PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When the latest Port Authority service cuts come the weekend of March 27, there will be new stops for busway buses east of town and downtown as well.
But the Port Authority says drivers who have to be trained on the new routes may not be. They blame the union.
The union blames the Port Authority.
The Port Authority says evidence surfaced at the Harmar garage – which is set to close – of solicitations to refuse overtime for new route training.
The training is usually done on overtime, but drivers are not required to work overtime.
“We did find a sign up sheet at the Harmar garage where operators were signing up and sort of a show of solidarity that they would not accept the overtime, that they would not go through with the training and that’s pretty clear evidence that there’s something under way,” Jim Ritchie, a spokesman for the Port Authority, said.
Pat McMahon, the transit union president, told KDKA’s Harold Hayes by telephone: “Some members may have put up a list, but we didn’t direct it to be done. They are frustrated and fearful about their jobs.”
“Every time PAT mismanages something they blame it on the union,” he added. “They knew from the beginning they were going to have a tough time implementing this plan.”
Nobody can guarantee things will be worked out in time for Sunday, March 27, much less Monday, March 28.
“We might have riders going out to bus stops Monday morning and the bus might not show up for a while because we’ll have a shortage of operators and we won’t be able to get all the service out on the road that we need to get out,” Ritchie explained.
For now, the Port Authority is trying to train drivers during their shift and brining in others on overtime to cover for them during training.
While those who still have bus service next weekend are worried about these possible disruptions, there’s another group of passengers with bigger worries. Some of them lose bus service altogether next week.