Several Moon Bus Routes Eliminated in Port Authority Cuts
Port Authority approves 15 percent service reduction.
PITTSBURGH - The Port Authority of Allegheny County will move forward with a 15-percent service reduction to its routes and lay off 180 employees. Several Moon routes were eliminated as a result of the cutbacks.
The transit agency’s Board of Directors voted unanimously on the cuts Wednesday morning as a way to stretch $45 million in unused highway funds provided last month by outgoing Gov. Ed Rendell.
The action means that 29 routes will be eliminated – as opposed to the 47 that were originally planned – on March 27. The Port Authority expects the loss of those routes will impact about 5 percent of its riders.
Board members said the $45 million lifeline will be stretched until June 2012 when it is inevitable that more cuts will be necessary if a new dedicated revenue source from the state is not found.
Jonathan Robinson, president of the Allegheny County Transit Council, said the decision will “trash” public transportation in the region, adding that he believes it will ultimately lead to more cuts in the future.
“This would be down-sizing of public transportation, an essential service, not right-sizing,” Robinson said.
Board members said they regretted the decision, but had few options because of the budget deficit. Board member Richard Taylor said members hoped the cuts would be temporary if the state legislature can establish a dedicated revenue stream for the agency.
“I don’t want anyone to think that it is our intention to live with this,” Taylor said. “We shouldn’t have to live with this service. … It’s not right."
“It allows us to grow down the road, maintain the core system and work together to hopefully get a sustained [revenue source] down the road,” Vice Chairman Guy Mattola said.
Whether that happens is a concern to Port Authority CEO Steve Bland.
"If something doesn't change the dynamic, we're going to be back here again next year," Bland said. "They need to decide whether they want it or not."