Monday, October 20, 2008

Port Authority Labor Negotiations... yeah, that sounds familiar

Jason T reminds us:

Here is the transit metric of the day. This may seem counterintuitive, but really isn't. A new report ranks the savings per per person for folks to take public transit and Pittsburgh comes in last. Consider a couple things. We are only on that list because we are in a list of the top 20 places ranked by ridership (for now that is... see my previous post on the trends)... I suspect we rank low because congestion here is so low which blunts the public transit savings in part. That may be the real story about why support for public transit in Pittsburgh is at all time lows. The forces who dislike public transit are aided a lot by just how we have sprawled out without the penalty of congestion of most other places. What is amazing a bit is that the cost metric seems to take into account out parking costs which most consider high, so even taking that into account the costs of commuting by car here are not that high. The savings calculated for Pittsburgh come to over $8,500 per year per rider.

As for transit ridership trends, you have to wonder what the future holds. The site reports at least one public retail gas outlet selling at $2.75/gallon in the region. That and the opening of 1,000 new parking spaces at the Grant Street Transportation Center Parking Lot can only work to pull commuters back into their cars. Remember when it was really intended to be a multimodal transit center? or was it? For mh or anyone who cringes at the mere mention of billboard's downtown.. there is a great quote about the future Grant Street Transportation Center in this article from 2003.


Anonymous MH said...

I don't care about billboard in and of itself. That part of downtown was hardly an aesthetic treasure before and it looks much better now, with or without the billboard. I'm all for the city seeking money from somebody who isn't me.

What bothers me is that they didn't seek the highest bidder. In terms of local government, I've been paying more for less for a long time now. I'm livid to see the politically connected big guys get all the breaks.

Monday, October 20, 2008 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I was thinking you would like to react to the Tom Murphy quote in the article from 2003.

Monday, October 20, 2008 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

I hadn't been able to get the article to load until now.

One thing I did notice is that even though $8,500 in savings for using transit is 'low' on that list, it is quite a bit more than I save by using transit. Even a highball savings estimate (ignoring the time lost by taking the bus, $4 gas, an SUV, a free bus pass, attributing all the the expenses of owning a second car to my savings, and calculated parking costs at the rack rate instead of the Pitt pass rate), I can't get the number past $5,000.

As it is, I have to keep the second car, I can't really ignore the hours lost b/c the bus is slower, gas is at $3, and I can get a Pitt parking pass. This may explain why I'm more irked with the drink tax than the potential collapse of the bus system.

Monday, October 20, 2008 1:03:00 PM  
Anonymous EK said...

I always wondered why the "Transportation Center" was to include a LRT stop. It is just across the street from an existing and unused station at the Pennsylvanian. I used that station when it was open for the All Star Game festivities a few years ago. Its really nice and only about a 1 minute further walk from the Convention Center than the proposed station. It just doesn't make any sense to me that they would essentially spend tens of millions of dollars (or more) just to move a station across the street.

Monday, October 20, 2008 1:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

multimodal transit center is a euphemism for parking garage

Monday, October 20, 2008 7:39:00 PM  
Blogger EdHeath said...

I haven’t been downtown in a while, but certainly the last time I was there, that LRT station right at the end of the Busway was just not being used, had not been used for a while. Many was the time, when I worked for Highmark (still Blue Cross or Veritas at the time) when I would have appreciated using the T from that stop. As it was, the walk from Smithfield was the only exercise I was getting at the time, so it was probably good I couldn’t ride the whole way. But PAT spent all the money to build the station and the tracks and dig the tunnel.

Meanwhile, two things of note. Did I read here that the Driver’s union has come to realize that they don’t need to strike, if they just refuse to negotiate PAT is likely to go bankrupt sometime in December. It’s not just the 20 to 30 million in county money, hasn’t Onorato’s holding back that money also frozen some hundred or two hundred million in state money? If PAT goes broke Pittsburghers are likely to blame Onorato, cutting into his hopes for a run for the governor’s office.

Other thing of note, Ken Zapisnki seems to have succumbed to real world disease, i.e. not having time to blog anymore. Let’s hope he is even now solving the transit crisis.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 1:04:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

If PAT goes under, I think the union deserves most of the blame. Taxpayers and riders have taken their hit. I'm starting to wonder if maybe letting it go under isn't for the best. I'm not saying that we don't need transit, but maybe starting over is better in the long run.

Friday, October 24, 2008 9:44:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

note I have mentioned the possibility of the Port Authority going bankrupt.. that does not mean in any way it would go away. Chapter 9 bankruptcy can't shut down a government in any form. That would be a decision of the board/executive. I also am little curious whether the Port Authoirty could be replaced by another entity and not be bound by the same labor contracts or at least with the same union. Federal law is pretty explicit in its protections for transit workers.

Friday, October 24, 2008 9:51:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

I don't know about transit labor law, but I'm pretty sure that nobody with any desire to keep their office or run for another one is going to go back to Allegheny County taxpayers for more taxes for transit in 2009.

Friday, October 24, 2008 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they should privatize the port authority. Let some company run it like a real business.

Saturday, December 06, 2008 5:20:00 PM  

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