PAT Public Comments: 2010 October

Sunday, October 31, 2010 10:44 PM

From: "Glenn A. Walsh" < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >

To: "Jim Ritchie" < jritchie@portauthority.org >

Cc: "Glenn A. Walsh" < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >


To:   Jim Ritchie
From: Glenn A. Walsh

Please forward the following public comments, regarding the revised fare adjustment proposal, for official consideration prior to management recommendation and Board approval of Port Authority fares for 2011. Please send me a brief reply confirming formal receipt of these comments.

gaw

To:   Port Authority Fare Adjustment Proposal
      Heinz 57 Center/Gimbels Landmark Building
      345 Sixth Avenue, Floor 3,
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-2527
From: Glenn A. Walsh
      633 Royce Avenue
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15243-1149
      Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Subject: Revised Fare Adjustment Proposal - 2010 October

1) Premium Fares - I support elimination of premium fares, as proposed in the 2010 August fare proposal.

2) Restore Fare Zone 3 - The previous fare restructuring eliminated Fare Zone 3, giving commuters who do not pay Allegheny County taxes an immediate fare DECREASE of fifty cents per ride(!), while Zone 2 riders and ticket users, and also all pass holders, suffered a fare INCREASE, and Zone 1 riders and ticket users fares remained the same. There should be a return to a fare structure where out-of-county riders pay their fair share, by restoring Fare Zone 3.

3) Park-and-Ride Lot Fees - Once the Smart Card System is implemented, weekday morning parking fees should be assessed at park-and-ride lots at rail and busway stations, which fill-up in the early morning. Commuters who arrive at rail and busway stations by walking, bicycle, or by paying fare on a feeder bus should not be subsidizing the parking service PAT provides to commuters who come by automobile. Once the Smart Card System is implemented, this parking fee should be easy and inexpensive to assess. Weekday morning parking fees should be assessed for commuters arriving at these park-and-ride lots up until 10:00 a.m. To attract off-peak riders, and particularly shoppers bound for Downtown during the middle of the day, parking fees should not be assessed after 10:00 a.m. weekdays and all day on weekends and holidays.

4) Assistance for Unemployed and Low-Income Patrons - Particularly with the current economic conditions and unemployment rate, Port Authority should consider some assistance to PAT riders that are currently unemployed and/or low-income.

Current economic and political conditions may well result in meager (if any) increases in government subsidies to the Port Authority for the next few years, at least until the economy recovers. Hence, continued annual fare increases may become necessary.

Assistance in the form of discounted rides for the unemployed and the low-income should be considered, as a way to help Allegheny County residents who, through no fault of their own, find themselves squeezed by the current economy.

Up until now, such an assistance program may have been difficult and expensive for the Port Authority to administer. However, with the implementation of the Smart Card computerization, PAT administration of such an assistance program would be easier and much less expensive.

I propose that once the Smart Card System is implemented, an assistance program for the unemployed and the low-income be installed as part of the Smart Card System. State and Federal unemployment compensation, welfare, and food stamps data bases could be coordinated with the Smart Card System to verify eligible recipients for discounted public transit fares.

Assistance would be given to members of the community who have trouble paying for life's necessities.

And, from a political perspective, this could also demonstrate Port Authority's commitment to the neediest in Allegheny County. This could be an advantage when seeking future government subsidies.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
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