Port Authority of Allegheny County

Port Authority officials are proposing a budget of $397.8 million for FY 15-16, an increase of about $9 million from this year.

The 2.3 percent spending increase will not result in a hike to the base fare ($2.50), service cuts or job reductions.

“This is absolutely a really good sign for the Port Authority,” said transit agency spokesman Jim Ritchie.

In fact, the preliminary budget calls for a limited service increase in some routes to alleviate overcrowding.

John Marino / Wikipedia

The end of a three-year agreement between the Port Authority and the Steelers and Rivers Casino corporations that enabled T riders to reach Allegheny Station free of charge may upset the transit system's free fare zone. Without funds from either organization, the Port Authority must either pick up the tab itself or start charging riders who use the T stop to attend sporting events. Alex Zimmerman has been covering the story for the City Paper and joins us to discuss the issues surrounding the suspension of the deal. 

Zimmerman says the change is due, in part, to the Port Authority's desire to separate subsidies from advertising rights for the two stations on the North Shore:

"Port Authority went to [the subsidizing entities] and said 'We're happy to continue our agreement with you, but we want to retain ad rights.' ... The Steelers and casino aren't saying much about what their negotiating position is." -- Alex Zimmerman

Also in the program, local entrepreneur Mont Handley describes the peat moss substitute that he invented, Margaret J. Krauss tells an untold story about Pittsburgh during WWII, and Johnstown Tomahawks representative Chad Mearns talks about Johnstown's recent recognition as "Hockeyville USA."

On Tuesday, the city of Pittsburgh and the Port Authority of Allegheny County held the first of two public meetings to gather input on the proposed Forbes-Fifth Corridor.

About a hundred people attended the meeting to listen and share thoughts on the potential transportation infrastructure in the 5th/Forbes Corridor which links Downtown to Oakland, running through Uptown and part of the Hill District.

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner Wednesday threatened to take four county agencies to court for refusing to comply with her requests and delaying audits launched by her office.

Wagner wants to examine the contracting processes used by the Allegheny County Airport Authority, Port Authority of Allegheny County and the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (Alcosan), as well as the distribution of free tickets by the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports and Exhibition Authority (SEA).

In 2011, 29 Port Authority (PAT) bus routes were eliminated due to lack of funding, and some residents are questioning why the 2015 Allegheny County budget allocates PAT funds to build a PennDOT pedestrian bridge, instead of working to reinstate the old bus routes.

In 2009 a court ruling stated that the drink and car rental taxes could only be used for PAT expenditures , yet the $1 million bridge will be paid for with those taxes and built by PennDOT.

Union Blames I-279 Bus Crash on Mechanical Failure

Sep 25, 2014

The Port Authority of Allegheny County thinks the driver is at fault, but the union thinks the Sept. 22 bus crash on Interstate 279 that injured a driver may have been a result of mechanical failure.

Steve Palonis, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85, said that after reviewing video footage and talking to drivers Juliann Maier and Thomas Frauens, there is no indication of reckless driving.

Flickr user tadekk

Seventeen more bus routes went live Thursday in Allegheny County’s Real Time Bus Arrival System, which gives riders instant information about where their Port Authority buses are.

The system is now up and running for a quarter of the 102 bus routes in the county, and another 15 routes will go online in the next two weeks. County executive Rich Fitzgerald said all routes will be available on the system by the end of the year.

Good News for Port Authority Bus Service

Aug 29, 2014
Flickr user wildcellist

When we hear news of Port Authority of Allegheny County service changes, it usually means we’ll have to brace ourselves for cuts in service. But with transportation funding legislation approved by the legislature and Governor Tom Corbett last fall, the authority plans to add more frequent service to some of the busiest routes. 

Electric cars have come a long way from having short ranges, and a wimpy top speed of 40 miles per hour. Now many electric cars can go upwards of 130mph, have a range of 250 miles, and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is trying to get more motorists to purchase one.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County approved shifting $1.56 million dollars from its capital budget to add to the amount needed to study a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line between downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland.

Port Authority Chairman Bob Hurley said an initial engineering and environmental study is a critical part of the process.

Pittsburghers Tell Port Authority CEO How to Improve Transit

May 21, 2014
Jim Ritchie / Port Authority of Allegheny County

What needs to be done to improve the region’s public transit? That’s the question Port Authority of Allegheny County posed to the public through a survey, and the first round of results are in.

Port Authority CEO Ellen McLean said the results were revealing.

Flickr user HerrVebah

Transit and city planning experts from all over the country are converging on Pittsburgh this week to help the Port Authority of Allegheny County create a plan for the future.

Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said the nine consultants are part of the nonprofit Urban Land Institute and will come up with recommendations about how to improve the county’s transit system.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is in a “significantly better place” today than it was in the last audit, according to Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

The most recent audit covers the period of July 1, 2007 through Dec. 31, 2012. The last audit was completed in 2007 by former Auditor General Jack Wagner. At that time, there were serious concerns with unsustainable pension and healthcare costs.

DePasquale said now, the picture has improved.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County says several arrests are pending tied to the fraudulent reproduction of ConnectCards. ConnectCard is a smart card fare system now used by the Port Authority in an effort to phase out older paper and cardboard passes.  Multiple copies were made of four legitimate ConnectCards  and then sold outside of Port Authority approved channels; investigators did not say how many reproductions were made.

Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

Update: 11:35 a.m.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is reporting that as of 11:30 a.m. light rail service has been restored to all lines. Riders should still anticipate 10 to 15 minute delays as the Port Authority works to restore its regular schedule.

Bus shuttles that have been providing service for Blue Line-Library riders will end at noon. 

Update: 11:11 a.m.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County has hired Ellen McLean as its next CEO. McLean has been serving as the interim CEO for nearly a year and was previously the chief financial officer for the Port Authority.

Snow is falling, trees are donned with lights and Pittsburgh’s Steel Plaza T Station is filled with toys.

It’s that time of year again.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) and the U.S. Marine Corps are hosting the 10th annual Toys for Tots drive Friday.

PAT is looking for new, unwrapped toys as well as cash donations. Everyone who donates will receive a free cup of coffee from the station’s Crazy Mocha kiosk.

PAT spokeswoman Heather Pharo encourages everyone to come to the plaza and give what they can.

Flickr user wildcellist

A proposed plan to re-configure downtown bus routes has been placed on hold. However, not without raising concerns among riders.

The plan, according to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, is to reduce the overcrowding and gridlock that occurs on downtown Pittsburgh streets.

Flickr user wildcellist

Opposition is starting to pile up for a recently revived proposal to keep buses out of most of the Golden Triangle. 

At the behest of some business owners and a few elected officials, the Port Authority of Allegheny County has been searching for years to find a solution to the congestion caused by buses passing through the heart of downtown.

Most recently, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and City Councilman Bill Peduto proposed that routes be pushed to the edges of downtown, forcing some riders to walk a few extra blocks to get to work. 

Flickr user HerrVebah

The Port Authority (PAT) is planning to limit the number of buses and bus stops in downtown Pittsburgh.

PAT hopes to reduce sidewalk traffic by shifting routes onto wider streets that outline Pittsburgh’s downtown.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald supports the plan, saying the new routes will cut down sidewalk obstruction on some of the area’s narrower streets.

“Taking buses off of certain streets,” he said, “away from certain corners, will alleviate some of that congestion, some of that traffic and some of the blockage of walking on the sidewalks.”

Most Port Authority Pay Stations Faring Well, PublicSource Survey Finds

Oct 2, 2013
Emily DeMarco / PublicSource

Allegheny County’s 59 new pay stations at light-rail platforms and bus stops have been performing well, with the exception of some along the East Busway.

PublicSource recently tested 54 of the pay stations operated by the Port Authority of Allegheny County and found few problems with the machines along the West Busway and light-rail lines. But nine of the 14 machines along the East Busway had one or more deficiencies.

Half of the East Busway’s machines could not print receipts. One didn't accept coins. Four of the machines’ robotic voices were broken.

Both the Pirates and the Steelers packed fans into sold-out stadiums Sunday night, but the Port Authority of Allegheny County was the true winner, according to Rich Fitzgerald.

At a news conference Monday, the county executive praised the Port Authority for how it handled Sunday night’s massive crowds and provided a report card for its progress.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is a little bit closer to once again having a full board. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has submitted his for appointees to round out the newly reformed 11-member board.

The nine-member board of the Port Authority of Allegheny County closed a special meeting Friday without choosing a new CEO, meaning the task will be left to a new board that will feature nearly all-new faces. 

Currently the board is fully appointed by the County Executive, but a bill passed in the state legislature this spring changes the make up of the board to include 11 members appointed, in part, by the state. 

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Starting now, riders along the P1 East Busway will be able to track the vehicles in real time through the Port Authority's website, either on a computer, tablet or smartphone. The new program allows commuters to see either arrival times at specific stops or a map which shows where buses are.

“What it means on a cold, inclement day … whether you’re at home or at work you can look to see where your bus is to know when to go to your bus stop,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) has been appointed to a four-year term on the Port Authority (PAT) of Allegheny County Board of Directors.

The former mayor of the City of McKeesport was chosen by Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) to be a representative from the Senate Democratic Caucus and is the first member under a new appointment process.

Brewster, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, said the new board needs to be able to work together in order to solve the big problems.

The state Senate has approved compromise legislation that would change the structure of the Port Authority of Allegheny County Transit (PAT) board.

Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a measure by Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) that would have increased membership on the PAT board from  nine to 11 with the county executive getting only one appointment compared to the current system where he appoints all board members.

While waiting for the bus that takes you to work Monday morning, you might be surprised when it zips right past you.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) is eliminating nearly 430 stops along 36 bus routes beginning Sunday as the first of several phases of bus stop consolidations.

Spokeswoman Heather Pharo said PAT is only eliminating stops that receive little to no use.

“When I say little to no use, most of these stops were actually used by zero people, and we monitored them in fall of 2012,” Pharo said.

Control of Allegheny County’s Port Authority (PAT) board could be at risk as a bill moves through the state Senate.

Legislation in the Pennsylvania Senate would diminish the power of the county executive when it comes to PAT.

The bill, put forth by Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), would allow state officials to appoint five board members to the transportation agency, compared to all nine members being appointed by the county executive.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

The Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway in Pittsburgh has been designated as only one of five in the nation that meet Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) standards. It has been awarded the Bronze Standard by the Institute for Transportation Development Policy out of basic BRT, bronze, silver or gold designations.

Pages