Statement before the                Glenn A. Walsh

Board of Directors                       P.O. Box 1041

Port Authority of                            Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

Allegheny County:          Telephone: 412-561-7876

Proposed Service Cuts   Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >

& Fare Increase              Internet Web Site: < http://www.planetarium.cc >

                                                                        2007 February 7

 

Good evening. I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon, a regular rail and bus rider who has chosen not to drive a motor vehicle since 1985.

 

First, regarding a fare increase: To ensure the Port Authority continues to receive adequate revenue, to prevent further service cuts, three fare zones should be maintained during rush hours. Then, as an incentive to attract riders and maximize ridership during non-rush hours, a flat fare can be offered in non-peak hours.

 

On January 26, Mr. Bland stated that he wondered why few business, civic, and elected leaders sought to help the Port Authority with its current financial crisis. The answer may be that, unlike previous service reductions when such assistance could possibly reduce the impact of the proposed service cuts, the County Executive has made it quite clear that despite some “tweaking” of the original service reduction proposal, a draconian 25 percent service reduction will not be avoided! With that type of scenario, there simply is no incentive for business, civic, and elected leaders to do anything to help PAT!

 

A 25 percent cut in transit service would be tantamount to institutional suicide for the Port Authority. The huge ridership and revenue loss will start the downward spiral of public transit in Allegheny County. Next year, as Mr. Bland has indicated, there will be more service cuts and another fare increase—this trend would continue each year until Port Authority Transit all but ceases to exist. Oh, the politicians will insist on continuation of a token transit system, but most of the county and much of the city will be without any public transit!

 

A “transit development plan,” after the cuts take effect, will be too little too late. Most of the riders you lose, due to the cuts, will never come back to PAT. They will never, again, trust a transit agency that caused this much hardship to the public !!!

 

Streamlining of the transit system, with implementation of many short bus lines feeding into a limited number of trunk lines, would be a very positive step that could cost-effectively continue service to most of Allegheny County. However, it is questionable whether a 25 percent service reduction would even allow this!

 

Allegheny County, an urban county with a population larger than several states, requires certain social services, including public transit, to meet the needs of its residents. The County Executive was elected to ensure the provision of these services, not to find an easy way out of financial problems by simply drastically slashing a budget! He is paid by the taxpayers to come up with solutions that will meet the needs of Allegheny County residents!

 

As Board members appointed by Mr. Onorato, it is your duty to tell him that a 25 percent service reduction plan will, within a few years, destroy public transit in Allegheny County—and no future development plan can recoup the loss of ridership for, or trust in, the Port Authority of Allegheny County.

 

Thank you.

                                         2007 Pittsburgh Public Transit Funding Crisis:

gaw         < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit/pat/2007fundingcrisis.html >