Private Companies Could Give Port Authority Competition

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Could the Port Authority be getting some competition? It’s an idea being tossed around in Harrisburg.

Some legislators want to allow private bus companies to fill the void left by the Port Authority.

Financial problems have forced it to cut several routes and raise rates.

Lawmakers backing the plan say private companies could improve local transit.

“The Port Authority hasn’t been doing a very good job,” said State Rep. Mike Turzai. “I think, give the opportunity to some private sector operators to come in. I can think of a lot of routes that some private sector operators might want to take a chance to service people.”

However, transit union leaders say the plan amounts to “union-busting.”

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State Rep. Mike Turzai
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One Comment

  1. hc says:

    It is about time! Competition is good for all.

  2. jay says:

    Finally they need to ,its seems as we have no option but to pay what they ask & there’s no other other resort to move place from place without paying a hours worth of work to them for a ride ..

  3. Debbie says:

    I agree to allow private bus companies. Port Authority is out of control. They try to manipulate the government to bail them out of their financial problems, and the tax payers pay for the bailout and the fare hikes. PAT does whatever it wants with no regard for the rider. Competition is what they need.

    1. Debbie says:

      I TOTALLY AGREE with this comment Debbie

  4. YAY says:

    There are a lot of people that depend on the bus service and they don’t make the kind of money for fare hikes.
    It’s also not fair to go after bar owners to foot the bill which is why DAN THE TAX MAN is not our Governor, YAYYYYYYYYY.
    Competition come on in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. autismmom says:

    Do it! Do it! Nobody gives better service than the private sector. This should have been done a long time ago Create jobs and get people where they need to go!

    1. Tim says:

      Huh? Create jobs? How?

  6. Zoeyzotron says:

    Competition (most certainly non-union) is a great thing!

  7. Sully says:

    Does anyone remember when the Lenzer Bus Company provided bus service to Greater Pittsburgh Airport? One way $20.00 from the Wm. Penn Hotel. Let’s privatize the Port Authority.

    1. Zoeyzotron says:

      SULLY – A choice is always better. Let the consumer decide which bus system to support. A private non-union bus company will offer this competition.

      1. Jack says:

        Didnt work before

  8. pete says:

    Why only PAT? If competition is so good, why not SEPTA,Turzai has it bad for PAT. Probably got turned down to be a driver at one time.Turzai=union buster

  9. Debbie says:


    1. Mary says:

      “Reliable, Clean”…..hard to keep the buses clean when a RIDER urinates and/or deficates in the back of the bus, leaves dirty diapers laying on seats etc. Those buses are actually cleaned out on the INSIDE with a hose each day!!!!! Its the riders who make the mess and it will be the riders who will make a mess in private company buses too!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Lookout says:

    I would love for the Port Authority to succeed BUT:
    1. They’ve lost money through bad decisions to the tune of over $20 million
    2. They just had to dig that darn tunnel to the North Shore that will NEVER pay for itself and serves a very tiny percentage of the entire ridership
    3. Ego triumphed over common sense when they moved their corporate offices downtown to have their martini lunches with the swells–this cost a lot of money.

    The Port Authority has violated our trust.

  11. JAUN says:


  12. Brian says:

    Yea Pat is 70% tax subsidized, how would a private company make money and not charge alot for the service?

    1. Mary says:

      They wouldnt make money unless they charged an arm an a leg.. Thats the point. PUBLIC transit is a PUBLIC service subsidized by PUBLIC money. Pgh DID have private companies before. DID NOT WORK!!!!!

  13. GrammarPolice says:

    Jaun and Debbie – take your caps lock off! Seriously, it’s annoying when people type like that.

  14. Terry says:

    Dumbest Idea every.

  15. TL says:

    That’s exactly why the Port Authority was formed. The prvate sector in mass transit was going bankrupt and had to be bailed out. People clamoring for private companies to come in here don’t know their history of mass transit in Pittsburgh. And believe me the current environment is in no better shape for prviate transit agancies to make a profit here. Port Authority isn’t in it to make a profit their here just to break even.

  16. Sharon Queen-Myers says:

    @TL: you are so wong on so many levels it isn’t funny. The reason PAT was consolidated was because the Democrats inc harge needed to control public transit, which at the time was handled by several private community companies. Now that PAT has been ‘governmentalized’, it’s completely out of control. Reprivatizte and you’ll see costs go down while service increases. So what if an individual has to patronize two different companies to get to the city? I bet h/she still pays less in the long run…

    As soon as government sticks its weenie into the soup, the soup becomes contaminated.

    1. TL says:

      And you are so wrong on only one level – THE TRUTH. The Port Authority WAS established as a result of private transit company’s, like Brentwood Motorcoach and Pittsburgh Railways, were going belly up. Thats a fact. But judging from your totally partisan comment about “the Democrats” needing to control public transit, I know where your sentiments lie…and it’s not with the transit riding public of which I am one. So what if an individual has to ride two different companies to get to town you say? Gee thanks. I’ll remember that when it’s 6 degrees out. And you actually think he’ll/she’ll be paying less with a private company running the show? Think again…..
      In 2007, when the Port Authority was contemplating getting rid of it’s 28X Airport shuttle from Oakland ( A route I currently depend on) that had a roundtrip fare of $3.25, The Pittsburgh Transportation Group said it would be willing to take on the riders PAT was abandoning…but not for $3.25. No they said the fare would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $7.00 -ONE WAY.
      These private companies need to make money on these routes. So what are they going to focusing on when they get a foothold here? The routes with the most people at the best times. So you’ll have rush hour service and very little off peak service – so forget about much on the weekends. You think they’ll be running a bus out of town to Arlington or Northview Heights around 11PM or to the city at 5AM. I think not. You’re not going to get more service, you’re going to get less. I’ve seen it happen first hand in Colorado when they brought these private transit companies in. But they are able to stay afloat. You know how? By paying their employees as little as possible. What kind of drivers do you think you’ll have when they’re making $13.00 an hour with no benefits. You can make that at WAllMart. You think you’ll be able to drug test these people? Think you’ll be able to scan them for a clean driving record? You’ll have the same turnover rate there that you have at daycare center. Wallmart wages…something tells me you’d be just fine with that though huh?

  17. TOM says:

    Be careful what you wish for folks…

  18. TL says:

    And the Lenzner Co anounces today it wants to take over for two of Port Authority’s North Hills routes…and with a 54% increase in fare over what PAT was charging and much, much less service. What did I say folks? You people hoping for privatization don’t really know what you’re asking for. But I know what we’re going to get: higher fares and less service.

  19. lulu says:

    And how exactly is this “competition?”
    The port would have to subsidize these companies and to boot, the end user is paying $10-11 for a severely limited service. The state saves no money in the end and neither does the port. And…people either can’t get to work or get home.
    This has been looked into time and time again with the same conclusions- and that’s why its never enacted.
    By the way, the port goes to the state for money for the same reason that the state police and penndot do….its a government owned public service!
    There’s no strong arm.
    Several years ago, the port trimmed the fat and waste and are commended constantly from both political parties for it.
    They actually ARE efficiently run. This isn’t the 80’s

    1. TL says:

      Wow. That makes too much sense lulu. Finally somepne gets it LOL. Privatizatiom = less service and higher fares.

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