Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Celebrate getting bus service to transit deserts!

After being stuck in a transit desert for years, residents are ready to ride! On Wed Sept 9th, join Baldwin and Groveton community members, along with Pittsburghers for Public Transit, as we ride the 44 Knoxville and 20 Kennedy to town. If you live in Baldwin, we're taking the 7:25 am bus from Churchview Garden Apts (3783 Churchview Ave ext). If you live in Groveton, we're taking the 7:30 am bus from Village Dr.

Supporters are encouraged to join us for a celebratory rally:

Wednesday Sept 9th
8:30 am
6th Ave and Wood St

We'll hear from community members who worked hard to get their transit service back! We'll also hear about continued campaigns for adequate and affordable transit service in Allegheny county.

Coffee and noisemakers will be provided :)

A link to the 44 Knoxville route and schedule is here.

A link to the 20 Kennedy route and schedule is here.

For more information about the event:
email: molly@pittsburghforpublictransit.org
call: 412-216-9659

Monday, August 3, 2015

Residents get ready to ride!

Groveton residents met on July 29th to learn more about the bus service that's coming back to their community! These folks are excited their hard work paid off:

PPT and Buses for Baldwin had a booth at Baldwin's community day on Saturday! Here we are sharing the great news about bus service coming back to Baldwin. Over 70 folks came out to a community meeting on July 22nd to celebrate the win and learn more about the route coming to their community. Residents are excited to ride!

Thank you to Port Authority for providing information about the bus service at the events in Groveton and Baldwin.

On Wed Sept 9th, residents from Groveton and Baldwin will ride the 20 Kennedy and 44 Knoxville and meet downtown at 9 am! For the Baldwin flier, click here. Groveton flier is forthcoming.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tell Port Authority you want fair transit fares!

Port Authority is reviewing their fare policy in the coming months, with changes to be enacted in July of 2016. These changes could likely include a fare increase, and we are concerned about the negative impact this would have on our communities. We do not think funding should come off the backs of riders and are strongly opposed to any fare increases. 

PPT is distributing these charts to riders to encourage them to indicate our need for equitable fares. Make sure you take the Port Authority survey by Sept 30, 2015. Your responses will inform their decision-making in the coming months.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Baldwin Community Meeting July 22

After over a year of hard work from Baldwin residents, bus drivers, and transit supporters, public Port Authority bus service is coming back to the community! The 44 Knoxville route has been extended into North Baldwin and will begin service on September 8th. Service will run from 530 am to midnight, every half hour. This is a huge victory for all of us who worked so hard to ensure our voices were heard! 

Please join the Buses for Baldwin committee and Pittsburghers for Public Transit for a community meeting to learn about the bus service that will come back to our neighborhoods.

WHEN: Wednesday July 22nd, 7:00-8:30 pm

WHERE: Baldwin Borough building auditorium, 3344 Churchview Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15227

Click here to read the article in the South Hills Record. 

More info about the service:

The route starts at Churchview Garden apts and runs down Churchview Ave, to Spencer, Custer, and Agnew, across Becks Run road to St Clair, through Knoxville and Beltzhoover and into town via Warrington Ave and the transit tunnel. The service will run from 530 am to midnight, every 30 mins, Monday through Friday.

We understand that this service does not meet everyone’s needs, especially those on Willett Road, and we will continue to campaign for a solution to that issue.

Questions? Call 412-216-9659

Thursday, July 2, 2015

More opportunity for comments on the fare system!

Here is media coverage from the fare hearings on Tuesday June 30:

Post Gazette

Tribune Review

Port Authority has provided the space for more conversation about the fare system. Here is a link to a multiple choice survey. And here is an opportunity to share more of your thoughts in writing.

Let's make sure they hear our voices!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Tell Port Authority what you think about their fares!

Do you want to tell Port Authority what you think about charging for Connect Cards and their fare policy, in general? Come speak at the public hearing on June 30th, 11 am to 1 pm, and 4 pm to 6 pm. Call 412-566-5187 to pre-register. The hearing is in the Port Authority board room, 345 Sixth Ave, Heinz Building, 5th floor.

You can also complete a survey. Here is a link to the survey and more info

Port Authority is also asking for input on potential changes to the system, including zones, how and when we pay, etc.

Here is Pittsburghers for Public Transit's current position on Port Authority fares:

June 26, 2015

PPT asserts that riders should not have to pay any more than they already do for transit service. We have one of the most expensive base fares in the country at $2.50, and the cost of using our system is a burden on many families. We are very pleased to know that Port Authority will not be raising fares this fiscal year, but we have been told that PennDot expects Port Authority to increase its fares starting July 2016. We all need to come together (riders, workers, residents, Port Authority staff and board, and elected officials) to prevent a fare increase in July 2016.

In 1975, our base fare was 40 cents. Adjusted for inflation the equivalent today would be $1.77. In 2001, the base fare was $1.60. Adjusted for inflation that is equivalent to $2.15.  Since 2001, our base fare has gone up by 56% percent, and we cannot let them be raised next year. When you factor in cost of living, asking a Pittsburgher to pay $2.50 for a one-way ride is the equivalent of asking a New Yorker to pay $5.43! New York currently has a base fare of 2.75 and is the only city in the country that charges more than Pittsburgh.

When workers make $7.25/hour, how can they be expected to get to their jobs when getting there and back with a transfer is equivalent to the money they earn in one whole hour at work?

We do support simplifying the system to make it easier for riders to use, but we want to ensure this does not involve raising the base fare. Expecting transit dependent riders to pay more is unfair and disproportionately hurts them. We commend that senior citizens ride for free (mainly through subsidies from the lottery), and we commend that people with disabilities get a reduced fare. But we think that these riders should also get reduced weekly, monthly, and annual passes. We also assert that low-income residents should get a reduced fare.

Raising the fare runs a huge risk of decreasing ridership. If residents begin to feel as if it is less expensive to drive and park, what incentive is there to take public transit? Keeping fares where they are (or lowering them) and simplifying the system will increase ridership, which ultimately increases revenue from passengers and from the state.

We assert that Port Authority should get rid of Zone 2, stop charging for transfers, and maintain the free fare zone downtown (which includes 2.5% of daily trips or 4500 rides). We assert that riders should always pay getting on for inbound trips, and pay getting off for outbound trips, including past 7 pm.

With respect to Connect Cards, we are concerned that charging a fee for them will de-incentivize their use, when we know the system overall benefits from more people using the cards. Can the Port Authority consider other ways to cover the costs of the card, through sponsorship, for example? If a fee for the Connect Card is imposed, we insist that low income riders and riders with disabilities get the cards for free.

Friday, June 26, 2015

PPT celebrates as Port Authority approves extending routes to transit deserts

This morning, dozens filled the Port Authority board room to celebrate their victory after over a year of advocating for service to transit deserts. The Port Authority board voted to adopt the July 2015 to July 2016 Operating and Capital budget. It includes 3.7 million dollars for adding service, which is approximately a 2% increase in service overall. This includes extending service on 4 routes: the 44 Knoxville to Baldwin, the 20 Kennedy to Groveton, the 56 Lincoln Place to Penn State McKeesport, and the 91 Butler to RIDC park.

Over the past year, Pittsburghers for Public Transit has supported community campaigns for service to the transit deserts in Baldwin, Groveton, and Moon. Up to 2000 residents have conducted surveys, canvassed their communities, attended meetings, made phone calls, written letters, signed petitions, met with Port Authority board and staff members and elected officials, spoken at Port Authority board meetings, and participated in demonstrations. They brought awareness to the plight of transit deserts and called for adequate transit service in their communities. Their hard work paid off today as these service extensions were approved.

Chris Kuznicki, Baldwin resident, said “We commend all the residents who worked so hard on this campaign and appreciate all the support that PPT, transit workers, and residents throughout the region have provided. We will continue to push for everyone in our county to have the transit service they need and deserve.”

“The families in Groveton appreciate that Port Authority has listened to the word of the people,” said Darnell Jones, resident of Groveton. “We’ve worked hard for this service, and now people will be able to find jobs and get to the supermarket, other stores, and doctor’s appointments.”

The service changes will take effect Sept 6, 2015.

News coverage, click here