Here in Pittsburgh, the outlook for transit is not looking too good. Fare increases, layoffs, garage closures have already happened, and unfortunately, unless something DRASTIC happens, this September, there will be the biggest cutback in the history of the Port Authority, a 35% cutback!
You will need Adobes PDF Reader to read the following file showing the routes to be eliminated...It's painful, to say the least... Simply click the Adobe PDF logo below.
But, not only that, fares will go up again, Our riders will be on the losing end of this big time, as will our operators and mechanics, 500 of whom will no longer have a job to go to. In fact, in 2006, when I left, I was steady daylight, done by 1:30 in the afternoon. Operators in my cluster of op's are back to nights or splits.
In the end, it is the riding public who really suffers here. These people are innocent and need to be able to get around. To a whole lot of them, the bus is their ONLY means of transportation.
Perhaps the people who make the budget decisions need to keep that in the back of their minds come election time. It's all politics...
Basically, the September cutback plan would eliminate 46 of the remaining 102 bus routes. Service would end at 10 pm on all but 13 bus and rail routes. Six suburban routes would be shortened. Some 400 to 500 drivers, mechanics and administrative staff would be laid off. The Collier bus garage would close, in addition to the already closed Harmar Division. Eighteen park-n-ride lots would lose all of their bus service, and become absolutely useless.
ACCESS, the agency's nationally recognized paratransit service for the elderly and disabled that provides 6,000 daily rides, would be reduced by 35 percent, stranding an estimated 1,800 riders.
When I stand back, all I see is the blame game...Everyones blaming one another for whats happening. Perhaps the time has come, to JOIN together to attempt to stop these draconian cuts. No one wants them, but in this economy, there has to be a dedicated funding source for mass transit. It isn't just Pittsburgh, but all over Pennsylvania, and for that matter, all over the country.
The solution is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is some type of DEDICATED funding for mass transit. This system needs badly to go back to the way it used to be, not get smaller.