Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Board to Vote on Service Reductions, Fare Increase Nov. 24

A Port Authority committee today recommended approval of a proposal to reduce transit service across Allegheny County by 35 percent starting in March. The proposal is intended to help counter a budget shortfall created by a statewide transportation funding crisis.

The Authority's Planning and Development Committee recommended the Board of Directors approve the proposal when it meets on Nov. 24. Approving the measure would trigger a fare increase on Jan. 1, a 35-percent service reduction in March and the elimination of more than 500 Authority jobs.

The action would be the largest reduction in transit service in the Authority's history. The impact will be devastating for riders, employers, local businesses and commuters.

Fares would increase by 25 cents in Zone 1 and 50 cents in Zone 2. More details are available online by clicking here.

Virtually every route in Port Authority's system would be touched by the reduction, including the elimination of dozens of routes. Other routes would lose weekend service while some would not operate as frequently. A list of affected routes is available by clicking here. Details of the route changes will be made available online by January.


  1. So, fares are going up 25¢ in zone one, but even with higher fares, the realities of the costs will require a 35% reduction in service, yes?

    How high would fares need to be in order to avoid any reduction in service? Are we talking another $1? $5 one-way fares with no transfers? I'm trying to understand the economics behind this.

    Also: are local universities (for example) going to be permitted to run their own transportation systems to make up some of the difference? I remember that the University of Pittsburgh used to provide bussing to an awful lot of riders back in the early 1990s, but at some point was made to stop. If they decided to start again, would there be any external barriers?

  2. Thanks for eliminating any chance I have to get out of my neighborhood on the weekends. I can do no shopping on my 'off' time. I've had to turn down part time catering jobs because I can't get out of Morningside. Thank you transit authority for taking Pittsburgh back in time 30 years. Shall I invoice you for the jobs I've lost? Nice to see that a bus can PASS our neighborhood on weekends though. Intriguing how no one at Port Authority can explain why it can't make a series of left hand turns to include Morningside on its regular weekend route though.

  3. Anonymous at 5:25 pm:

    The fare increase set to take effect January 1 is expected to bring in about $6 million. However, every fare increase also brings with it a ridership decrease. If we raised fares high enough to attempt to make up the deficit we would see a drastic drop in ridership, so that likely would not be a realistic strategy.

    The issue with our budget is not revenue, it's funding. The state just isn't providing the money it normally provides.

    As for the universities, some schools currently have bus or shuttle service -- Pitt, for example, runs several routes around Oakland and into some adjacent areas like Shadyside. It would be up to the schools to decide if they want to expand such services.

  4. well since each time you make cuts and fare hikes you loose riders, you might as well just shut it all down completely come the first of the year. you'll never make back the money you are loosing due to mismanagement, so from the business side cut your loses. management got greedy instead of smart with state money that wasn't guaranteed yearly and poor management just sunk what use to be a good transportation system.

  5. wait here a novel idea...maybe you should never have a built a billion dollar pit in the go nowhere...and don't give us crap that that money had to be used for that purpose...maybe you should have lobbied and gotten the law changed saying that the money would be better used to shore up your finances...its all corrupt...i don't feel bad that you lose 500 me the union hasn't lost nearly as many jobs as the private sector over the past years and its about time they figured out their policies screwed teh city of pittsburgh....

  6. How about instead of rear ending you passengers everyone Starting at the top take pay cuts.

  7. A quick reminder: While commenters are free to express opinions and vent frustrations, we do have a policy of no foul language and no personal attacks.

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  8. This problem has been brewing for years. Dan Onorato was pretty much silent on this issue during the election. His "Drink Tax" was supposed to save the transit system. Where is that money going? How much has been collected?

    What responsible government Authority bases its budget on proposed tolling of I80?

    What we are seeing is basically a reverse strike. It's not the drivers holding the riding public hostage, but the Authority itself. It is using public political fervor to apply pressure on politicians to bail it out for writing checks it can't cash.

  9. We do receive money from the drink tax. The tax is collected and put into the county's general pot, then distributed to us. The drink tax (as well as car rental tax) has mainly been used to substitute for funds that were collected from property taxes, not as additional funding.

    Before these taxes were created, we received about $25.3 million from the county towards operations. In the current fiscal year, we will receive approximately $27.7 million for operations. This additional $2.4 million amounts to less than 1% of total expenses.

    We based our budget on an amount of funding we were supposed to get from the state via Act 44. This is money we have received in the past and were supposed to receive this year. It is not up to us to decide the source of state funding. If we had based on our budget on the assumption that I-80 wouldn't be tolled, we would have been forced to cut routes earlier.

  10. I have a question regarding your proposed cuts...I currently work out at the Mall at Robinson and I noticed that on one page you have all service being eliminated going to Robinson Town Centre but on your individual breakdown of how each route is being affected, it states that the G1 bus route would be eliminated completely, but states that the 28X would be resume going through Robinson as it did before the G1/G2 routes were created. Some clarification would be greatly appreciated so I would know whether I need to move closer to my job or if there is some slim hope I still would be able to catch a bus out there.

  11. You got into the funding hole yourselves by mismanagement of funds and getting Rendel to fund a billion dollar "tunnel to nowhere." Now you blame Act 44 and come begging for more money and expect riders to pick up the slack. Shame on you all.

  12. With regards to G1/28X service, the G1 route will be eliminated entirely but service to Robinson Towne Center will be added back to the 28X.