FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dan Yablonsky, Communications Director, Pittsburghers for Public Transit
(551) 206-3320, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT) applauds Port Authority’s recent decision to protect the health and safety of front-line transit workers, by having riders board through the rear-doors and by implementing a fareless transit policy.
Since Saturday, more than 315 riders and 14 organizations have called on Port Authority to implement this change, in line with demands from the International Amalgamated Transit Union and following the footsteps of several transit agencies around the country. Port Authority has demonstrated its commitment to its workers and the public through these important precautionary measures, even as ridership has dropped precipitously in recent weeks while residents have been sheltering in place.
It’s now time for the federal government to step up to the plate.
These necessary safety interventions are costly, and COVID-19 is threatening to put our transit agencies on life support. Allegheny County transit riders are calling for emergency federal funding to cover the increased costs associated with COVID-19 and decreased revenue, at a scale comparable to the proposed airline industry bailout. Supermarket clerks, hospital environmental service workers, pharmacy technicians, and nurses still rely on public transit everyday to keep our communities healthy. The COVID-19 crisis has brought into stark relief the need for public transit systems to be considered essential services and as an extension of our healthcare and food system infrastructure. Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader McCarthy and Minority Leader Schumer must ensure that transit is provided the highest level of immediate, direct financial assistance in this forthcoming Emergency Funding Bill, and ensure that this money can be used for transit operations.