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

The 412

#TBT: Watch the ‘King’s’ Final Pittsburgh Concert

#TBT: Watch the ‘King’s’ Final Pittsburgh Concert

Elvis Presley rang in 1977 with a New Year’s Eve concert at the Civic Arena.
Pittsburgh-Area’s Chris Jamison Finishes Third in ‘The Voice'

Pittsburgh-Area’s Chris Jamison Finishes Third in ‘The Voice'

He may not have finished first, but the North Hills High School grad won legions of new fans.
The Right Stuff: CMU’s Lunar Robot Wins Google Prize

The Right Stuff: CMU’s Lunar Robot Wins Google Prize

The four-wheeled “Andy” is part of a Pittsburgh-led Moon mission.
Penguin Cam Online, Not a Hockey Player in Sight

Penguin Cam Online, Not a Hockey Player in Sight

The National Aviary on the North Side is giving Pittsburghers a rare glimpse of two baby penguins as they hatch.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from PittGirl:

The World-Famous Yinzer Gift Guide: 2014

The World-Famous Yinzer Gift Guide: 2014

You can't miss with a gift from PittGirl’s list of 13 'Burgh-related must-haves.
3 #GottaHave Items When Snow Falls in Pittsburgh

3 #GottaHave Items When Snow Falls in Pittsburgh

PittGirl solves the mystery of why most ‘Burghers absolutely, positively refuse to run out of these three essentials.
What's Wrong with Having 'America's Ugliest Accent'?

What's Wrong with Having 'America's Ugliest Accent'?

PittGirl points out why we 'Burghers shouldn't hide the fact that we won Gawker's competition.
The Pirates Lost, and Twitter Went to Hell in a French-Fry Basket

The Pirates Lost, and Twitter Went to Hell in a French-Fry Basket

PittGirl recaps what transpired in the local Twittersphere after last night's Wild Card game.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Everything That's Awesome About Pittsburgh Today
#TBT: Watch the ‘King’s’ Final Pittsburgh Concert

#TBT: Watch the ‘King’s’ Final Pittsburgh Concert

Elvis Presley rang in 1977 with a New Year’s Eve concert at the Civic Arena.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
The World-Famous Yinzer Gift Guide: 2014

The World-Famous Yinzer Gift Guide: 2014

You can't miss with a gift from PittGirl’s list of 13 'Burgh-related must-haves.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Broadening Pittsburgh's Meat Horizons

Broadening Pittsburgh's Meat Horizons

A partnership between a local couple and a local farmer has resulted in more pasture-raised lamb and pork being sold at the market.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
10 Best Lunch Spots That Won’t Bust Your Budget

10 Best Lunch Spots That Won’t Bust Your Budget

Come lunchtime, these Pittsburgh eateries serve food that's big on flavor and low on cost.

Comments


After Dark Hall of Fame: Eat'n Park

After Dark Hall of Fame: Eat'n Park

The inaugural inductee in the After Dark Hall of Fame has been an integral part of Pittsburgh nightlife for generations.

Comments


The Perfect Homemade Gift: Drunken Pirouettes

The Perfect Homemade Gift: Drunken Pirouettes

Julia Erickson, co-founder of Barre, shares the recipe for a homemade energy snack, fueled with a touch of Wigle’s organic rye whiskey.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Elf for Your Shelf

Elf for Your Shelf

Artist Ken Wagle draws on his Pennsylvania Dutch heritage to create unique carvings of the North Pole’s biggest elf — Santa.

Comments


This week's buzz from the PM editors
See a Traditional Holiday Show This Weekend

See a Traditional Holiday Show This Weekend

"A Musical Christmas Carol," "The Nutcracker" and "Highmark Holiday Pops" all perform in the Cultural District.

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