The anti-hunger organization joins Pittsburghers for Public Transit, Mon Valley riders, stakeholders in speaking out against planned 61ABC bus route cuts, increased fares
|WHAT:||Press conference and rally, then testimony at Port Authority Board public meeting|
|WHEN:||Friday, Jan 26 – Rally at 8:45am then testimony at Port Authority board meeting at 9:30am|
|WHY:||To call on Port Authority and CEO Katherine Kelleman to revise their BRT plan to prevent harm to 61ABC bus route riders and Mon Valley communities.|
|WHO:||Pittsburghers for Public Transit and Just Harvest; riders of the 61ABC buses and Port Authority bus drivers; Mon Valley elected officials, CDCs, social service providers, business owners, disability rights advocates, and faith leaders; and many other concerned Allegheny County organizations and residents.|
|WHERE:||Rally at corner of Wood St and 6th Ave, downtown PGH, then PAAC board room, 345 6th Ave|
Pittsburgh, PA—As part of their current BRT proposal, Port Authority of Allegheny County has proposed changes to the 61ABC bus routes that could most impact struggling communities in the Mon Valley, whose residents have few other affordable transit options. Public transit is essential to their access to jobs, nutritious food, health care, education, family support networks and other critical needs.
The changes could also impact high proportions of people that Port Authority’s Civil Rights Title VI obligations and their own equity guidelines are meant to protect when they make service decisions, including families with no cars, low-income workers, seniors, and people with disabilities. Damaging changes to the 61ABC routes could include:
- REDUCED FREQUENCY: The number of 61ABC buses could be cut by almost half.
- NO DIRECT LINE DOWNTOWN: The 61ABC routes would end in Oakland and riders would need to transfer if they want to get to downtown Pittsburgh, the main hub of our public transit system.
- INCREASED COST: For downtown transfers, CONNECT card riders could face an extra $2 for each round trip. Cash riders could have to pay full fare for the transfer, an extra $5.50 per round trip. If riders need to transfer elsewhere when they get downtown, that means another full fare charge even for people who put cash on their CONNECT cards.
Transit riders on the 61ABC routes and many other concerned stakeholders have written their stories on postcards to the Port Authority to insist that that the City of Pittsburgh, the URA, Allegheny County, and the Port Authority not implement the Bus Rapid Transit plan at their expense.
Carl Lewis, owner of Carl’s Cafe located in a Mon Valley food desert, chose to join the Just Harvest Fresh Corners program so that his community could have better access to produce and other healthy food. He writes: “Many of the residents in my area depend on these buses, not only to patronize my place of business, but also to have access to vital services need on a daily basis, such as schools, doctors’ appointments, and daily transportation to jobs. Please reconsider these cuts.”
Debra Green wrote on her postcard: “I am a disabled 60 year old woman that’s had 2 spinal fusions and total hip replacements… So, please consider ALL and everyone of us. Thanks!”
We will share many other of these stories at the rally. We will then march to the Port Authority board meeting to present hundreds of postcards as well as live testimonies sharing the potential impacts of the proposed BRT plan on Mon Valley riders and communities.
Says Pittsburghers for Public Transit director Laura Weins, “We call on the Port Authority and their new CEO Katherine Kelleman to actually listen to all the communities they serve. They must revise their transit plan so that it benefits the entire county, rather than allocating resources to some at the expense of so many others.”
JUST HARVEST has been improving government’s response to hunger and poverty in Allegheny County since 1986, through a focus on public policy, safety net programs, and community food access.