Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Changes?? Poppycock!

I don't want to belittle the concerns of people who have legitimate transit needs in Allegheny County, but I just don't like the point of today's article in the Post Gazette. I think the article focuses too much on a TINY minority of people that will be adversely affected by the changes that are coming about as part of the TDP.

Additionally, I flat out disagree with the comments of the people interviewed. They should do their homework before making broad public comments about service changes. Both people quoted in the paper have easy alternatives given the proposed changes (see the maps for the updated 51C/54C and alternatives for the 13B). The notion that the Port Authority will be driving (pun intended) people to their automobiles is misguided and just plain incorrect. If anything, the TDP will attract riders. Decreasing stops and focusing on rapid service has the potential to draw riders, not chase them away.

Although the article seems to lump fare increases in with the TDP, the fact is the two are separate. A fare change was meant to be part of the TDP, but not an increase. The TDP was well under way when the Port Authority announced that it was increasing fares to cover increasing legacy costs. In fact, you could argue that the TDP could help to minimize an increase that was going to happen anyway. The separation between the two is important and needs to be drawn lest people come to believe that fare increases were proposed as part of the TDP.

The problem, I believe, is the simple fact that the Port Authority is trying to change anything at all. Opinions such as those expressed in this article are the reason it's taken this long to get anything done in the first place. I've always held the opinion, despite the fact that Pittsburgh is incredibly innovative and has been throughout its proud history, it's people, for better or worse are very conservative and resistant to change.

You could argue that people will be affected by the TDP changes and will not have alternatives, but the people quoted in this article DO have alternatives and do not face significant changes. Again, the problem is that they face changes at all.

If you like the TDP and you use transit, get out and voice your opinion in favor of it. I personally don't want to see the plan derailed by the same old Pittsburgh attitude...

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