In which I talk about elephants as a viable means of transportation



A recent post of mine over at That's Church, this one about inevitable financial ruin of the Port Authority of Allegheny County, has created quite a bit of comment dialogue, Twitter feedback, and even emails to me personally about the situation.

Having read all of those comments and feedback and emails, I can say one thing for certain -- no one has any idea what the heck is really going on and how it can possibly be fixed.

Seriously.

I have had emails and tweets that say essentially, "The union wanted to make certain cutbacks, but the management rejected them."

I have had emails that said, "The management wanted to make certain cuts, but the union rejected them."

I've read passionate arguments that puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of the union for their demands and I've read equally passionate arguments that puts the blame on the management for their excessive spending.

There are those that blame the State government for not ponying up more money.

There are those that blame the County government for not ponying up the drink tax money.

There are those that look at the $530 million connector (which was originally supposed to cost $350 million) being built under the river and throw up in their mouths a little.

There are those, like me, that wonder if the Port Authority ever counted the change that was sitting around in those barrels in some warehouse somewhere or other. I mean, has PAT ever heard of CoinStar?! One barrel at a time, go get your money, PAT.

I've had comments applauding my opinion, which is that ULTIMATE blame must lie with the management, and I've had name-calling comments and comments claiming I'm using my audience irresponsibly when it comes to political matters.

Regardless, so many fingers pointing all over the darn place, we've started using our toes.

Maybe that's it?

Maybe there is actually a LOT of blame to spread around? Maybe the unions need to realize that they're aggressively negotiating their way out of having jobs? Maybe the bus drivers need to realize that they are bus drivers? Not that there's anything wrong with that. I mean, my child has claimed on many an occasion that he might like to be a bus driver when he grows up, but I hope he doesn't expect to earn six figures as a bus driver, as some of our Port Authority drivers are incredibly doing. Call me crazy, but I don't think a bus driver should be earning more than the Mayor, whose job is much more difficult and much more important.

Somewhere, Luke Ravenstahl just fell out of his chair. True story.

Part of running a business, any business, is managing your payroll costs. My husband is regularly obsessing over his payroll, managing overtime, ensuring his percentages are allowing him to remain afloat. It would appear that the Port Authority has done a miserable job of managing overtime pay and/or absenteeism. I have a hunch it's hard to fire a union employee for absenteeism. Is that the union's fault for asking for such rules or the management's fault for agreeing to them? Did the chicken come first or the egg?

Then you add legacy costs into the equation and you're sinking so fast the fishies are all, "Look at it go!"

End result? A flailing, failing, sinking public transportation system that will soon be unaffordable for the average rider to use.

There are many transportation systems in the country encountering similar problems; but there must be some that are getting it right. Can we learn from them?

I hope for the sake of Pittsburgh, that the unions, the management, and the government all take some blame from the big blame pot and rest it on their own shoulders, realizing that it is in everyone's best interest to fix this problem and fast, because when it comes to the point where public transportation is no longer affordable, something's gotta give.

And something's gotta give soon, or Burghers will all be riding elephants to work. Sure they're cheap, but they're slow as honey and I hear they've got a stink of an exhaust system.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from PittGirl:

The 'Burghy Mother's Day Gift Guide 2015

The 'Burghy Mother's Day Gift Guide 2015

Plan ahead with this list of 10 locally made must-haves for Mom.
PittGirl: Jury Still Out on Pittsburgh's Bike Lanes

PittGirl: Jury Still Out on Pittsburgh's Bike Lanes

For now, she suggests critics take the "Seinfeld" approach.
19 Ways Pittsburgh Earned the “Quirky” Label

19 Ways Pittsburgh Earned the “Quirky” Label

Stand proud, Pittsburgh: Our brand of quirky is a good thing — positive, uplifting, fun, colorful, imaginative.
Deer Debate: It's All about Priorities

Deer Debate: It's All about Priorities

PittGirl can't be convinced there is any solid math that proves an animal’s life is more important than a human one.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Two Pittsburgh Restaurants Closing; Kings Leaving the Family

Two Pittsburgh Restaurants Closing; Kings Leaving the Family

One of the eateries has been a staple in Bloomfield for more than a half-century.
Who's Carson? Why Does He Have His Own Street?

Who's Carson? Why Does He Have His Own Street?

Some of the names synonymous with Pittsburgh have surprising histories behind them.
Aviary Determined to Have Dwindling Condors Leave the Nest

Aviary Determined to Have Dwindling Condors Leave the Nest

The National aAviary is working to send ’Burgh-born birds back to their natural habitats to boost endangered populations.
Are You Missing Out? Why More People Love Life in Butler County

Are You Missing Out? Why More People Love Life in Butler County

Cranberry Township is crammed, but people still are flocking north.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Everything That's Awesome About Pittsburgh Today
Two Pittsburgh Restaurants Closing; Kings Leaving the Family

Two Pittsburgh Restaurants Closing; Kings Leaving the Family

One of the eateries has been a staple in Bloomfield for more than a half-century.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
The 'Burghy Mother's Day Gift Guide 2015

The 'Burghy Mother's Day Gift Guide 2015

Plan ahead with this list of 10 locally made must-haves for Mom.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Into the Wild: How to Be a Good Forager

Into the Wild: How to Be a Good Forager

Before picking and consuming foraged items, read up on the basic rules.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Locally Owned Clothing Stores That Sell Locally Made Wares

Best Locally Owned Clothing Stores That Sell Locally Made Wares

Independent boutiques and local designers abound in the 'Burgh. We bring you five of the best.

Comments


Bar Exam: How to Tell A Good Hotel Bar from a Bad One

Bar Exam: How to Tell A Good Hotel Bar from a Bad One

The recently renovated bar and restaurant inside the Sheraton Pittsburgh at Station Square is doing everything right.

Comments


Make This Now: Fudgy, Rich Chocolate Velvet Cake

Make This Now: Fudgy, Rich Chocolate Velvet Cake

Whip up this chocolate cake (with a secret ingredient!) to celebrate spring.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
#GottaHaveIt: Chic Wallets Made of Vintage Turkish Rugs

#GottaHaveIt: Chic Wallets Made of Vintage Turkish Rugs

Give your wardrobe a touch of international glam with an Artemis Design Co. wallet made from Turkish Kilim rugs.

Comments


This week's buzz from the PM editors
Phipps Premieres Its Tropical Forest Congo Exhibit

Phipps Premieres Its Tropical Forest Congo Exhibit

See colorful, rare specimens at this East End institution.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Sweet Tips for Extraordinary Desserts

Sweet Tips for Extraordinary Desserts

For the couple with a sweet tooth and eclectic taste, we bring you five tips to make your wedding-day dessert original and delicious.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Tour: Admire Downtown's Striking Architecture on May 1

Tour: Admire Downtown's Striking Architecture on May 1

Join the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation next Friday for an hourlong walk focused on downtown's most beautiful structures.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
It's Spring Carnival Time at CMU

It's Spring Carnival Time at CMU

Carnegie Mellon's popular event, running Thursday through Saturday, combines buggies, bots, booths and more.

Comments


Thinking outside the box (score)
Everyone Expects the Penguins to Lose. Perfect.

Everyone Expects the Penguins to Lose. Perfect.

Maybe this is exactly what the team needs –– to win.

Comments


Award-winning sports commentary by Sean Conboy
R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

Fire Bylsma? Fire Shero? The Penguins' problems run deeper.

Comments

Edit Module