Union, Port Authority Point Fingers Over New Route Training

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.

More Port Authority News
More Reports By Harold Hayes
Port Authority: March 27 Changes


    What a joke pay the JAck A$$ that is running PAT another 250 grand a year!How is the tunnel under the river working out?

    Let me ask you all who”s I dea was the tunnel ?I bet the name Dan was one of them!

  • FedUp

    What a bunch of self-centered, greedy individuals the union is! Instead of being thankful they still have a job which overpays them and chokes all the perks out of the taxpayer (ultimately) they can.

    • drivers

      hey drivers, GROW UP ALREADY. its called an economic downturn. that means people lose jobs and services shrink. You think the people with the 35 years svc and a ged would leave and save the 180 on the bottom? think again, greed greed greed. and if i cannot get to work because you dont know your routes i am hoping all pat drivers have to take a bus to get to work also. trust me, youre not reliable as it is. go ahead and really rely on your brothers and sisters to get YOU to work. bunch of non working non educated overpaid slugs.

  • Level_Green

    Well, this is nothing different from the type of service that we have come to expect from the drivers. Gee I wonder if Lenzer is having the same problem training their drivers for the new Private Wlarrendale to downtown service that starts next weekend?

    If the drivers and their Union want to show the public that their service is better than anything else that will come along, this certainly isn’t the way to do it but then again, no one ever argued that these were the smartest people going. They are all out for themselves.

    • only customers

      I imagine they can have trouble figuring out their routes on the T Lines. I mean, gee whiz, they dont work sundays, (during football games), if they do, I am sure they are going to beat a customer and blame the company. Its not in the contract that they must learn a new route, therefore why should they huh??? we are only customers, they feel we are hostages. bunch of grown men with ged’s who know they got 35 years service and halos on their heads.

  • james

    if you are making a comment and are not informed you should try to become informed because you sound ridiculous making comments and not knowing the RIGHT information and forming OPINIONS !

  • TL

    The company new months ago they were going to have real trouble training 500+ displaced drivers and getting them ready to run new routes in new areas. The instruction department informed them months ago when they were planning all these changes and closing the Harmar Garage, but as usual mamnagement didn’t listen.
    And now when they realize they can’t skirt the rules in regards to training the drivers the way they’re supposed to be and in a way they are obligated too, they want to pass the blame off on the union..and of course everybody here takes what The Port Authority Brass says as gospel without question. But the fact remains, they new when they planned all this they were going to have trouble implementing it on time….but they ignored the warnings. And when people are stranded next week, and all the bad press is coming, they need a scapegoat and somewhere to direct the blame – when the blame should go directlly to those who planned all this to be done in such a short time.
    And for the jacka$$$ poster above, some of these drivers are going from driving a bus to driving the T cars for the first time. Two completely different vehicles and different regulaions involved. Takes time to train people in that situation.Can’t just throw them in the seat and give them a two quick course. My god use your head.

  • Level_green

    @TL. The drivers didn’t want to work OT for a Steelers game and they don’t want to work OT for training. Has PAT ever considered hiring part time drivers to cut down on OT since it’s such a problem for the full time drivers?

    By the way, it’s “knew” …not “new”. Geeze.

  • swin

    The article leaves something to be desired as far as the details but if I am interpreting correctly what I read, then I conclude the following: a couple of extra stops were added to a few routes and the drivers are going to be paid overtime to learn the new stops.

    If this is correct, then this is complete nonsense. The drivers already know their routes. Just give them a memorandum when they take out their busses that simply tells them what new stops have been added. If I am driving a bus down Penn Avenue in the Strip district, I don’t need to be trained at extra time and a half expense because a new stop has been added at 23rd Street. Just tell me.

    And don’t give me this nonsense that these drivers are fearful of their jobs. If that was the case, then they would unilaterally change their rules in ways that allow the authority to save as much money as possible. These drivers are trying to milk a dead cow for all that it’s worth.

    There apparently is no other solution than privatization. Both management and labor have to learn that if they cannot provide a service that the public wants at a price that they can afford, then they go out of business. By taking away this threat through public ownership, you removed all limits to the idiocy of management and the greed of labor.

    And how about a walk down memory lane regarding the Harmar garage – these were the same boys years ago who were involved in a work slow-down because they claimed ‘we don’t fix bus seats at this garage.’ Need I say more.

  • TL

    No, your conclusion is wrong. It isn’t just a matter of a couple extra stops on a few routes. 200+ drivers from the Harmar garage are being displaced to other garges which in turn forced drivers at those other garages to choose other garages. You have probably 400+ drivers going into different areas on routes they’ve never scene in neighborhoods they’ve never been to…and obviously they need qualified on those routes. You can’t just give them a memorandum and say “good luck”. Port Authority has an obligation to show those drivers the new routes these guys and girls will be working. They’re trying to quickly get these drivers qualified by making them come in on their days off and try to get more drivers ready in a shorter time period than ever before. In the processs cutting corners and skirting the rules in regards to training. And they are NOT, in fact, giving them OT wages of time in a half on their dayoff to do this despite, not surprisingly, what you are hearing and reading.
    Again, and everybody seems to ignore this fact, they’re realizing now that there’s going to be problems getting all these drivers qualified on new routes and they’re pinning the blame on the union….when they were informed by instruction from the very beginning about this problem. That aspect won’t get covered though, and everybody will take The Port Authority Brass’ word hook… line… and sinker.

    • swin

      As a native Pittsburgher of over 60 years I can assure you that all you need to give me is a map and I’ll follow any bus route in this city
      without having several days of training at time and a half wages. I’ve known guys who worked for the Port Authority and they told me about all the ways their wages are padded and how often they were paid for sitting around and doing nothing. Oh and by the way I spent seven years of my life training for my job and most of it was at my own expense and all of it was on my own time.

      Let me repeat – the Port Authority is the worst managed transit system outside of Philly in this country. That being said, however, the union has long ago lost all sense of how their jobs depend on the approval of and the willingness and ability of the public to pay. They look upon management as having infinitely deep pockets, courtesy of the taxpayers, and look upon their jobs not as a privilege to be earned every day by their performance, but as a right they are entitled to no matter how they act.

      • pathetic selfish drivers

        you need to seriously be a customer and rely on each other to get to worik. you will be treated horribly. you will learn to hate all the drivers who fail to show up, who try to run you down, to see you waving and running, and pull out with a laugh, the drivers who berate and beat the customers, the drivers who are so emotionally unstable that when someone pulls the stop cord accidentally, the driver refuses to pull out because :SOMEONE did that and we cannot leave until SOMEONE gets off the bus. seriously. I hope you all get what you have given to so many people. garbage service. I am sure Monday, you all plan to punish the customers more than ever before. after all, you wont be trained. its too hard. we will pay the price. actually if you go under it will be a relief. we will all be forced to deal with your final failure and the world will keep spinning. I hope you are all let go. maybe people who want to work will get hired by a company who REQUIRES them to work. this obviously is a big failure. the drivers did this. i hope they have to take some public transportation to their new jobs. i hope you all pay.

      • Dice

        All you need is a map and a bus to follow and that’s all you need. And all your training was done on your own, on your time without being paid anything…..well what can I say? your a real boy scout, a real trooper…..how long before you start telling us how far you walked barefoot in the snow to school as well? But, sorry, there’s guidelines and rules The Port Authority has to follow when training drivers on routes, regardless if you think there should be or not…… but that’s really great your job didn’t have those same type of standards. And what exactly did you do in the field of Transportation again? Lol.
        But I want you to explain to me specifically how the drivers wages are padded by sitting around doing nothing, because I know for a fact, the drivers at Port Authority are the only ones accountable for anything there. And The authority knows where these are or where they are supposed to be down to the minute, the minute! There’s many, many, many different positions at the Port Authority and I can’t speak for maintenance or the bloated number of supervisors or the office jobs or the instructors but I do know when the drivers are on the property they are working. And I can’t say that about ANY other position there. And also, I don’ t know what happened 15-20-30 years ago, I don’t know when your “friends” from PAT worked there but I would love to hear the many ways they sit around and do nothing to pad their pay checks – the current drivers that is. Because if that stuff did happen, it certainly doesn’t anymore and hasn’t for a while. It’s by far the hardest job there (you ask anybody with knowledge about that) and it is far from the highest paid position there.
        Which brings me to my last point. Where the f did this notion that the average bus driver at PAT makes $80-100K come from? It an outright lie. The average driver makes between $50-65K. That’s the majority, most make less than 65k. If there are drivers there making 80- 100K, then you better believe that they’re living at the garage. But it doesn’t matter, if they were making 40K or 30K, you,d still be saying they make too much. King Bland himself said the current drivers wages were not the issue.

    • Mary

      YES TL********
      You have 400+ drivers shifting around to all different garages causing many many drivers to drive in areas of town they have never driven before. This takes time to learn. Its not a case of a few routes/stops here and there.

      When did all this picking and shifting happen? Less than 3-4 weeks ago!!! So you dont have a lot of time to train>>>EVEN IF ALL DRIVERS TOTALLY COOPERATED ON COMING IN ON DAYS OFF!! That is a fact!!!!

      WHY DO ALL YOU ‘EDUCATED’ PEOPLE READ AND B-E-L-I-E-V-E everything to see/hear in the news?????? WOW!!!!!!

  • Zoeyzotron

    Typical UNION rhetoric… totally out of touch with reality…. Welcome to the year 2011 DRIVERS/UNION…..

    Real world Economic Lession – Your company is bankrupt, your business has failed. Changes must be made like lower wages, elimination of pensions, layoffs. None of us like it, but that is reality.

    All Pittsburghers want a bus service, you are just not able to provide it.

  • Dice

    Typical right-wing tea-bagger rhertoric: Lower wages, elimination of pensions, layoffs. Let’s see how quickly we can get these THOUSANDNAIRS to the Wall Mart wage level. You should be F$%kin’ ashamed of yourself. Your jealousy of a these middleclass wage earners is sooooo obvious.

    • Mary

      They think the key is lower wages, less benefits…these are ALL working class people. Why are working people ready to cut the heads off working people? Why do they ‘blindly’ follow tea-baggers? In the long run, they are only hurting themselves!!

      We will become (if we haven’t already) a 2-class society…RICH vs POOR. And who do you think spreads all the half-truths, propaganda? That’s right..you guessed it..(HINT: it’s not the poor or middle class).

      So believe partial truths..that’s your right. Wait!! We still have rights, don’t we? Caution: Even those may soon be axed!! YOU NEVER KNOW!

      • Dice

        Because Mary, if someone has something someone else doesn’t, the sentiment is always “you shouldn’t have that, I don’t have that, so you shouldn’t either”. Instead of fighting to get that thing you don’t have for yourself.
        You are right. These are most likely blue collar middle class people fighting arguing against and trying to bring down other middle-class jobs and people.
        I mean what are we talking about here? A $50,000 to $65,000 per year job? That’s middle class anyway you cut it and that’s who their going after now. It’s ridiculous. Those thousandnairs, yeah they’re the real problem huh? All those middle class people who want pension and affordable health care. Those greedy sonsab$&tches! LOL it’s like we live in bizarro world. The wealth keeps congregating at the top and you have the middle-class fighting with each other to see who can get to the bottom faster. And forget about the lower income people.F$&kin ridiculous.

  • its all about the drivers svc

    will the drivers with 35 years svc and a ged….will they save the bottom 180? drivers, trust me, youre not reliable. go ahead and really rely on your brothers and sisters to get YOU to work. your lack of service is the reason people hate pat. we hate the way we are treated by your 35 years of svc drivers with geds. you need to seriously be a customer and rely on each other to get to worik. you will be treated horribly. you will learn to hate all the drivers who fail to show up, who try to run you down, to see you waving and running, and pull out with a laugh, the drivers who berate and beat the customers, the drivers who are so emotionally unstable that when someone pulls the stop cord accidentally, the driver refuses to pull out because :SOMEONE did that and we cannot leave until SOMEONE gets off the bus. seriously. I hope you all get what you have given to so many people.

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