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.