MTA bus driver honored for bravery during Ida flooding

NEW YORK (WABC) -- An MTA bus driver was honored Thursday for her bravery during the historic flooding caused by Ida, including rising water within her own bus.

Acting MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber was joined by Governor Kathy Hochul in honoring Rosa Amonte, who stayed calm when flood waters reached nearly as high as the seats -- with terrified passengers standing on them to stay dry.

"I didn't even see the water on the bus or see people were over the seat," she said.

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Amonte has worked for the MTA for eight years, but on Wednesday night, she had just one goal.

"Take my passengers to the other side," she said.

And she did, to a rousing applause from her grateful riders.

"It looked like genuine river coming down the road," passenger Joe English said.

He took video of the conditions inside the bus and said it is a trip he will never forget.

"She managed the plot a course," he said.

RELATED | At least 12 people, including toddler, killed in historic New York City flooding as water rushed into homes
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Derick Waller reports on the deadly flooding in New York City.

Hochul said Amonte is a hero.

"She did not pull over and say, 'I'm out of here, I'm going home,'" she said. "She drove through the night and did what it took to get people there safely."

Those buses continued operating when so many subways couldn't due to the flooding.

"Bus operators are the E in 'essential worker,'" TWU Local 100 Vice President JP Patafio said. "When everything else fails, we're out there making things move."

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MTA bus driver Rosa Amonte is this week's MTA Hero of the Week.

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