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Port Authority confident about Steelers Shuttle service

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Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011

The Port Authority of Allegheny County says it will be able to serve all of the Steelers Shuttle's anticipated 2,000 riders when Pittsburgh plays the New York Jets in Sunday's AFC Championship Game.

"There is a certain level of emphasis here, division by division, to ensure we have people who will come through and will provide service," said spokesman Jim Ritchie. The Port Authority relies on drivers who volunteer to operate the shuttles in exchange for overtime pay.

Last Saturday, Port Authority had enough drivers for only half of its 28 shuttles for the Steelers' divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field and could not staff several scheduled routes. The transit agency said it had 40 more call-offs than usual. It is investigating whether disgruntled drivers intentionally tried to disrupt the system. The union denies wrongdoing.

"Ninety-five percent of our drivers are very hard-working and extremely competent," said Port Authority CEO Steve Bland. "That leaves about 5 percent who need improvement."

If the Port Authority doesn't have enough drivers to operate shuttles or buses on regularly scheduled routes, Bland said, it will ask supervisors and managers to fill in.

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