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Castleton Bus Depot Fleet Has $8M in Hurricane Ida Damage

The heavy rains and flash flooding caused by Hurricane Ida inflicted an estimated $8 million in damages to 28 buses, about 12 percent of all buses housed, at Staten Island’s Castleton Bus Depot.

(TNS) — It turns out Staten Islanders' cars weren't the only vehicles damaged by the historic flooding experienced during Hurricane Ida.

During last week's storm, the Castleton Bus Depot in Port Richmond was heavily flooded as the borough experienced unprecedented levels of rainfall, resulting in millions of dollars in damages to over two dozen MTA buses.

"Despite resiliency efforts to minimize the impact of flooding, remnants of Hurricane Ida, which shattered more than a century of New York City rainfall records, damaged 28 buses parked at the Castleton Bus Depot," said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan.

The 28 buses, which represent about 12 percent of all buses housed at the depot, sustained an estimated $8 million in damages, according to the MTA.

Once a full assessment of the damages has been completed, the agency plans to file a claim with the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA) to be reimbursed.

Danny Cassella, president of ATU Local 726, the union that represents Staten Island bus operators, has been on-site at the bus depot in recent days to assess the damages.

During the height of the storm, the bus depot took on nearly four feet of water, according to Cassella, causing extensive damage to the buses that he fears may be irreparable.

"They're looking at them now. The majority of them will likely be scrapped, but they're going to try to salvage any of them that they can," Cassella said. "You can't submerge an engine in water and then expect it to work."

He added that the temporary loss of these 28 buses, most of which are local buses, could impact service levels in the coming weeks, particularly with more riders expected to return to the mass transit system post- Labor Day.

"It's going to have some impact on their ability to run service. It's going to be an issue," Cassella said. "I'm not going to say it will have a huge impact, but there will be some delays, that's for sure."

In addition to the buses, Cassella said that the bus depot itself sustained substantial damages as a result of the flooding.

"I've been there the past two days and it's still bad. They have no electric. For the most part, the depot is running on generators," he said. "There was also a lot of damage to the shop area downstairs where the buses are fixed. It's going to be a slow go before we get everything back up and running."

The damage to the depot was so severe that Cassella said it could take months before all necessary repairs are completed.

"We're looking at a couple of months before we can get back to any kind of normalcy, because they're probably going to have to replace the whole electrical grid in there — and that's going to take some doing," said Cassella.

The MTA did not respond to a request for comment regarding damages to the Castleton Bus Depot by the time of publication.

(c)2021 Staten Island Advance, N.Y. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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