Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wheatley Wants 'Equitable' PAT Fares

State Representative Jake Wheatley says the Port Authority of Allegheny County's plan to hike fares for Pittsburgh bus routes is unfair because it doesn't raise rates for suburban routes.

Wheatley says while city routes are cost-effective, suburban routes aren't. He says with that in mind, the Port Authority should increase fares across the board, including the city's “T” system.

The Allegheny County Democrat says in general, suburban riders could also better afford a rate hike than city riders.

The current plan would increase Zone 1 fares by 25 cents and Zone 2 fares by 50 cents. The Port Authority says it dropped its plan to impose $4 'premium' fares on suburban and light rail routes because it didn't want to “complicate” those systems.

With the premium fares, PAT says it would offset about $5 million of its projected $47 million budget deficit. If PAT only increases Zone 1 and 2 fares, that offset would shrink to $3.5 million. The Board must make a decision on 2011 fare increases at its November 24 meeting.

Wheatley says as a member of the House Transportation Committee, he'd vote against any state funding increases for PAT unless its fare increases are equitable for all routes.

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