ShareThis Page

Port Authority riders sound off on proposed cuts, fare increases

Tom Fontaine
| Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010, 12:00 p.m.

About 200 people registered to speak out today against proposed Port Authority service cuts and fare increases that could take effect next year as a result of budgetary shortfalls.

The authority is having a marathon public hearing on the proposed cuts through 8 tonight at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

"It seems you relied on money that wasn't there," Katrina Kilgore, 27, of Mt. Washington told Port Authority CEO Steve Bland and other senior staff and board members.

Kilgore, who suffers from epilepsy, said she never has driven and maintained that Port Authority's move "will hurt seniors, students and the working class."

Port Authority said last month it would raise fares across the board and dramatically cut service and jobs unless the state helps it close a $47 million budget deficit. Plans include going from 129 to 85 routes, laying off 555 employees, raising single-trip fares and transfers by 25 cents and charging $4 premium fares on the T and longer suburban express routes.

Bland blamed the would-be changes on a federal decision to block tolls on Interstate 80, which would have generated $472 million for transportation projection across Pennsylvania.

"We know riders will suffer. We know employers will suffer. And we know businesses, schools and all types of community institutions will suffer," Bland said.

About a dozen speakers who took the podium through 9 a.m. illustrated that.

"What little I make, half of it already goes to fares and parking. I feel fare raises should be put on hold," said Moses Hart, 47, of Bellevue, a retired government worker who attends classes at CCAC.

John Tague of Greenfield said the cuts would "have such a severe impact, we might not recover from it," particularly people with disabilities like him. Tague, who uses a wheelchair, said he often watches three to four packed buses go by before one stops with room for him to board.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me