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:

Why You Need to Know These 4 Bold Pittsburgh Women

Why You Need to Know These 4 Bold Pittsburgh Women

PittGirl says these women "had Girl Power before the world knew what Girl Power meant."
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.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Pittsburgh Magazine Wins 7 Golden Quill Awards

Pittsburgh Magazine Wins 7 Golden Quill Awards

Sponsored by the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania, the contest recognizes excellence in magazine, newspaper, broadcast and online journalism.
Got Tickets? Pittsburgh's Best, Biggest Food Event Is Weeks Away

Got Tickets? Pittsburgh's Best, Biggest Food Event Is Weeks Away

Join us on June 8 at Heinz Field for the 26th annual Best Restaurants Party.
Bow Wow: Pittsburgh Gets Props for Dog Parks

Bow Wow: Pittsburgh Gets Props for Dog Parks

The city earned a No. 1 ranking for giving our four-legged friends plenty of room to roam.
Idlewild Park Opening with New Ride

Idlewild Park Opening with New Ride

The park begins its 138th season this weekend.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Everything That's Awesome About Pittsburgh Today
Pittsburgh Magazine Wins 7 Golden Quill Awards

Pittsburgh Magazine Wins 7 Golden Quill Awards

Sponsored by the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania, the contest recognizes excellence in magazine, newspaper, broadcast and online journalism.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
Why You Need to Know These 4 Bold Pittsburgh Women

Why You Need to Know These 4 Bold Pittsburgh Women

PittGirl says these women "had Girl Power before the world knew what Girl Power meant."

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pittsburgh Says Farewell to Penn Mac's 'Dearheart'

Pittsburgh Says Farewell to Penn Mac's 'Dearheart'

Pittsburgh's food community paid tribute to Carol Pascuzzi's contributions at the cheese counter where she dispensed invaluable advice.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
6 Great Pittsburgh-Area Places to Watch Outdoor Concerts

6 Great Pittsburgh-Area Places to Watch Outdoor Concerts

Get the rundown on who's playing at our favorite summer venues.

Comments


Bricolage's Sweeping 'SAINTS TOUR' Turns Braddock Into One Big Stage

Bricolage's Sweeping 'SAINTS TOUR' Turns Braddock Into One Big Stage

The innovative company's latest immersive theater project takes audiences on an uncanny journey through the small town.

Comments


Party Time: Kaya Celebrates 20 Years with Festival and Food

Party Time: Kaya Celebrates 20 Years with Festival and Food

The Strip District's Latin/Caribbean restaurant marks the occasion with several shindigs, including the ever-popular Kaya Fest.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Mack at You – The Perfectly Chic Summer Platform Sandal

Mack at You – The Perfectly Chic Summer Platform Sandal

Pittsburgh-based designer Emy Mack, who recently opened a boutique in Shadyside, has the shoe style you need for the warmer weather.

Comments


This week's buzz from the PM editors
PyroFest Will Kick off with a Bang

PyroFest Will Kick off with a Bang

This year's fireworks-focused festivities will take place in Slippery Rock, Pa., through Saturday.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Pittsburgh's 5 Most Popular Spots for Perfect Wedding Photos

Pittsburgh's 5 Most Popular Spots for Perfect Wedding Photos

So why do brides and grooms tend to flock to these spots?

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Head to the City for the Ultimate Flea Market

Head to the City for the Ultimate Flea Market

Neighborhood Flea returns for 2015, bringing with it an assortment of goods, workshops, food and more.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
New Science Lab to Debut This Summer in the Hill District

New Science Lab to Debut This Summer in the Hill District

The lab, a partnership between Duquesne University and Urban Innovation 21, will offer courses for a range of learners, including students in grades 3-12.

Comments


Thinking outside the box (score)
Pittsburgh's Best (and Worst) Sports Uniforms of All Time

Pittsburgh's Best (and Worst) Sports Uniforms of All Time

Sports teams are constantly reaching back into their history for throwback jerseys. But “retro” isn’t always a term of endearment when it comes to uniforms.

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