By Ross Guidotti

GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) – Like so many public and private sector entities, the Westmoreland County Transit Authority’s bottom line took a huge hit from the pandemic. Potential loss of revenue would certainly set up the possibility of fare increases.

“With COVID-19, raising the price would be a big mistake,” said customer Jim Kilpatrick. “Big mistake.”

“I can only spend so much a week,” Nichole Wolfe said. “And that’s bad for me. I try to budget my money.”

Turns out, the wheels on the bus will keep going round and round at the same fare rate.

The Westmoreland County Transit Authority gave the go-ahead on a more than $13 million budget that holds the line on fare increases, despite significant losses from a ridership drop from coronavirus restrictions.

Service and route cuts are also on hold.

How can the Authority afford to not raise rates? Federal grants specifically geared to helping transit systems during the pandemic will fill the budgetary hole — at least for now.

“That’s nice there. That’s the best thing they could ever do,” says George Waggle. “I’ve been riding a long time with them — trust them a lot.”