Third verse, same as the second, same as the first!

 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the new plan is scheduled to take effect on Sept. 2, and it calls for 45 routes to be cut out, including most express or “flyer” buses that serve suburbs. Weekday service would end at or about 10 p.m. on all but a handful of routes. There would be deeper cuts in weekend service, and Blue Line trolleys would not run at all on weekends.

The Port Authority said 100 municipalities or neighborhoods won’t have any bus service at all under the new plan, including Braddock Hills, East Hills, Elizabeth, Forest Hills, Holiday Park, Manchester, Moon, North Versailles, Trafford, Turtle Creek, Verona and Wilmerding.

There are not enough sad trombones on the planet, Internet.

An estimated 500 to 600 jobs could be eliminated, with most of that achieved through layoffs, authority CEO Steve Bland said.

“If we have to go through with these reductions, my feeling is it’s the beginning of the end of public transit as a significant carrier in the region,” he said.

“It’s absolutely not a scare tactic,” he said of the proposal being unveiled today. “The folks who use the routes we eliminated in March know how real it is. It’s as serious as a heart attack.”

I don’t want to get into a fight about unions and whatnot, but:

The costs generally are less than the cost of new full-time employees who receive, on average, $70,000 to $85,000 a year in base pay and benefits, officials said.

$70,000 to $85,000 in base pay and benefits to drive a bus.  That is so, so, so messed up.

It looks like my joke about sewing giant magnets into all of our clothes and hopping onto the sides of trucks and buses wasn’t such a jokey joke, after all!

I’m going to go buy stock in all the magnet companies now.

And the bike companies.

And Segways.

AND CANOES!

 





42 Comments

  1. Cassie
    January 18, 2012 12:38 pm

    As a LPN for UPMC, I started out at 12.75 an hour (6 years ago, mind you.) TO SAVE LIVES.

    Now I’m kissing 16 an hour. Again, to save lives. I’m not bitter.

    There’s a lot of truth to the statement, “I’m not in it for the money.”

    Thank god I love my job.



  2. Matt
    January 18, 2012 1:47 pm

    I lost all sympathy for Port Authority when it was reported a while back that there are BUS DRIVERS receiving a 6 figure income! Why cut salaries when you can cut bus routes?



  3. PA Girl in VA
    January 18, 2012 1:47 pm

    But your NOT investing in kayaks, Ginny??? :)



  4. Scott
    January 18, 2012 1:48 pm

    So it appears that nearly all of the cuts are in the East End, predominantly in the Woodland Hills School District….this is a whole different discussion, but as a Forest Hills native, I can tell you that the entire East Hills has been dying a slow and certain death ever since the Woodland Hills merger occurred in 1983.

    Epic FAIL.



  5. Monty
    January 18, 2012 2:10 pm

    @ Scott — I’m a Forrest Hills native from back then as well. I was a Hawthorne Hawk. You can’t deny that the merger improved the high school football situation there!



  6. Scott
    January 18, 2012 2:21 pm

    Monty,

    I grew up on Hawthorne Road in the Edgewood Acres neighborhood.

    Regarding football, that’s a sad tradeoff for the tens of millions of dollars in lost real estate value and a school district that consistently ranks in the bottom 2% of test scores statewide. Woodland Hills SD is a complete disaster…killed that whole end of town.



  7. Jake
    January 18, 2012 2:22 pm

    And what has happened to the Onorato drink tax income that was so far above the funding figures needed that they cut it back to 7%? I know I’ve done my part funding the port authority through beer if not actually using their crappy service (I bike).



  8. karyn
    January 18, 2012 2:53 pm

    How about the guy with 2000the hours of overtime!? Thats nearly 5.5 hiurs every single day in a 365 day year or 7.6 if he had two off a year. So paying one extra person 2000 hours a year costs less than paying that guy time and a half for 2000 hours? WTF!? That makes me so angry! Busdrivers! Making twice what i make and im an accountant (low on the totem pole-but still!!). Apparently i picked the wrong job.



  9. Monty
    January 18, 2012 3:06 pm

    Scott — I don’t disagree. I remember playing little league for Edgewood Acres probably right across the street from your house in the last 70’s/early 80’s (I’m told they’ve since leveled the elementary school).



  10. Scott
    January 18, 2012 3:14 pm

    Monty,

    I lived directly across from the school and played in the same league during that time. I’m sure we know each other.

    Yes, the school was demolished in the late 80s to slap in some crappy tract homes. I have a brick from the main school house as a keepsake.



  11. Monty
    January 18, 2012 3:40 pm

    Small world — we probably do. I moved to the South Hills in 5th grade a year or two after the merger. It’s a bummer knowing that all those early memories got torn down. I’d like to buy that brick.



  12. Old North Sider
    January 18, 2012 4:18 pm

    @ Jake the Onoroto drink tax goes to fund the required local match for the Port Authority to draw down state and federal transit dollars. These monies used to come from Allegheny County’s general fund, but Onoroto said the county couldn’t affort to take money from the general fund to pay the local match. The state legislature gave him the drink tax as an option.

    I am all for the living wage for a bus driver. However, I am not for sweet pension deals and work rules that trigger overtime for workers working split shifts. I am beginning to think bankruptcy might be the be the only choice to get an affordable transit system.



  13. jdp
    January 18, 2012 4:28 pm

    I’m a seriously underpaid HR person.

    I’m totally fine with a bus driver making that much.

    Would I want to do it? Nope. Probably not even for that $.

    Would I want to have to try maneuvering in traffic? Ice? Nope.

    Would I want a job where I HAD to belong to the union? nowayJose.

    That’s base pay AND benefits. Benefits cost $. If you don’t want the government to give care to everyone they have to get if from somewhere.

    As a bus rider – would I want some minimum wage, disgruntled person driving me around? falling asleep because they had to work another job? Again, no.

    I just wonder – if these drivers aren’t worried about their union unioning them right out of jobs why aren’t they fixing that?



  14. Chrissy
    January 18, 2012 4:34 pm

    Just thinking about all of those extra cars getting on the parkway every day is making freak out. The east is already the worst part of town to commute from. This is going to be a giant mess.



  15. Chrissy
    January 18, 2012 4:35 pm

    *making ME freak out.



  16. unsatisfied
    January 18, 2012 4:43 pm

    not one of the 57 reasons to live in pittsburgh, this.



  17. Paul
    January 18, 2012 4:50 pm

    +1 to jdp.



  18. Brianne
    January 18, 2012 7:39 pm

    80k a year? Wow. At least now I know that despite their driving the bus drivers probably don’t have a death wish.



  19. oh please
    January 18, 2012 8:16 pm

    The base pay for a bus driver working no overtime is 54,000.



  20. bill
    January 18, 2012 9:48 pm

    Why don’t bus drivers deserve a decent income? Unless you’d do it for less, I don’t get the criticism. It’s an unpleasant job that nearly guarantees you’ll have back injuries by the time you retire.

    I believe that everyone deserves a living. Clearly something needs to change, but of all the places to cut, you pick PAT’s lowest-paid employees?



  21. oddmanout
    January 19, 2012 1:23 am

    There is no way Corbett will bail this out…..PAT will fail and go into bankruptcy. There is no way the legacy cost can be reconciled with ANY type of funding now……its the steel mills all over again….and like the steel mills both sides, Union AND management, are to blame…



  22. bucdaddy
    January 19, 2012 1:31 am

    Amazing. You people are soooo fucked.

    Eventually PAT will consist entirely of one bus making a circuit of Wood Street every five minutes, being driven by a guy making $20 million a year.

    Occupy Mellon Square? Fuck that. Occupy PAT. Occupy the county offices. Quit tilting at windmills and occupy someplace where you can really make a difference, or admit defeat.

    Never more relevant than right now:

    “I’m a human being, goddammit. My life has value!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90ELleCQvew



  23. Tony
    January 19, 2012 5:16 am

    Well at least we get a swank, $500 million tunnel under the Allegheny River that will never get used now because of the service cuts and layoffs which mean there will be no one to man the trolleys.



  24. john
    January 19, 2012 7:36 am

    A great time to consider buying or renting along the T line…come on Beechview!! Arlington !!!! Mt Washington neighborhoods…do something to attract people to buy rent and shop in your areas along the T route which wont ever get cut. These neighborhood development groups are missing the boat.



  25. Dan (Not Onorato)
    January 19, 2012 8:38 am

    Sorry but this song and dance is getting old. Let them fail and privatize it.

    Im tired of listening to them whine because they have no money, make cuts and basically screw over people. If they were stupid enough to let the spending get out of hand then let them fail.



  26. spoon
    January 19, 2012 8:39 am

    I thought the Port Authority was going to provide gold plated T cars and silver lines for them to travel to the casino. Man what a rip. Why’d I ever move south.



  27. Julie
    January 19, 2012 8:46 am

    Although I don’t begrudge the bus drivers their salaries, my friend’s husband is a driver, and told me of a story where he was called in “just in case” and sat in a garage lounge for 6-7 hours watching TV just in case he was needed and got paid time and a half to do it. That’s right around the neighborhood of $35 an hour to watch reruns of Girls Gone Wild informercials for 7 hours. Part of the biggest problem PAT has is scheduling their drivers. That’s how they all get so much overtime.



  28. Amanda
    January 19, 2012 10:48 am

    @ bucdaddy. I love the video! We all need to start screaming, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”



  29. Julia
    January 19, 2012 11:34 am

    I agree with Dan ((Not Onorato). Both sides – the management and the union – have done a terrific job of running the city’s public transit into the ground. Let them fail, and something better will inevitably take its place.



  30. DanW
    January 19, 2012 11:37 am

    Another +1 to jdp

    I don’t have a problem with bus driver salaries. I don’t really care what anyone, other than myself and my immediate family, makes. If/when I become dissatisfied with my own salary, I will work to change it or my job. That work will not involve complaining about someone else’s salary.

    I agree that PAT’s legacy costs need to be addressed and that bankruptcy should be explored. However, for them to declare bankruptcy, it must be approved by the state gov., which is currently fighting to prevent the city of Harrisburg from declaring bankruptcy. So I’m not too hopeful that PAT will be allowed to do this any time soon.

    Maybe if the governor would act on the recommedations of his own panel to fund transportation, then there could be money to maintain PennDOT, PAT, SEPTA, etc. Just a thought.



  31. Moxie Bestos
    January 19, 2012 11:56 am

    I agree with #13 jdp. Add to that list dealing with unruly passengers, passengers trying to skip fares, and someone having a baby on the 28X, and I wouldn’t want the job. I rode the bus faithfully for 7 years until I needed to be able to drive to get to day care in a hurry. I wouldn’t pick on drivers’ salaries first. I’d pick on management salaries, management structure, and scheduling inefficiencies.



  32. Butcher's Dog
    January 19, 2012 12:09 pm

    @Julia: “something better will inevitably take its place”. Um, probably not inevitable. Given the current state of “banish all regulations” mentality, any private transportation company will do the minimum to get by. I know people like to beat up unions (current governor in the front lines there), but be careful what you wish for. Unions are still the best protection from abuse that a worker has on the job, IMHO.



  33. Dan (Not Onorato)
    January 19, 2012 12:53 pm

    @ 33 B-dog…you are correct Unions are still the best protection especially if you are a certain ambulance driver in a major snowstorm and dont feel like walking in it to help out someone because “they aint no f*ckin taxi service”…but I digress.

    Although not as relevant as they used to be…unions arent the problem here…management is…they allowed the contracts to go through years ago that ended up getting PAT into this mess…they do the scheduling…they do the hiring



  34. rickh
    January 19, 2012 1:21 pm

    I’m not sure how much protection from abuse is needed for one of the highest paid transit unions in the country. It seems the taxpayers and ridership are the ones being abused, by management and union alike, with golden parachutes, excessive benefits and unaffordable legacy obligations the norm. As long as they can keep going to that government teat without accountability there is no reason for them to change a thing.



  35. Butcher's Dog
    January 19, 2012 3:14 pm

    @rickh: key word there is “union”. Remember we had a posting not all that long ago from an office worker entitled to two weeks of vacation that scheduled them far in advance so she could have her wedding and honeymoon, only to have thinly veiled threats of dismissal levied against her if she didn’t change as the date got closer. In any human and humane system, that’s flagrantly bullshit. Office workers and non-union people have not defense against it, though.

    I’m in Myrtle Beach right now and one of the big buzz items in the news is that the people who run unemployment here want to change how long it can be drawn without the out-of-work person being made to do volunteer work (for 16 hours a week as currently proposed) before benefits are paid. They also want to curb (drastically) the time the benefits can be paid if people were let go “for cause”. Sadly, one of those causes is “bad attitude”. Excuse me, but you’re telling me I can’t disagree with my supervisor or say anything bad about the boss because I might get fired (it’s a “right to work” state)and then not get any benefits? Sorry, but if that ever becomes the norm then the Civil War didn’t end slavery in this country. Not really. We just repackaged it to make it look more palatable.

    Golden parachutes and management idiocy are undoubtedly the cause of much of the problem we’re talking about, but I’m still on the side of the union as the protector of the worker.

    So says the 37-year, union (PSEA) teacher now in year six of retirement.



  36. Julie
    January 19, 2012 3:22 pm

    Myrtle Beach, eh? I say Butcher’s Dog = Lucky Dog!! ;)



  37. tokenintexas
    January 19, 2012 4:13 pm

    well crap, Pitt was on the top of my list for grad schools because it’s a fantastic city, has one of the best MPH/PhD programs in my field and i happen to have relatives here for support (food and emotional). the bonus was the transit system. guess it’s back to the drawing board for me, can’t move there if i can’t get to campus easily. dammit, stupid PAT



  38. Scott
    January 20, 2012 10:33 am

    None of the inner city routes that service Pitt will ever go away, token. You’ll have no trouble getting to Pitt from any neighborhood that students tend to live in.



  39. Jill
    January 20, 2012 10:42 am

    If benefits are typically a third of your pay, a $46K-56K salary doesn’t seem like all that much to me.

    I, personally, wouldn’t drive a bus for that salary.

    The overtime…well that is another story.



  40. bucdaddy
    January 20, 2012 11:44 am

    Time to start that rickshaw business I’ve been thinking about.

    I type “used rickshaw for sale” into Google and got 5,060 hits.



  41. Susan V
    January 23, 2012 10:26 pm

    I think I’m gonna buy a van, quit my job and start a jitney service.