The 4th District Court of Appeal has upheld a judge’s tossing of a suit by a Palm Tran passenger saying he fell when the bus driver slammed on his brakes.
Altimon Palmer, in a suit filed Nov. 3, 2014, alleged that on the day before Christmas in 2013, he was boarding Palm Tran bus 716, heading down Congress Avenue in West Palm Beach, when the driver braked hard and Palmer fell.
In a memo Thursday to county commissioners, County Attorney Denise Nieman said county lawyers argued the Palm Tran bus was cut off and “there could be no negligence on the part of the bus driver under those circumstances.” She said lawyers for Palmer “argued that the issue of negligence should be left to a jury.”
On March 9, 2016, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Cheryl Caracuzzo granted the county’s motion to dismiss, saying “there are no genuine issues of fact.” Palmer’s lawyers appealed, and on Wednesday, the appeals court upheld the dismissal without comment, according to documents.
Attorney Nicholas Russo, whose West Palm Beach firm represented Palmer, in both the original case and the appeal, said Friday he’ll formally ask the appeals court for a rehearing.
“We think the case law out there is pretty clear that the ruling by the trial court should have been overruled,” Russo said.
Turned off by the idea of touching anything on a public bus?
Palm Tran is installing hand sanitizers on all of its 158 vehicles.
The battery-operated devices will cost the county bus system around $4,130, which will come out of money in its maintenance budget.
The wall-mounted units will be installed starting next week and all should be up by the end of February, maintenance manager Jack Kavaliunas said at Thursday’s meeting of the Palm Tran Service Board, an advisory panel.
Each unit, with refill and mount, costs about $26. They’ll be bought through the county’s purchasing warehouse.
A bridge and a bus will be pretty in pink next month to focus on breast cancer.
At 6 p.m. on Jan. 12, the Royal Palm Bridge — the “middle” bridge at Okeechobee Boulevard — will light up in pink, in partnership with Susan G. Komen South Florida. Just before that, Palm Tran will debut, for the fifth year, one of its buses that’s been wrapped in black, with pink lettering providing a message about breast cancer awareness. The bus, which operates on Palm Tran Route 1 — along U.S. 1 from Boca Raton to Palm Beach Gardens — will be wrapped for three to four months, Palm Tran said.
UPDATE, noon Nov. 9: Palm Tran says 368 people used the free Palm Tran rides to the polls on Tuesday.
Palm Tran, Palm Beach County’s public transportation system, says it will offer free rides Tuesday for people to vote.
You must present a valid voter information card when boarding.
The offer is valid for all 35 routes system-wide throughout Palm Beach County for the entire day, but isn’t valid for use on Palm Tran Connection, which provides call-ahead bus service for the elderly, disabled and ill.
Smith has 25 years in the transit business. He started as a dispatcher for the Greyhound bus line and for seven years has been general manager and CEO at the Durham, N.C., transit system. He will oversee more than 530 bus drivers, maintenance workers and training and safety staff, and a nearly $80 million budget, and will report to Forbes.
Forbes had announced Oct. 11 that he was appointing Keith Clinkscale manager of a newly-created office of performance management, starting Oct. 17. Clinkscale will produce performance reports. Clinkscale joined Palm Tran in February 2015 as a paratransit dispatcher, arranging pickups for ill, elderly and disabled passengers.
Commissioners Tuesday are set to ratify a collective bargaining agreement with Professional Firefighters/Paramedics of Palm Beach County, Local 2928 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. The raises will cost the county$256,992 over three years.
Also on the agenda:
Homeless shelter: Will hear the county has bought the homeless shelter on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and Henrietta Avenue from the Center for Family Services for $950,000 and will invest another $200,000 in repairs and renovations.
Palm Tran: Will hear Palm Tran is receiving $1.3 million in federal grants for new fare boxes and routing systems, partly to better coordinate with Tri-Rail.
Palm Tran riders will have more opportunities to take a load off while waiting for the bus. The county bus agency plans to install 24 new bus stop seats at high-ridership locations in places where right-of-way problems prevent them from having a shelter or bench. The 24 stops selected for the seats account for 23,000 or more riders per month.
The 2-seat assembly, by the Simme-Seat company, attaches directly to a bus stop pole. The make it easier for drives to see waiting riders and provide a safer option for riders than sitting on the curb.
The $13,722 for the seats came from a federal grant.
County Commissioner Priscilla A. Taylor and Palm Tran managers will show off one of the new seats at 10:30 a.m. Monday at a stop at the Presidente Supermarket at Linton Square Plaza, at 1565 S. Congress Ave. in Delray Beach.
Palm Tran Connection, Palm Beach County’s call-ahead bus service for the elderly, disabled and ill, has a new director.
Chad Hockman, whose official title will be Senior Manager of Paratransit, starts Thursday. He’ll be formally introduced at Thursday afternoon’s meeting of the Palm Tran Service Board, the agency’s advisory group.
Hockman will oversee a staff of 75 and a $30 million budget, Palm Tran Executive Director Clinton B. Forbes said Wednesday in a release.
The Ohio State University graduate worked for the college, then spent 13 years at a private paratransit provider that worked in six Midwestern and southern States.
Hockman will earn $107,000. His predecessor, Ron Jones, had earned $115,000.
Taxis: Set to approve new rules that charge drivers for Uber and similar app-based ride services $2.50 per pickup at Palm Beach International Airport and prevents them from waiting for pickups on airport roads or in the parking lots of private businesses near PBIA. APPROVED
Buses: Votes to sell, for $2, two Palm Tran buses to Pasco County. When counties retire buses bought with federal grants that still are in decent operating condition, they often donate them to other communities. APPROVED
Sikorsky: Set to approve, in second and final vote, a $128,575 tax break, plus an $18,200 cash incentive, for Sikorsky Aircraft. APPROVED
What: Palm Beach County Commission meeting. When: 9:30 a.m. Where: Sixth-floor commission chambers of the Palm Beach County Robert Weisman Governmental Center, 301 N. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach.