  I bring extra clothing, and I change when I get to school," said Sandra Hills of Montgomery.

MATS staffers urge travelers to bring plenty of water and dress accordingly, since the air conditioning can only lower the temperature 10 to 15 degrees.

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