Group Walks Over Frustration With Port Authority Transit Service – WPXI


“No service, no survival” were the words chanted by dozens of bus drivers and workers earlier this afternoon at a rally in downtown Pittsburgh. The group took their frustrations directly to Port Authority headquarters to demand better public transport service.

On Friday, a small but mighty mob gathered downtown to take over 6th and Wood Streets, demanding more reliable transit service.

“Transit service has been the worst of the entire pandemic, with passengers stranded at their stops,” said Laura Chu Wiens, executive director of Pittsburghers for Public Transit.

Frustrated passengers have shared horror stories of having to wait hours for a bus, often at night in the cold, that never arrived, a passenger using an electric scooter to travel more than two miles .

“The path is not suitable for my electric scooter, and if the bus does not come, I have to climb a hill,” said one woman.

Whether it’s missed work hours or missed doctor’s appointments, one woman we spoke to said her daughter has regular appointments and is dependent on the bus to get there.

“My daughter stays at the bus stop all the time to go to the hospital. She’s waiting for a kidney transplant, and she has to take a bus and if the bus doesn’t arrive, she’s late for her doctor’s appointment,” Tieaira Collins, a public transport user.

In recent months, the Port Authority has seen a low workforce, compacted by its vaccination mandate which has also taken drivers off the road.

“We have more than 100 people retained [work]and this has a direct impact on the service, we told them this six weeks ago and they decided to implement their position anyway,” said Ross Nicotero, Union President of Local 85 of the HAVE YOU.

“You’re penalizing these people because they’re upholding their constitutional right, and that’s not fair,” Collins said.

And while transit riders are frustrated with the current unreliability, organizers fear what might happen next to the Port Authority.

“The Port Authority is planning cuts to reflect the type of service outages we’ve seen, and we can’t stand it. It affects people’s lives on an individual level and on a global level,” Wiens said.

The Port Authority said in a statement to Channel 11 News that it does not plan to make further cuts and, in a statement,

“We plan to change the way we assign trips so that we are better able to address service gaps that passengers, unfortunately, are experiencing today,” said James Ritchie of the Port Authority.

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