PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The latest round of Port Authority service cuts went into effect on Sunday. On Monday, commuters got their first dose of the new changes to the system.
Schedule changes, fewer routes and stops were just some of the headaches awaiting the morning commuters.
The Port Authority was up early to monitor how the new changes were affecting the commute.
“So far, things are going pretty well for us. The number of routes where we actually have any issues reported is very minimal. Maybe, seven, eight, nine somewhere in that neighborhood. We’ll keep tracking this as we move through the morning rush hour and then, of course, the afternoon rush hour and keep riders updated,” Port Authority Spokesman Jim Ritchie said.
To help deal with the influx of calls and questions about the latest round of changes, the Port Authority has brought in extra personnel. They also have extra personnel ready to be dispatched on some routes should the need arise.
“It’s early and we just need to keep watching to see what’s going to happen through the rest of the day. We have extra personnel in some areas that we can dispatch in some areas. But, as we use them up, there may not be somebody there later on to fill a route that [needs to be filled],” Ritchie said.
Internet service was a problem during the morning commute. Their website crashed by mid-morning and it took some people over an hour to get through on the Port Authority’s hotline.
As of noon, the website was back up and running.
Riders all over the county are being affected by the changes. In all, 29 routes were eliminated and 37 others saw significant reductions.
It’s a difficult situation for all parties involved. The Port Authority board and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 did not want the situation to reach this point.
However, after talks broke down last week, there doesn’t appear to be a solution in the near future.
“Right now, there’s really no solution in sight. We have to deal with the system that we have today. We have to move forward and we’re really looking forward to trying to work with other public officials, with other leaders, with union leaders to try and find a solution,” Ritchie said.
Not all bus riders coming into downtown Pittsburgh had negative experiences.
“It was great. Right on time, nice smooth ride. Everything worked out [well],” Lisa Rodenbeck said.
However, Rodenbeck was not on a Port Authority bus. She lives north of the city and had to take the Lenzner private bus service because there is no more Port Authority service available where she lives.
For questions about the cuts and service changes you can call the Port Authority at (412)-442-2000. Their website will also operate with up to the minute information about the changes.