PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — These are tough times for the Port Authority and with another round of service cuts just months away, things stand to get even tougher for riders.

“Almost anyone who comes in contact with the region will see an impact,” Bland said.

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On September 2, the Port Authority will reduce service hours by 35 percent, 36 bus routes will be eliminated entirely, including many rush hour routes that get people into and out of downtown Pittsburgh.

“So, essentially express-type services that come in from say suburban Park and Rides into downtown Pittsburgh, into Oakland, 17 of 25 current routes would be eliminated entirely,” Bland said.

Also on the chopping block is the Port Authority’s ACCESS service which provides rides to 1,800 people with disabilities.

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“Frankly that’s been gut wrenching for me personally,” Bland continued. “Some of those families have indicated that if they don’t get that service back, they may have to put their folks in nursing homes which is really tragic.”

Still, Bland says he’s cautiously optimistic all this can be prevented, but only if reliable funding can be found and the cost of retiree benefits can be reined in.

“What makes me optimistic is all of the primary players involved have expressed a willingness to work on it together and all have agreed that the September cuts are absolutely terrible and need to be avoided,” he said.

Still, Bland says optimism a deal can be reached does not mean one will be reached and the clock is ticking for everyone involved.

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