Come on and take a free ride
By Joe Grata
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, 12:11 a.m.
With the high price of gasoline, you'd think more Mid-Mon Valley residents would appreciate a free ride.
With reluctance about driving in Pittsburgh, you'd think more people would leave it to someone else.
If you're 65 or older, problem solved!
The Mid-Mon Valley Transit Authority offers free bus service for senior citizens living in 21 communities here, not only to parts of Westmoreland, Washington and Fayette counties but along the Route 88 corridor to Downtown.
Through a marketing consultant, the MMVTA has mailed fliers to 6,150 area households identified as having at least one person living there who is at 65 years old or older or someone about to turn 65.
It starts off, “Greetings Future Riders!”
The fliers contained a postage-paid application for a Senior Citizen Transit ID Card entitling holders to ride any route at any time for free. The card is state-issued, meaning it's good for any public transit system in Pennsylvania.
All you need to do is show the blue card to the driver. If you're in Allegheny County, it's also good on the Port Authority's Light-Rail System and the Monongahela and Duquesne Heights inclines.
“We have a lot of baby boomers at or nearing age 65,” MMVTA Executive Director Mark Roncone said. “We wanted them to know they can take advantage of this unique opportunity to get around at no cost.”
The MMVTA and other public transit agencies are reimbursed for the free senior citizen rides out of state lottery funds, based on a formula that considers the agencies' operating performance criteria.
Last year, the local system registered 46,334 senior citizen rides out of 330,583 total ridership.
That's not only below 15 percent, but, based on a demographic analysis by The Valley Independent last year, the statistic indicates that far less than half of the people eligible for the free ride program are using it.
If you haven't received a flier, or already tossed it into the garbage, visit the MMVTA office at 1300 McKean Ave., Charleroi, via the internet at www.mmvta.com or call 724-489-0880.
Yes, I have a free-ride card. I use it about once a month for travel to Pittsburgh or within Pittsburgh when I find the bus or trolley more convenient than a car or when I'm not in a hurry.
If you want to know where and when the buses operate, pick up a schedule or visit the web site. The number of travel opportunities may surprise you.
If you like paying $4 a gallon for gas, if you like driving in Pittsburgh and paying outrageous parking prices, if you like paying taxes to subsidize someone else's transit ride, forget about today's column.
• Given the continuing series of troubling developments and allegations being reported at California University of Pennsylvania, might a special grand jury investigation be forthcoming?
• Have you noticed the improvement at the park-and-ride lot along Route 201 near I-70, Rostraver? Grass has been cut. Litter has been picked up. Lookin' good. Kudos, PennDOT maintenance workers.
• Although alcohol has been served at private picnics for years, and although park goers trekked over to the Green Gables bar across the street in the good ol' days, Kennywood has finally gotten the OK to sell beer.
At $7 per 16 oz. plastic cup, don't expect to see my brewski buddy Corky at the new “beer garden.”
Thought du jour. Forty-eight days remain until the nation picks a President. Got your voter ID ready?
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.