Monday, December 04, 2006

Early Reaction to the Post-Gazette Piece

I've been getting a few emails from folks who have read the article. Some of them have given me permission to reproduce their comments here, so here's a sampling...

S.R. said:
I was reading your story today and had to respond to it. First of all, a non-profit enterprise like public transportation is a fraud...period....The constant explortation of public tax dollars for a public pig like pat is disgusting. I have the solution....sell it...let a real businessman run the business and it will be a COMPLETE success. Accountibility is an issue here. With free monies, comes wasteful spending.The last negitive report about pat concerning the overtime pay...the ceo says...We are trying to save money by not hiring the workers to fill the routes, but they are paying hundred of thousands of dollars in overtime pay. Have you ever looked at this bus system?.. From 10AM- 3PM.. buses and trollies are empty..EMPTY...NADA soul on them..The system is a COMPLETE failure.. How can you justify a route carrying 3 people into town????...and the three people are using free bus passes paid for by taxpayers? If pat was disbanded...there would be VERY little if any disruption...Appearently you were not around when this system struck years sir the sky didnt fall in, kids got a free ride to school, and the elderly made there trips to where ever...the only people really effected were workers....and they also made it to work. Again sir...trash this abatrose...shoot it....burry it....and start anew....with private ownership....a businessman will men are in businesss to succeed...were as..non-profit are there to get more free taxpayers monies...with little or no accountibility....which is what we have here....the coffee is there sir...smell it

R.E. said:
Nice article on transplantation issues in today's PG.

I also hope your group will shed some light on PAT's funny math. During a previous price increase scare a couple of years ago, a $.75 fare increase was to generate about $5 million. 60 million riders times $.75 per ride on my calculator comes out to $45 million.

I wrote to Joe Grata at the time and he did not have an answer. He said he had been frustrated by the funny math also, but suggested that part of the problem was the free rides for seniors and students. In order for the public to understand and concur with various taxes or other actions, a clear understanding of who is paying for what is necessary.

I would like to add a suggestion to your group's deliberations. I ride the 28X from CMU to the Airport regularly. At the current price of about $2, it is the best buy in town. Far lower than the next lowest competitive alterative. This is not a routine bus route, but express service with limited stops. At $5, it would still be a bargain. Many riders are business people or students. The extra cost would not affect their ridership. For riders who use this service to commute to jobs at the airport or Robinson Town Center, discount commuter passes could still be offered.

The drivers of the 28X bus are among the first Pittsburghers many visitors meet. They should be trained to be ambassadors for the region. However, this is probably too much to wish for even at Christmas time.

Agree? Disagree? More ideas? Let's hear it!


At 8:11 PM, December 04, 2006, Blogger jtp said...

It has been well established that pure privatization will not lead to more effective or equitable services to residents of Allegheny County. PAT is the amalgamation of 30something private transit agencies that were going out of business in the late 50's/early 60's. Anyone who thinks that we would have the same extensive service with only private funding has not been paying attention to history.

Our public transit system is very extensive. We have more service coverage than larger cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, and Dallas.

PAT is not a non-profit. It is a government authority. There is a distinct difference. Perhaps it should be a non-profit so that they could have just a little bit more leverage while bargaining with their employees. The real public dialogue should be talking about how this agency should best handle their pension & health costs. All other points are moot until that those topics are fully addressed.

The only real option with privatization right now would be for the allowance of competitive contracting for some of PAT's services.

The system remains best kept in public hands to maintain efficient, effective, and equitable service.


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