(January 3, 2007)
Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Port Authority Chief Executive Officer Steve Bland today announced proposed fare and service changes for the Port Authority of Allegheny County. Onorato and Bland also announced eight public hearings throughout the County between January 22 and February 7 to gather public input and comments on the proposals.
“The Port Authority is facing two decades of legacy costs that must be addressed this year if we hope to preserve public transportation in Allegheny County,” said Onorato. “Therefore, we are proposing a right-sizing of the Port Authority through a reduction in routes, vehicles and workforce.”
Onorato emphasized that the Port Authority will continue to provide public transportation throughout Allegheny County, and it will maintain night and weekend service. ACCESS, which provides transportation services for seniors and people with disabilities, will remain unchanged, and, in fact, ACCESS ridership is expected to expand as more people take advantage of the service.
The proposed planned would remove at least 400 employees from the payroll by June 2007, including management and union workers. In addition, the plan calls for a fare increase for ACCESS riders on July 1, 2007, as well as an increase for fixed-route riders on January 1, 2008.
“This restructuring must be done before we lobby Harrisburg for a dedicated funding source for mass transit,” added Onorato. “At the end of the day, this will not be the same Port Authority we are used to, but it will be a more fiscally responsible and efficient Port Authority.”
Even with aggressive efforts to reduce costs, Port Authority projects a deficit of approximately $80 million for Fiscal Year 2008 if no action is taken. To address this shortfall, Port Authority analyzed every bus and light-rail route and formulated a service reduction proposal using its publicly-developed “service scorecard.” The proposal also includes: reducing the number of trips on weekdays from 9,000 to 7,000 (25 percent); reducing the number of buses in service by 150; and evaluating its five bus garages.
“Despite the changes that are ahead, Port Authority is optimistic about the future of public transportation in Allegheny County,” said Bland. “We fully expect to emerge from these difficult times as a transit system that is more productive and efficient, built with public input through an upcoming Transit Development Plan that examines our role in the community, and backed by funding streams that are predictable and growing.”
The public is encouraged to review and comment on the service changes, as well as two alternative fare proposals. One proposal would eliminate the zone structure and charge all riders a flat $2.00 fare, with transfers free for two hours. The other would maintain the zone structure and increase the base fare from $1.75 to $2.50. Additional information on the proposed service and fare changes is available on the Port Authority’s web site at www.portauthority.org. Printed information will soon be available at Port Authority’s Service Center and on buses and light-rail vehicles.
Both Onorato and Bland stressed the importance of the public input and comments so the Port Authority can ascertain the impact of the proposed changes. Public hearings are scheduled as follows:
Individuals wishing to testify at a hearing are encouraged to pre-register by calling 412-566-5437 (TTY 412-231-7007) weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Monday, January 22, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Pittsburgh Hilton Hotel, 600 Commonwealth Place, Pittsburgh
- Monday, January 22, 4 to 8 p.m., University of Pittsburgh’s Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh
- Tuesday, January 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Achieva, 711 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh (facilitators will be available at this hearing for individuals with disabilities who require assistance with their testimony)
- Tuesday, January 23, 4 to 8 p.m., Monroeville Radisson, 101 Mall Boulevard, Monroeville
- Thursday, January 25, 4 to 8 p.m., Palisades, 501 Water Street, McKeesport
- Friday, January 26, 4 to 8 p.m., Moon Doubletree Hotel, 8402 University Boulevard, Moon Township
- Thursday, February 1, 4 to 8 p.m., West View Fire Hall, 398 Perry Highway, West View
- Wednesday, February 7, 5 to 9 p.m., Memorial Hall, Route 88 & Sleepy Hollow Road, Castle Shannon
Written comments will also be accepted through February 9, 2007, via the Port Authority’s web site at www.portauthority.org and by mail at 345 Sixth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2527. The Port Authority has also established a comment line at 412-566-5335.
Onorato and Bland will meet with union representatives, as well as members of the senior, disability and minority communities, to outline the proposed service and fare changes.
Bland also announced the formation of a task force to begin studying the long-term redesign of the Port Authority system.
Proposed Fare and Service Changes Brief# # #
Proposed Fare and Service Changes Brochure
Proposed Remaining Routes
Port Authority of Allegheny County provides a network of public transportation services to persons traveling within a 775-square-mile area, including the City of Pittsburgh and all of Allegheny County. Port Authority has a fleet of 1,000 buses, 83 light rail vehicles and 75 mini-buses. With the Monongahela and Duquesne Inclines and sponsorship of ACCESS, the nation’s largest paratransit program of its kind for senior citizens and persons with disabilities, Port Authority is one of the nation’s largest and most diversified public transit agencies.
Port Authority began operations in March 1964 following the passage of state legislation in 1959 enabling the consolidation of 33 private transit carriers, including the Pittsburgh Railways Company and 32 independent bus and inclined plane companies. By combining fare structures and centralizing operations, Port Authority established the first unified transit system in Allegheny County.
The Port Authority Board of Directors consists of nine members appointed by the Allegheny County Chief Executive and approved by Allegheny County Council. Port Authority is funded by a combination of fare revenues and county, state and federal funds.
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