Protesters Rally In Squirrel Hill Over Port Authority Cuts

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Protesters are turning up the heat as the next deadline approaches for major Port Authority service cuts and layoffs.

Hundreds of people took to the streets in Squirrel Hill on Saturday calling on the transit system to stop the cuts.

Community groups, Port Authority employees and bus riders gathered at the corner of Beacon Street and Murray Avenue carrying protest signs and chanting slogans.

On March 27, the Port Authority is set to lay off 200 employees.

“It’s going to hurt the city tremendously; [a] 15 percent service reduction is very high,” said Jim Bonner, a Port Authority bus driver. “It’s going to mean crowded buses and longer commute times.”

The agency is also planning a 15 percent cut in service, eliminating 29 routes and reducing 37 others.

“It’s a serious attack on working people in this city,” said Mel Packer, of Pittsburghers for Public Transit. “How are people supposed to get to work? How are people supposed to see their doctor? We’ll see whole communities without bus service.”

Some of the protesters are blaming the state of the transit system on Port Authority management and local political leaders.

“Mr. Onorato you need to realize why you lost the gubernatorial race is because you sold us out with the drink tax. That drink tax money, you lied and told the public it was for mass transit; that money is not coming to mass transit,” said Sasha Craig, a Port Authority employee.

The protesters marched down Murray Avenue to Forbes Avenue where they held a rally on the steps of a church.

Back in December, then-governor Ed Rendell came forward with $45 million in funding from the state.

Pat McMahon, of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85, says the Port Authority could wait until next year before making the cuts.

“Give the legislature and Gov. Corbett the time, which is plenty of time next year, January, to make a decision and hopefully fix transit once and for all,” said McMahon.

RELATED LINKS:
Pittsburghers for Public Transit
Port Authority

RELATED STORIES:
Port Authority Approves North Hills Service By Private Company
Protest Held Over Public Transportation Privatization Proposal
More Port Authority News
More Local News

Comments

One Comment

  1. Dissolve PAT says:

    The Port Authority needs to be dissolved and a new transit agency created from the ground up.

    1. Sascha H. Craig says:

      The Port Authority doesn’t need to be dissolved. The Management Team needs to be held accountable for their poor decisions. Mass Transit is necessary in OUR Community. The Union doesn’t MANAGE, the Port Authority DOES! Go figure.

      1. dave says:

        The union is a joke and so are port authority drivers!

    2. truman sparks says:

      hey dave…what ‘exactly’ does that mean?

      1. dave says:

        Uh oh, we have an intellectual who cannot read. It means exactly what it says and if you are a port authority driver, I hope you are offended!

    3. francis vinson says:

      I agree with you ! The emplyees are to blame thinking that they were milking a golden calf . The legislature did the right thing when they stopped the replenishing of an antiquated system . I think privatizing is the way to go with excesses being picked up by agencies providing services at reasonalble rates.There are many solutions to discover ( this all started with the drivers demanding huge increases)

    4. francis viinsorin says:

      I certainly agree. There are hundreds of drivers satisfied with getting a lot less .with private agemcies . We need to do away with the deep pocket syndrome that continually blames the riding public for their ineptitude. They need to realize the parties over . Drivers are a dime a dozen

  2. Beantown4 says:

    Pittsburgh has the most expensive transit system in the U.S. based on a city of its size. The Port Authority is mis-managed and the pension system is running the whole transit operation into the ground.
    Don’t expect much to be done. Protests and meetings will not solve or bring attention to anything. They are already making their cuts and there’s nothing anyone can do.

    1. Mary says:

      PAT does NOT pay the pensions. EMPLOYEES PAY FOR THEIR OWN PENSIONS!!!!!!

      When are you going to get the FACTS straight before commenting????

      1. Zoeyzotron says:

        MARY – That is BULL SH!T. You simply contribute to your PENSION, you do not fund all of it. WHAT % DO YOU ACTUALLY FUND?

  3. sharon baker says:

    the port authority already has schedules printed up the cuts are going to happen its not fair they dont care about the riders

    1. denise says:

      It’s the port authority who harmed the people. The public union workers kept wanting more and more, while giving less and less, putting this WHOLE country into bankruptcy with greed. It’s time the private sector gets what they pay for, and your not it.

  4. Mommy says:

    Fiscal irresponsibility is what you getwhen you keep electing leftist ideologues like Onorato & Ravenstahl. No one should be surprised.

    I feel for these protestors but what do they expect? The Port Authority is broke. I, as a taxpayer, refuse to pay more taxes so we are just gonna have to lose services until the electorate starts voting in some responsible leadership.

    1. truman sparks says:

      ah mommy…what is ravenstahl’s involvement in this? also, your righteous statement of being a “taxpayer”…means what exactly?

      1. WAKE UP says:

        Let me explain it in simple words so you understand TRUBY . Idiots like Stupidstahl and Dan Onorato (L) put responsibility on bar owners and people who ARE NOT responsible for this mess.
        When Danny boy was on TV whining about his court case against the bar owners he said if they lose they will raise property taxes, once again putting responsibility on tax payers (WHO ARE NOT AT FAULT) Which when Danny Boy lost the case he decided not to push higher taxes because he was running for Governor .
        Stupidstahl is just an accomplice after the fact, by the way the (L) after Onorato stands for LOSER , UNDERSTAND TRUBY

      2. denise says:

        It means, the ones paying the pay checks.

    2. Yup says:

      Yeah lets keep blaming lefts or rights, because that has everything to do with it, right? How about stop trying to find a “side” to blame and put the blame on the individul. Or put the blam where it belongs – on yourself. Onorato is a dbag and no matter what “side” he would be on – he as an individual is a stupid person and would be doing this anyway! How did he get into office? Lots of repubes must have voted for him too! Or not voted at all! If you didn’t vote, don’t complain!

      1. denise says:

        What you just said, made NO sense. I hope you don’t vote. YUP.

  5. Level_green says:

    Neither PAT nor the Union have taken any steps to address the reason that the cost per mile for PAT is so much more expensive than the cost per mile in Philly. It starts with bad labor contracts from years back that can’t be undone.

    Mismanagement, maybe, but only because they didn’t force the same contract as Philly. Question to the Union, why dont you guys accept the same contract and working rules.

    Face it, the Union was greedy and the management sloppy and now, everyone is going to suffer the consequences.

    1. truman sparks says:

      i’m not getting your comment level green. when you say the union was greedy…greedy how? if you get a raise or a certain salary or hourly wage…are YOU being greedy. please enlighten us trolls.

      1. Level_Green says:

        @Truman and everyone else. Take 2 minutes tomread the link comparing union and non union employees costs in PAT and also a comparison to the Philly system.
        http://www.alleghenyconference.org/PEL/PDFs/PortAuthorityContractComparison2007.pdf

        First Stdent is hiring bus drivers to carry our children at between 14 and 16 bucks an hour to start.

        Keep in mind that the mission of PAT is to carry people on buses, not to pay someone that drives a bus a lot of money. If you want to make a lot of money, get an education and get a job that a company WANTS to pay you for.

      2. Zoeyzotron says:

        the Union demands (like pensions, free healthcare, bloated driver wages) will now come at the expense of their “brothers”, as they get laid off bunches at a time.

    2. LEVEL HEADED says:

      100% NOT TRUE UNION HAS AND CONTINUES TO LOWER THE COST . U CANT DO IT ALL AT ONCE… BY THE WAY BLAND TOOK A NICE RAISE THIS YEAR ANYONE CARE TO RESEARCH HIS AVG SALARY.

      1. Yup says:

        stop typing in all caps, it makes you look uneducated.

      2. denise says:

        You mean like you, YUP?

      3. Zoeyzotron says:

        Its $200,000, that is peanuts for a CEO, his pay is not the issue. That said, he should also take a pay cut, but in reality lopping $50K off his salary is a drop in the bucket. A driver made 130000 last year, 5 made in excess of 105000, and 50 made more that $80000 in 2010 + BENEFITS!! … and that per the POST GAZETTE

      4. LEVEL HEADED says:

        YOR TALKING ABOUT 56 DRIVERS OUT OF OVER 1200 BIG DIFFERENCE

    3. Zoeyzotron says:

      LEVEL –
      1) there are no longer 1200 drivers
      2) Do you not think that is excessive compensation?
      3) Shall we add in BENEFITS and PENSIONS to the discussion to include all drivers beyond the 56.

      Any way you cut it, costs are FAR TO HIGH. PAT will sadly fail…. without a bailout…. that is no longer there.

      1. LEVEL HEADED says:

        YOUR FACTS ARE TWISTED,,,,, BENNYS ARE FAIR YOU HAVE TO WORK THERE AT LEAST 30 YEARS TO EVEN QUALIFY FOR THE PENSION WHICH IS FUNDED BY THE DRIVERS THEMSELVES AS FAR S HEALTHCARE . RATES ARE HIGH BECAUSE GOVT ALLOWS THE MONOPOLY OF THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM TO KEEP COST OUT OF CONTROL…. FUTHERMORE YOU NEED TO STOP READING EVERTHING IN THE PAPER BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS ACCURATE I CAN PROMISE YOU THST YOU ARE WRONG OR MAYBE THIS ILL GIVE YOU MY PHONE NUMBER AND WE CAN DISCUSS

      2. Zoeyzotron says:

        LEVEL – So PAT employees pay 100% of their retirement? Meaning if they save $100,000 over a career then they have $100000 to spend for the duration of their retirement? I doubt it.

        Level, bottom line for me: I want Pittsburgh to have a world class transit system. I do not want any American to lose their job. Period, that’s it. My argument is that PAT is a microcosm of American public sector jobs, they are all in the red. Something has to be done to stop the bleeding and sadly it is serious cuts in expenses that will do it. All Private companies have already gone through this multiple times over the past two years.

    4. TRE says:

      level green DO YOU GET SPIT ON, PUNCHED BECAUSE YOUR LATE , DO YOU GET ROCKS THROWN AT YOU WHEN YOU GO THROUGH A NEIBORHOOD BECAUSE PARENTS DONT TEACH THERE CHILDREN NOT TO DAMAGE OTHER PEOPLE PROPERTY, WE DONT GET PAID ENOUGH!!!! TO GO THROWN THAT BS EVERYDAY , OR ARE YOU ONE OF THE ONES WHO PARKS THERE CARE SO CLOSE TO THE END OF A STREET THE BUS CANT PULL AROUND. OH ABOUT PHILLY THE DONT HAVE THE SAME SERVICE AS WE DO THE DONT DRIVE UNTIL THE WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING, NOR DO THE HAVE EXPRESS BUSES TO BRING PEOPLE FROM THE SUBURBS, SO TALK WHAT YOU WHICH IS NOTHING ABOUT MASS TRANSIT IN PGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. FedUp says:

    PAT is circling the drain and both management and the union can share the blame! Personally, I think it’s time for a private operator to step in. Sure the fares would be higher but they should be to make a transit system sustainable. I have no sympathy for either PAT management or the union. Both have had their hands out crying ‘moroe, more, we need more!’ for way too long. Bus driver wages and benefits are outrageous for what they do. Anyone with a CDL can drive a bus, it doesn’t take anything ‘special’. And, no, I don’t want to be a bus driver, I wouldn’t lower myself the level necessary to be part of that union!

    1. cc says:

      How would you know what it takes to be an inner city bus driver or what compensation they deserve? And what’s not an outrageous wage for you? Wall mart wages? No benefits, no pension? That’s probably be just fine huh? . It’s a good thing you don’t want to be a bus driver because you wouldn’t have the sack to last one week in dealing with the issues they deal with everyday. Not one week. Everybody’s real brave when it comes to criticizing wages but when it’s time to put your money where your mouth is, it’s “i don’t want to be a bus driver.” A.) You’re jealous about a middleclass job that you B.) don’t have the sack to even do. So how are we to believe you have any knowledge about what compensation somebody deserves? Especially about a job you would never be willing to do in the first place. Kind of cowardly actually.

      1. FedUp says:

        Well, you’re right about me not knowing what it takes to be an ‘inner city’ bus driver. I would imagine the drivers have to deal with all kinds of people from the sweet old ladies to the drugged up low-lifes and everyone in between. People at their best as well as their worst. But even still, 80-100 thousand dollars is WAY too much! Personally, I think a fair wage would be in the 50-60 thousand dollar range with an employee funded 401k retirement plan. Cut out the overtime to pad pensions and quit relying on the taxpayer to prop-up a failing authority!

      2. TRE says:

        fed up
        YOU ARE A LOW LIFE, PENCIL PUSH DO NOTHING WE DONT MAKE 80- 100 A YEAR. AFTER PICKING UP SUBURB KIDS THAT BRING THERE DRUGS TO THE CITY BECAUSE THEIR PARENTS LET THEM YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT EITHER I HAVE A DEGREE THE GAVE MY JOB TO AN UNEDUCATED BLOND CHICK BECAUSE SHE HAD A SHORT SKIRT ON. NOW THE COMPANY IS SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL WHAT THAT YOUR COMPANY

  7. Dose of Reality says:

    The Port Authority’s deficit is the result of 1) cuts in state aid and b) health care benefits for retirees, most of whom pay $0 for their coverage. The contracts that earlier Port Authority board approved years ago guaranteed this crisis and the current board is doing what everybody says they want – act responsibly, live within their means, etc.

    As painful as these cuts are, without them, the system would be gutted even more this summer, because Harrisburg is not ready to act yet.

    1. AG says:

      WE PAY FOR OUR HEALTH CARE OVER 700 DOLLARS A MONTH SO I KNOW YOU DONT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT

  8. James Love says:

    The Port Authority Board must understand that we are tired of Dan Onoraldo and Steve Bland taking routes from us and they must fire Steve and leave the service as it is now. They must use the rest of the $45 Million Dollars as Rendell stated how it was to be used for. If all the other Transit Systems can use the money their given to be used as they are told to which they do, then Port Athority must do the same. We must find away to get Steve to be fired for he has been known to be a man in which was hired to distroy Transit Systems across USA as he has done in Rabbit Transit in York Pa and Albany NY.. I had one CDTA Operator in Albany NY tell me Steve was responsable for two systems failing and shutting down shortly after he left them as he is now doing here to us here in Allegheny County. We must must stop Dan Onoraldo to stop his familys ACCESS Systems and hia Family Members from privitizing our Routes. Pittsburgh Transportation Group based in Lawrenceville are also involved in the SCAB planning to take over our Routes. We also must Get Charles Lenzner to back out of taking over PAAC’s 13J Franklin Park and 13K Marshall on March 28th and get PAAC Bpard to not allow that to happen. We must get PA State Reps and Governor Corbett to come up with proper funding for all Mass Transit Systems Amtrak Greyhound Trailways Highways and Bridges. We must understand that any company that has Coach USA along with Mega Bus are owned by a Scottland Company and all of them are SCABS for they are slowly taking over Union Jobs across USA. Mega Bus is spreading over USA and are taking Union Jobs away from Union Workers of Greyhound who here in Pittsburgh PA that are part of ATU 85 just like our Port Authority Operators and Mechanics are members of. For those who are against Unions they must understand that if it wasn’t for Unions we would be working for minimum wage and the Unions built this Beautiful Country and thats why have what we have today. On the other side of the coin we have people in office and in power that want to distroy Unions and its now fact that in Michiagan we now have idiots in power that are finalizing paper work to allow Marshall Law so they can break Unions there for money reasons. This proves peop like Glen Beck Mike Savage know what they are talking about and we must start listening for Corperate Greed like Dan Onoraldo Steve Bland Port Athority UPMC want to distroy our lives.

    1. Shockly says:

      How much have you been drinking?

  9. joe s says:

    SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME JACK THE RATES UP I DRIVE A CAR EVER TIME GAS GO UP I HAVE TO PAY .LIKE I SAID BEFORE IF IT COST 10.00 FROM MONROEVILLE TO DOWNTOWN ONE WAY SO BE IT. PEOPLE WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ROSES

  10. Joseph Puskar says:

    PAT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE PROTESTS…I GOT THE FLYER WHILE NEAR BUS STOP IN LAST WEEK

  11. Don says:

    If Port Authority riders wouldn’t go up in arms over fare hikes, this could be avoided. The cost to own a car, gas, and parking for those of us who drive ourselves around has tripled in the last decade. It is only fair that the cost to ride public transportation triple over that same time frame. Why is it that those of us who buy cars and commute and are not making use of taxpayer money to get around are deemed the bad guys and should be punished by rising costs while others use a semi publicly taxpayer funded means of transportation and feel that they should not share that same burden. Privatization is best because public transportation is not a right. If you need to go somewhere, you should pay the fair market price to commute and a competitive private market, like the yellow cab service, would set a fair price.

  12. Pgh Proud says:

    I believe city council, steve bland and ravenstahl should have their vehicles and parking spaces taken away from them for two weeks, and let them utilize only the public transit system as their solitary form of transportation. Then maybe they will see how important it is for communities to have adequate transportation provided to them. These cuts mean nothing to people who do not rely on public transit. Once these officials can finally empathize with the above situation they may finally make sound judgements in regards to the public transit system in Allegheny County.

  13. LEVEL HEADED says:

    UCKLE TOM IZ DIZAGREE WIT YOU. LETS HAVE LUNCH

  14. Mary says:

    You should care Uncle Tom..”I have a car so I dont care”….
    Part of transportation funding is for roads, bridges. Your car on the road increases wear-and-tear of OUR highways. It increases emissions and pollution. ALL of society (AKA taxpayers) pay the price for this…one way or another.

  15. PEOPLE THAT RIDE PAY THE FARE!!! says:

    Oh poor Port Authority. THE SKY IS FALLING ONCE AGAIN. IF THE PEOPLE WANT TO RIDE THE BUSES THEY SHOULD PAY THE INCREASE IN FARE. Why should people that DO NOT RIDE THE BUSES PAY THE TAB. I knew the poor union thugs were up to this protest. NEWS FLASH PEOPLE ARE SICK OF PORT AUTHORITY.PAT AND THE OTHER UNION REPS AND THE DRIVERS SHOULD TAKE A PAY CUT. OH DARN WE HAVE NOT HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT THAT. I had to take a pay cut last year and pay my benefits. Still I have no bail out.

    1. Not A Rider But Still Concerned says:

      Why should the Port Authority drivers take a pay cut? Just because you had to? Perhaps you should have gotten a job with Port Authority before all the cuts were proposed. Oh, but then you may have seen things differently. Not everybody is sick of Port Authority, as you say. There are people who still need, want or have to use public transportation to get around. However the same people who complain about fare hikes are also the ones who gripe about the service cuts. Port Authority union employees are not becoming millionaires on their salaries, certainly not like the management seems to be. They are not even close to the highest paid union workers in this area. Check out the Boilermakers, Bricklayers, Carpenters, Electricians, Ironworkers, Painters, Pile Drivers, Plumbers – I could go on all day, but alas, I must get back to work because I don’t have an awesome union to cover my back.

      1. Zoeyzotron says:

        NOT A RIDER – Save the Union rhetoric…. They should “take a pay cut” because their company is bankrupt. Plain and simple. By “pay cut” I mean lose the Pensions, at least for employees 7 years and under + new hires, pay for healthcare, and a wage cut if necessary. WELCOME TO THE RECESSION.

      2. Zoeyzotron says:

        Also, notice how UNION jobs decline every year…. wonder why…. duhhh

      3. Not A Rider But Still Concerned says:

        ZOEYZOTRON – Do you belong to a union? I would guess not, since it’s usually the people who don’t who are ready to dole out the punishment and cuts to those who were fortunate enough to be a part of a union that got them a good deal. Everybody had a chance to get a job at Port Authority. If we didn’t take that chance, that’s our loss. I would never put somebody down because they took a job that pays more money than mine, gets better benefits, more sick time, etc. and HAS A UNION that fights for them. I didn’t apply so I don’t get to work there, but I also don’t complain. And I certainly don’t tell them what they do or don’t deserve. Just as people condemn teachers who strike because they deserve better than they currently receive, those who don’t work for Port Authority seem to be jealous and begrudge them of what they get. You can save your imbecilic “rhetoric” (DUHHH).

      4. Zoeyzotron says:

        NOT A RIDER – I doubt that you are non-union. However, I will still try to explain to you the problem here… PAT and teachers unions as you say are both TAXPAYER FUNDED. Both systems have serious financial problems. Both organizations will have to make significant changes in order to survive. Do I want Pittsburgh to have a transit system, of course. Do I want to see my taxpayer dollars fund someones unnecessarly high wages or free healthcare or pension (when most of us do not get those luxerys) , no, not really. The issue is that PAT is broken due to the three issues I just listed. You can wear your blinders…. and while you do, instead of fixing the problems and restoring a viable transit system we will watch more people get laid off. WAKE UP

        I would never belong to a union – I believe in Capitalism, not socialism.

      5. Not A Rider But Still Concerned says:

        ZOEYZOTRON – Why would you say you doubt I am non-union? I truly am. I work in a clerical job and we definitely do not have a union. I don’t want to see Port Authority go under because I don’t want my drive to work to be infinitely more miserable than it already is due to more cars on the road. Yes, that may sound silly and selfish to some but that’s my stake in it. But I also don’t feel that it’s my place to condemn the Port Authority workers – they don’t have a choice about joining their union when they are hired. What kind of idiots would they be if they accepted those jobs and said, “Please pay me less than the going rate; I’d rather make $5.00 less an hour so I can be equal to the school bus drivers”? Who in their right mind would turn down the healthcare or pension benefits for which their union negotiated? ( I don’t know what either of those drivers make per hour, I’m just making a statement.) You may say you’d never join a union, and that’s your choice. I, on the other hand, would love to have someone fight for me. I do have one more question for you: why did you say that anybody with 7 years or less of service should have to take the cuts? I’m just curious as to why you settled on that amount of years.

      6. Zoeyzotron says:

        NOTARIDER – it may have seemed silly for a PAT employee to stand up to the union and take less, but maybe they would still have jobs for the long term. UNIONS have proven time and time again that they have ZERO understanding of long term sustainability. Steel, comes to mind. Those jobs are gone forever or atleast our lifetime. Excessive wages, 9 WEEKS PAID vacation, pensions, etc… that were pushed and pushed by unions drove Steel to Japan (then china, now India)… no one to blame but themselves. Its sad.
        As for PAT – It is simple economics, cost to do business far exceeds revenue = bankruptcy. I just don’t know how you can see this any other way, the numbers dictate these results, not me.
        As for 7 years…. just a number, i do not have access to their books. But i assume that you can not cut a pension of a guy who is going to retire in 3 years or he will have nothing. 7, 5, 10 (and all new hires)whatever years and under get pensions bought out and go to a 401k like the rest of us. I don’t want to see any American lose a job or take a cut, but they are pretty damn lucky that they are just being affected now… I have felt it for two years… and I just don’t want to fund them anymore with my ever tighting tax dollars…

  16. Yup says:

    So for one, I heard there is a private bus line wanting to service the North Hills? At $10 a round? I would not pay that.

    I also heard on the radio some advertisement for some amazing new money-taking system that will be in all the PAT buses by summer. It sounds exactly like the current system that is in place AND if they are so broke, how are they going to afford the new units AND installation? Eff you PAT – Pittsburgh was built on public transportation and because of your greed and stupidity, there are just more and more cars flooding the too narrow streets and clogging up the city. If buses were mor availble, people would use them! Especially in this time right now, I don’t like paying $3.59 for gas but there is no easy way from Braddock to Moon!

  17. Joe says:

    I see the same mindset that killed the Steel industry in the late ’70’s is alive and well in Pittsburgh/Allegheny Cthe local politicians will ounty today. I figure at this rate the local politicians will raise taxes on anything they can get their grubby little hands on and push people to live elsewhere. The state will not bail out PAT and they shouldn’t. Time for a gut check and make the hard spending cuts. Rip the bandage off the wound with one quick pull…

  18. Joe says:

    I see the same mindset that killed the Steel industry in the late ’70′s is alive and well in Pittsburgh/Allegheny County today. I figure at this rate the local politicians will raise taxes on anything they can get their grubby little hands on and push people to live elsewhere. The state will not bail out PAT and they shouldn’t. Time for a gut check and make the hard spending cuts. Rip the bandage off the wound with one quick pull…

  19. Spare Me says:

    Denise, it’s you’re, not “your.” You shouldn’t be commenting on anyone’s education level.

    And the public employees are bankrupting the country? Really? Nothing is mentioned about the WAR IN IRAQ that we have been financing for the past 8 YEARS. Go back and listen to Rush some more and tell me what he says! Because that is all your types can come up with- following some OxyContin popping sheep with a bell over a cliff.

    1. Zoeyzotron says:

      Yes, Public Employees are part of the issue, there are far too many, with benefits that are unsustainable. The War in Iraq, as you point out, is also part of the problem. Strange thing is I thought obama was going to end it; it was to be so easy….

      However, the true fiscal burden lies in entitlements and entitlement abuse like WELFARE. They must be addressed if America is to remain a world financial leader. Sadly, I doubt that you understand much about world economics based on your comments.

  20. Spare Me says:

    “luxerys”

    Hm…zoe…maybe if you could SPELL you could get those luxuries…people comment that PAT bus drivers aren’t very smart but they can’t even spell basic words.

    “I believe in Capitalism, not socialism.”

    Good thing you can spell “socialism” right. It’s kinda hard to push your nauseating Faux News agenda if you can’t spell their main byword.

    1. Zoeyzotron says:

      SPARE ME – I had no idea this was spelling class… Silly me, I thought this was a simple comment Blog… But just for you I will make sure my diction is flawless…

      However, instead of commenting on my spelling, which is completely irrelevant, why do you not join in to the topic of discussion here and prove me wrong, Union Man… Your dodging of the actual relevant content is evident of your lack of knowledge on the subject. Typical Democrat (not a complete sentence…. Forgive me.). Debate me, I’ll bury you.

      Also, I have never commented on the intelligence of a PAT bus driver… Again it is completely irrelevant to the discussion.

      1. RICH says:

        I THINK THE MAN BEHIND THE ZOTRON IS MIKE PINTECK (COWARD) I KNOW DAMN WELL YOU GOT PICKED ON IN SCHOOL IN FACT I THINK I STILL HAVE SOME OF YOUR LUNCH MONEY

      2. Zoeyzotron says:

        RICH –
        i think the man behind “RICH” is PAT driver or some union member that is out of touch with reality. However, if you want to debate then please do so. dispute some facts, show me data as to why PAT is a well run machine.

    2. Zoeyzotron says:

      SPARE – ZOEY is spelled with a “Y” moron… How do you like it…

  21. FedUp says:

    Both PAT management and the Union need to share the blame for the state of public transit in Pittsburgh. What it comes down to is that taxpayers are tired of PAT coming back time after time for more money, whatever the reason. PAT needs to structure their rates to make public transit sustainable with less state aid. Union leaders and members have to realize the wage/benefits they are enjoying are not part of a sustainable public transit system. State leaders need to ‘lead by example’ and cut their own pay, increase the percentage they pay into health care, give up some of their perks such as state cars, sweetheart retirement packages, walking around money, etc. Then, when asking for similar concessions, their requests should be met with less reluctance.

    1. Cc says:

      Well,actually, the average wage for a PAT driver is $50-60k. Where you’re getting the $80-100k average wage I have no clue. If a driver IS making $80-100k then that driver has no life outside of driving a bus. I’d really like to know where you’re finding that figure at because you are misinformed. And, once again, the union workers fund their own pension. They fund it.

      Public transit is a public service, the same as the police, the fire department, public schools, and as such relies on public dollars to provide affordable transit for everyone. Port Authority’s subsidies have increased by LESS than .5% in the last decade- well below the rate of inflation. For the past 20yrs the legislature has failed to find a dedicated source of revenue for transportation. And the drink and car rental tax that the county adopted didn’t provide any new funds for transit despite what was advertised. The tolling of I80 was expected to provide more than one third of PAT’s operating budget but was thrown out by fed gov’t. There was no plan B. The financial support Port Authority receives from the fed gov’t is determined by ridership, sooo every time they cut service, they also cut their federal funding. So the Port Authority has responded to this flat funding stream that hasn’t grown with inflation by raising fares and cutting service and laying off workers – all destroying the whole purpose of PUBLIC transit is supposed to do. And all the legislature has wanted to do is provide one time fixes every time the budget comes do – just further pushing the problem down the road.

      1. Zoeyzotron says:

        It was published in the PG a few months ago. Look it up. Also, I said nothing about average… AGAIN, i will ask one more time… “So PAT employees pay 100% of their retirement? Meaning if they save $100,000 over a career then they have $100000 to spend for the duration of their retirement? I doubt it.”

        Regardless of their wages and benefits, the economics dictate that expenses are TOO HIGH. You can ignore that fact all you want, but as you do more people will be laid off. Welcome to the recession… two years after the rest of us….

        How much does a school bus driver earn a year?? We trust our children with them….

  22. dr. michael says:

    Shut it down and start all over wiht good solid management and some common sense, not fancy business degrees

  23. Cc says:

    What was published that there were a very small percentage that made $80-100k out of 1200 bus drivers? Well there’s people on here trying to suggest that the average driver makes $80-100k and that’s totally false. The average driver makes a middle class salary, middle class nothing more. And that’s who you are laying the blame on whether you like to admit it or not.
    And you can ignore the fact that public transit is a public service just like the police, fire department, and public schools all you want as well, and requires public dollars to do what it is supposed to do, and those public dollars for transportation have remained flat for over a decade look it up. And the reason PAT has had to ask for money every budget year is because the PA legislature has ignored a dedicated reliable source of revenue for Transportation for 20
    years – fixing the budget holes EVERY year with one time band-aids. So every year this is what happens because the politicians have put it off and put it off.
    And when they finally do come through and adopt Transportation legislation – half of it gets thrown out! Never to be addressed again. Your failure isn’t with these blue collar middle-class workers it’s with the leadership in Harrisburg who has ignored the problem for 20 years, anybody that knows what public transit is supposed to provide to the communities in which it operates knows this……look
    it up!

  24. FedUp says:

    Sounds like at least one councilman has the right idea:

    Councilman Matt Drozd, R-Ross, wants council to petition the state Legislature to permit the transit agency to go bankrupt and then reorganize.

    Like a private business, the Port Authority then could renegotiate all its labor contracts, amend work rules and, possibly, reduce some of its legacy costs for benefits promised to retirees.

    PAT and the Union better soon get it, taxpayers have had enough!

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