Early Reaction to the Post-Gazette PieceI'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...
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 ago...were...you?....Well 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 succeed...business 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
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!