Friday, March 25, 2011

PAT Cuts Looming

The Port Authority of Allegheny County will cut service to many of its bus lines throughout the county this Sunday.

29 bus routes will be slashed and service will be reduced for 37 more. The Port Authority Board voted to cut service in January, pointing to a loss of state funding as the main reason for its $47 million budget shortfall.

Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie says reducing service will also have a “ripple effect” on the buses that remain.

“We’re going to have a lot of transit users looking for alternatives after March 27th, and that is going to touch on many of the routes that continue to exist. We’re expecting situations where those buses, those vehicles are going to be more crowded than normal,” says Ritchie. “You’re going to have standing conditions on some of those routes.”

Pennsylvania gave the Port Authority the $47 million needed to fill its budget gap, but the Board decided to use that money over an 18-month period instead. That angered the local transit union, which wanted to use the money over one year to prevent job losses. Ritchie says PAT is trying to sustain the most routes it can as long as possible.

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