Big Actions Being Planned with Local and Statewide Coalitions: Be In On the Action!

Pittsburghers for Public Transit is working with a broad local and statewide coalition of organizations to build support for legislation which will provide far more funding for public transportation than the Governor’s plan. 

You’re invited to learn about our projects and campaigns and how you can contribute your talents, experience and expertise based on your own interests and concerns for public transit.  Please join us at our General Membership meeting this Saturday, from 10-11:30 am at the Allegheny County Human Services Building, One Smithfield in the Liberty Conference Room, in downtown Pittsburgh. 

Pittsburghers for Public Transit Strongly Supports City’s Challenge of UPMC’s Charity Status

Pittsburghers for Public Transit continues to call for the equitable distribution of public transit costs with corporations paying their fair share. UPMC has long acted far more like a corporation than a charitable organization, failing to meet the criteria for their tax-exempt status by placing their own bottom line profits above the needs of their community, their workers and their patients.

As PPT member Molly Nichols of Bloomfield has publicly testified, “UPMC is one of the largest employers and landowners in the region…It is heavily dependent on public services like transit; nearly 5% of all Port Authority rides are to medical appointments… UPMC needs to start living up to its tax-free status by contributing to the community… They insist that “at the heart of all we do is you,” but when the service cuts were proposed last year, UPMC told its workers to ride a bike or take a cab to work. Cab and limousine service may be feasible for Jeffrey Romoff and his 6 million dollar salary but not for most residents of our county.”

With 55,000 employees, UPMC is the biggest private employer in Pennsylvania, yet many UPMC workers depend on public assistance to survive because they are not paid living wages. UPMC is the largest real-estate owner in Allegheny County and made $1billion in profit in the last two years, with $3.9 billion in reserve funds according to their own first fiscal report for 2013. Yet UPMC has spent hundreds of thousands of advertising dollars to represent itself as a charity to avoid paying real estate or payroll taxes.

UPMC is profiting off of our needs while violating the labor rights of its employees and failing to contribute their fair share towards public infrastructure like transit. If UPMC is going to remain a charity, then this has to change. We need UPMC to step up and give back more to our community. We call on our elected officials to stand strong and hold UPMC accountable. PPT calls on whoever is elected to lead our City as the next Mayor to continue the lawsuit and make sure this challenge is resolved successfully.

Volunteer Training on Sunday, March 10th from 1-3pm

As our state legislature works to develop a budget, we must call for dedicated state funding for PUBLIC transit. At this point, the governor’s budget falls far short of what is needed to keep our transit rolling!

 You’re invited to join your fellow Pittsburghers for fun, interactive training with drivers, riders and other transit supporters who want to learn more about the transit crisis and how they can help win dedicated funding for public transit. 

Sunday, March 10th from 1-3pm at the Human Services Building, One Smithfield St., downtown. 

Enormous THANKS to all the volunteers, organizations and elected officials who helped RUMBLE that rotunda in Harrisburg for PUBLIC mass transit!

B.Y.O.B – Build Your Own Bus

This Saturday, February 9th from 1-4 pm, we’re having a party to make signs and a fleet of cardboard buses to rumble through the Capitol rotunda at the rally in support of public transit this Monday, Feb. 11th.

If you’re registered for the rally, you can get creative with your most crucial messages to the media and our elected officials. But even if you can’t come to the Harrisburg rally for public transit, you can make a visual statement for the cameras!

Assemble (art + technology space) has generously offered paints, markers, crayons, glitter, scissors, glue and all sorts of other goodies. Please bring a cardboard box or a couple of pieces of poster board to 5125 Penn Ave, right next to the Merton Center on Saturday, Feb. 9th from 1-4pm.

Kids, friends, dogs, cats – whoever or whatever – everybody is welcome as long as they want to help keep our buses rolling! And there will be pizza from Spaks, too!








We will speak out strongly FOR a transportation bill which dedicates long term, sufficient funding to sustain public mass transit. 

Three Port Authority buses will leave on February 11th at 7:30am from two locations, Freedom Corner at the intersection of Crawford and Centre and from Oakland in front of the Hillman Library across from Schenley Plaza. Box lunches will be provided at no charge.

To register for the free bus and the box lunch, go to

Or, to register by phone, call PPT Community Organizer Helen Gerhardt at 412-518-7387.

PPT Launches Direct Organizing and Legislative Campaigns

PPT hit the papers and the airwaves today, at a press conference announcing the launch of our direct organizing and legislative campaigns. Enormous thanks to our speakers, Dave Vinski of the Allegheny County Labor Council, Andrew Austin, Executive Director of Americans for Transit,  and to Natalia Rudiak, who passed a Will of Council in support of dedicated State funding in support of public transit! And many big bus fulls of thanks to all the hard-working volunteers who helped make all of this happen!

Our first New Volunteer Training will be this Sunday, January 27th, from 1-3 pm at the Human Services Building, One Smithfield Street, downtown. Our first pilot test was a lot of fun and we got enormously valuable feedback on the training from both riders and drivers. We’ll be having free weekly trainings, so please register at

We’ll be meeting downtown each week for Transit Tuesdays from 3-5pm to practice what we learn together and mobilize our fellow riders and drivers. Join us at 3pm at Crazy Mocha, 801 Liberty Ave. downtown for a brief review of upcoming events and training tips before we launch out onto the buses and streets. 

We’ll be inviting everyone we meet out there to sign up for PAT buses to Harrisburg to rally for dedicated funding for mass transit on February 11th. Port Authority buses will pick up rally participants at Freedom Corner at 7:30 am on February 11th at the intersection of Crawford and Centre. Box lunches will be provided at no charge, and we will be back that same evening.To register for the free bus and the box lunch, go to register, please visit

Thanks again, everybody!

New Statewide Campaign to Stop Transit Cuts and Privatization


A press conference called by Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT) for Tuesday, January 22 at 9:30am a.m. will draw together representatives of Pittsburgh City Council, the Allegheny County Labor Council, Americans for Transit, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85, the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network and others to announce a multi-faceted campaign to save and expand public transit in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

PPT and its partners note that the funding from Harrisburg last year was a temporary fix. That money is scheduled to run out in August 2013.  The clock is ticking!   Without dedicated transit funding, in September we will again be facing severe cuts to service, which will deeply damage our region’s communities and economies.  They also charge that Governor Corbett’s lift of a cap on the gas tax provides no long-term solution – and some of the “privateers” appointed to his Advisory Council on Privatization and Innovation stand to make substantial profits at the public expense through proposals for privatizing transportation infrastructure.

PPT spokesperson Molly Nichols will provide information on the launch of a statewide campaign, as well as local organizing efforts, to defend and expand our public transit system.  Andrew Austin, Executive-Director of the national Americans for Public Transit, will outline a projected statewide mobilization for public transit.  Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak will speak on the importance of critical transportation investments in the South Pittsburgh neighborhoods she represents.  Dave Vinski will be speaking on behalf of the Allegheny Country Labor Council.

Pittsburghers for Public Transit invite our neighbors to work together to advocate for these rights:

Transit Bill of Rights

Members of our community need public mass transit for basic mobility and access to work, school, hospitals, shopping areas, recreational facilities, polling places, places of worship and family and friends. Public mass transit is a vital part of any healthy metropolitan area. It is essential infrastructure – just like roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and utilities – that is crucial to the economic, social, and environmental wellbeing of our region.

We have a right to a public mass transit system that includes:

  1. Safe, reliable, environmentally-sustainable, adn affordable transit that is accessible to all
  2. Living wages, benefits, safe working conditions, and union rights for transit workers 
  3. Dedicated and sustainable funding for public transit      
  4. Equitable distribution of transit costs with corporations paying their fair share 
  5. Transit that meets the needs of each community with no communities left out

For more information, call Community Organizer, Helen Gerhardt – 412-518-7387  

Out onto the buses and into the streets!

Our next general membership meeting will be this Saturday, January 19th at 10 am at the Human Services Building, One Smithfield St, in the Liberty Conference Room on the ground floor. There’s free parking – just hit the call button at the gate and someone will let you in.

Here’s big stuff coming up that we’ll be talking about and that you can be part of:

  • January 22nd press conference at City-Council building to launch our legislative and direct organizing campaigns. Out onto the buses and into the streets!
  • February 11, Harrisburg rally to support dedicated funding for mass transit with statewide coalition partners: free buses leaving at 7:30 am, rally at 2pm, coming back the same day.
  • Volunteer training on Sunday, January 27th  from 1-3 pm.
  • We got the Sprout grant! Thanks to the creativity and hard work of our partners Bricolage Production Company and PCRG, our teams will soon be launching out to collect your bus stories and to develop interactive community theater! Stories will be regularly featured at the City Paper Blogh in a range of media.
  • This website is being developed even as I post this information. Keep checking in as we evolve from our old dinosaur days.
  • Transit Tuesdays: regular meetings downtown between 3-5pm to flyer at the bus stops and on buses, including helping promote our allies’ events
  • Nominations of new Coordinating Committee members, Angela Howze, community organizer for the Hill District Consensus Group, and Bob Schmitt of the Committee for Accessible Transit.