A $4 premium fare for commuters using the Allegheny County Port Authority light rail system and 13 suburban bus routes has been dropped. In its place the Port Authority will increase the fares in Zone One 25 cents to $2.25 and in Zone Two 50 cents to $3.25. The fare hike will take effect on January 1st, 2011.
The increase is being blamed on a $47.1 million budget shortfall. PAT spokesman Jim Richie says that the budget problems are statewide and state agencies like PennDOT are also seeing less money. He also says that along with increased fares the Port Authority will need to decrease bus and T service by 35%. "This is a reduction that would just have a devastating impact on transit and on this community, and a lot of the changes just would not be reversible if we ever did find a resolution."
The Port Authority will hold a hearing on the fare charge on November 3rd from 9-11 a.m. in the Authority's Downtown boardroom. Commuters can send comments for until November 11th at portauthority.org.