News

28X spared amid heavy PAT cuts

The Port Authority has finalized a set of service cuts which will take effect on Sept. 2. The cuts, which will eliminate nearly half of Pittsburgh’s bus routes, may be avoided if funds can be found to overcome the Port Authority’s $64 million debt. (credit: Greg Hanneman/Contributing Editor) The Port Authority has finalized a set of service cuts which will take effect on Sept. 2. The cuts, which will eliminate nearly half of Pittsburgh’s bus routes, may be avoided if funds can be found to overcome the Port Authority’s $64 million debt. (credit: Greg Hanneman/Contributing Editor)

The Port Authority approved the elimination of nearly half of Pittsburgh’s bus routes on Friday. The service cut, which will go into effect on Sept. 2, will eliminate 46 routes, end service at 10 p.m. on all but 13 routes, and lay off up to 500 Port Authority employees. Bus fares would also be increased, starting July 1.

Among the eliminated routes will be the 64, which runs to Lawrenceville and the Waterfront, and weekend service for the 75, which runs along Ellsworth Avenue. Despite recent fears that the route would be shortened, the 28X will continue to provide service to the airport.

The service cut could be reversed or reduced if the Port Authority’s current budget problems are alleviated.

“I want to direct staff to also plan for the best outcome,” said Guy Mattola, the Port Authority Board’s vice-chairman, in the Port Authority press release announcing the cuts. “Make sure we are prepared to sustain current service levels so that the Board could later convene on short notice to reverse these cuts if an adequate funding solution is found.”

Governor Tom Corbett said that the Port Authority should look to the transit employee unions to help it overcome its $64 million debt.

“For years past, the state has been able to just produce money and help solve that, but we don’t have that money right now,” Corbett said, as reported by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I look forward to working with them ... but as you know there’s got to be discussion between the transit authority and the unions as to the overall costs.”

“We are not ATMs that can be wrung for more cash every time politicians fail to live up to their responsibilities,” said the president of the Local 85 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Patrick McMahon, according to the Post-Gazette. “Every concession we’ve made in the past has led to more demands and more concessions.”