Friday, February 5, 2010

Working Toward Transparency

Port Authority recently instituted a number of changes designed to make our agency's information more transparent and accessible to riders and the general public.

Here's a roundup of some of the additions and improvements we've made over the last couple of months, including links to new information on our web site:
Audits: Internal audits are now available online in addition to external and independent audits.
Board Materials: Last month we started posting Board agendas and resolutions on our Web site. We also will post meeting minutes starting in late February.
Addressing our Board: There are now more options for submitting requests to speak or make a presentation at Board meetings. Prior to last month, members of the public had to mail or hand-deliver a written request. Now any individual or group may also request to address the Board by filling out this online form.
Previously, requests to speak needed to be made at least two weeks prior to Board meetings. We have shortened the deadline for requests to five business days prior to the meeting date. To give more people an opportunity to speak during a meeting, each individual presentation will be allotted three minutes -- that's in keeping with the policies of comparable public bodies, like Pittsburgh's City Council.
Complaints and Questions: We've also reworked our online complaint, comment and question forms. Until recently, things like bus number and driver number were required fields on our complaint form. We realize riders might not always have those details available (especially if filing a complaint after the fact), so we've changed our form to make it easier to report incidents using only the date/time, route number, location and a description of what happened.
With TDP changes on the way, we know riders have a lot of questions. That's why we've made our comment/question form more prominent via a "Contact Us" link on the home page. This is where you should go if you have a question about upcoming TDP route changes or anything else Port Authority-related...simply input your question and your contact information, and a member of our staff will be in touch.

Transit Data: Up until now, our raw schedule and route data had been available upon request but not readily accessible on our web site. Now developers can freely download our data for use in creating transit applications. We look forward to seeing what our local tech community comes up with!

There's still more we can do to make Port Authority more transparent and to make information more easily accessible, and we'll continue to make changes that keep these goals in mind.

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