At the same time I'm reading of the proposed service cuts, Toronto transit blogger Steve Munro is talking about the lost days of their Always a car in sight streetcar service and how cutting too far ruins the value of the service. If staying late to work means you can't get home, and you have a car...
If you know me at all you know I believe good transit is important, and that I'm not one who would scream about spending to get it. I lamented before that Stockholm, a metropolitan area similar to this one in terms of size and population, has a system which has in this decade operated 24 hours though it was cut back to lay off around 2am not long after that, and where it's actually possible to use it to get almost anywhere every day even during the day or late in the evening. So, I'm not going to tell you not to talk to your legislator. You should. But you should also talk to Dan Onorato. Here are my thoughts on what to ask:
-As ridership has dropped, has the Port Authority trimmed its employment roster?
--If not, has use of overtime gone down?
--And if not, have wages also continued to grow at or above inflation? (I'm not suggesting pay cuts. Employees have the right to expect to be compensated such that they can support themselves and their families. But employing the same number of people at growing wages to move fewer people isn't reasonable)
-Have routes been shifted to go where people are living and working now? (Robinson/North Fayette, Warrendale/Cranberry, North Versailles...)
-Have redundant routes been restructured or removed? (Why do 41 series buses cover the same territory as the 42S and still come into town, instead of dropping at South Hills Junction, Fallowfield or Dormont Junction?)
-The state covers a fixed portion of the Authority's operating losses. Why has the county not made an effort to either fund its portion, or find a way to lower the loss to match what it can fund? Alternately, should the county consider a quarter to a half percent sales tax, a gasoline tax, or some other similar means of funding its portion of the loss?
By all means, also talk to your representatives at the state and national levels. I don't commute by bus, because my commute consists of a walk. But I don't want to be forced to drive everywhere and I don't think you should be either.