Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lenzner Defends Application

The Port Authority of Allegheny County heard testimony today on an application by Lenzner Coach Lines to run buses between Blade Runners and the Warrendale Park and Ride lot in the North Hills and two stops in the Golden Triangle. Lenzner President Charles Lenzner says his company decided to file the application after several commuters asked it to provide the service. PAT is ending the routes that service Marshall Township March 27th as part of a 15% service reduction. Lenzner testified (upper left) that after being approached by the riders he made up a survey form and gave it to some volunteers to pass around to individuals using the PAT routes currently serving the two stops.

Lenzner plans to offer a one-way ticket from the Park and Ride lot for $5.00 and a one-way ticket from Blade Runners at 103 Marshall Drive in Warrendale for 6.25. That is nearly double the current rate charged by the Port Authority. “That reflects my cost of doing business,” says Lenzner. Tickets will have to be purchased in advance.

Charles Lenzner says he will have to hire two new administrative support staff, 4-6 news drivers and a new maintenance worker to support the expanded business. His goal is to begin operations March 28th. Lenzner says the drivers and maintenance workers will get the same pay as his other workers. He says that runs from $12.50 to $22.00 and hour with benefits. Lenzner employees are not unionized.

Amalgamated Transit Union local 85 President Pat McMahon testified against the application and the union’s lawyer helped to cross-examine witnesses. McMahon says if the Port Authority grants permission to run the service either Lenzner will have to offer laid-off PAT workers jobs and pay them union wages or the Authority will risk losing millions of dollars in federal grants. “We have a 13(c) agreement with the Port Authority of Allegheny County… if there is a successor to come in and deliver this service they would have to honor the collective barging agreement,” testified McMahon. 13(c) is a section of the Federal Transit Act that protects unionized workers. Lawyers for Lenzner Coach Lines disagree with the union’s interpretation of the word “successor.” McMahon says if the application is approved he will file a grievance.

Lenzner currently has permission from the Port Authority to operate service from five downtown hotels to The Rivers Casino and to operate shuttle service for the University of Pittsburgh.

The committee hearing the testimony today will make a recommendation to the Port Authority Board. That board is expected to take final action March 25th.

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