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The Port Authority Cuts Service
by stephen donahue Thursday, Jun. 23, 2005 at 12:28 PM

Cuts were implemented on June 19, 2005. Riders to rally on June 29, 2005.

The slow but steady erosion of public transit service in Allegheny County took another incremental step on this past June 19. Beginning on that day the Port Authority began to run on revised schedules that effect many routes. Most of these changes are minimal but most also reflect a cut in service. For some routes like the 16D Manchester for example service no longer goes as far as it used to. For other routes like the 61B Braddock, 25D Robinson-Carnegie, 54C North Side to South Side via Oakland and others early morning and late night runs have been eliminated. All nighttime and Sunday service has been eliminated for the 41C Cedar Boulevard bus. If you have not done so you had best get some new schedules for bus routes that you ride.

Not too long ago there was 24 hour service on such routes as the 86B Frankstown and the 54C. That is gone for good. Many routes are now finished before midnight.

Politicians have been putting the Port Authority to the screws of late demanding cuts, cuts and more cuts. Local “investigative” reporters on the commercial TV have chimed in highlighting low ridership on a few Port Authority routes calling this a, “waste of your tax dollars.”

These same politicians also want the Port Authority to skin its employees as a condition of getting any increased dedicated state funding. And so now the Port Authority and ATU Local 85 are negotiating a multi year contract under the burden of years of under funding by the state. The Port Authority wants $19 million worth of concessions from its employees including the continuation of a wage freeze implemented with the last contract. Health care for Port Authority employees is also under attack.

Of course the stinking lousy law makers in this state just got a cost of living adjustment and they presently enjoy a total compensation package worth over $100 thousand per year. There is also a persistent rumor that before they recess for the summer these same rats will vote themselves a pay raise. Even so these heartless blobs of human waste are demanding that the Port Authority screw over its employees as a condition for state funding and the Post-Gazette, Tribune Review and all the local media will hop on that band wagon too.

One further complication for public transit in Allegheny County right now is the need for the Port Authority to once again go to the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission begging for millions of dollars in federal highway money to be “flexed” over to the public transit entity. Without this band aid there is no way to avoid major service cuts and fare hikes sometime in FY 2006.

Bus and trolley riders will make their voices heard on this issue on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 during a lunch hour rally at the Pennsylvania State Office Building, 300 Liberty Avenue. This Pep Rally for Public Transit will highlight:
• The need for the state legislature to act and fund public transit now!
• The need for the Southwest PA Commission to once more supply stop gap funding to carry public transit over the short term.
• The need for a public transit system that continues to serve the needs of Allegheny County residents.
• The need for just wages and health care benefits for all Port Authority employees.

All are invited. Details are on the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center Calendar.

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Name-calling necessary?
by Dave Tuesday, Jul. 05, 2005 at 7:36 PM

I appreciate the article - it's sad to see more erosion in public transit. On a meta note, however, I question the need for the outright name calling in your article; it merely makes the author seem to have a big chip on his or her shoulder. The facts very likely speak for themselves in this case; don't distract from your message.

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