Another round of fare increases will be set for January 1, 2010. Fare increases seem like a common occurrence in Allegheny County, and the fact that there is another one was not all that surprising to me. I actually remained calm for the first few lines of the article.
Then I saw why the budget had increased significantly enough to warrant a fare hike despite the fact that the TDP is expected to be implemented (beginning in late 2009) to increase efficiency, and service while reducing waste.
It turns out that health costs are going up again and the PAAC will need $4 million to make up for the shortfall. Concessions were made by the ATU 85 during the last contract negotiations, and it was enough to stave off disaster but not enough to avert a fare increase. I can't help but be frustrated by this. I don't want to go on an anti-Union rant, as they negotiated to get what the got. Some of the blame lies on the shoulders of the Port Authority reps who, for years agreed to terms that helped to bring Pittsburgh some of the highest labor costs in the country among transit authorities.
Good stewardship not only means running with some degree of efficiency so as to not waste money; it also means having the foresight and planning ability to negotiate contracts that will not be destructive to your budget and ability to provide a public service.
Pittsburgh Street Lights Update
6 years ago