Governor honors MTA bus driver for her ‘bravery and courage’ after getting passengers home safely during Hurricane Ida flooding

Governor Kathy Hochul honors MTA bus driver Rose Amonte who was caught in high water from Tropical Storm Ida with passengers on board and bravely transported passengers to safety. (Darren McGee/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

Governor Kathy Hochul honored an MTA bus driver today in Ridgewood for continuing to work last night even when her bus was flooding with water. 

Rosa Amonte has been an MTA bus driver for eight years. A video of Amonte showed her driving passengers in three to four feet of water in the bus as people stood on the seats. 

“Can you imagine the terror people experienced in that moment,” Hochul said. “She stayed there. She drove. I thank you for your bravery and your courage.”

Amonte said that she represented all of her coworkers, saying everybody felt the immense responsibility and call to action as waters flooded the roads. 

“The only thing in that moment — take the passengers to a safe place,” Amonte said. “I [didn’t] even see the water in my bus or the people over the seats, I just [thought] I’m going to go through this water and I’m going to take the passengers to the other side. We’re just happy to serve.”

Rose Amonte speaks during the press conference. (Darren McGee/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

Hochul said that when the subways were shut down, the only option for public transportation was the bus, and thanked drivers for never leaving their post. 

“During the depths last night, people were literally driving down rivers. Many vehicles were abandoned. People fled for their lives,” Hochul said. “But people still needed to get where they needed to go and get to the safety of their homes.”

Janno Lieber, the CEO of the MTA, said that subways are operating at 75 to 80 percent, and thanked the bus drivers for continuing to work as the MTA restored the rails. 

State Senator Joseph Addabbo came down from Albany to honor Amonte. 

“When [Amonte] woke up yesterday, I don’t think she envisioned what her day would end that way — but that’s New Yorkers,” Addabbo said. “We go from ordinary to extraordinary when we have these kinds of situations. She stepped up and did what she had to do for the safety of her passengers.”

The storm has caused extensive damage in areas of Queens. Hochul has been traveling around the borough to assess those communities’ needs. 

“I need to find out what exactly happened we can quantify it to be able to apply for [Federal Emergency Management Agency] assistance,” Hochul said. 

Hochul mentioned she spoke to President Joe Biden, who she said gave his full support of whatever the state may need. Hochul said she will look into relief aid for small businesses and homeowners.

Watch the full press conference below.