“Whose BRT? It’s not for me!”

61ABC bus rider holding "bus lines are lifelines" cardIf you’ve heard any of the recent news about the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County’s BRT plans, you know the truth is getting out, people are paying attention, and we are winning the fight to protect bus service in the Mon Valley!

Part of this success is fueled by a recent bombshell:

Our partner in this campaign, Pittsburghers for Public Transit, got the public record of the BRT funding application that the URA and the Port Authority submitted to the federal government. It makes very clear that the BRT is not the visionary advance to public transit and economic development that our leaders are claiming it is — and they know it.

The BRT grant application clearly states:

  1. The only “increased ridership” will come from forcing 61ABC and 71ACD riders to transfer to the BRT in Oakland, not by attracting or accommodating more riders.
  2. Any increased earnings to the system could only come from forcing those 61 and 71 bus riders to pay transfer fees and by reducing the frequency of those buses.

In other words, the proposed BRT plan will make the buses between Oakland, Highland Park, and Downtown faster and more reliable. But it purposefully makes these improvements at enormous cost to Mon Valley riders.

The BRT plan isn’t strategic investment or modern civic engineering. It is, and always has been, a shell game — moving dollars and riders around, not improving the system overall. The only winners here are the potential investors in the real estate corridor along which the BRT will run.

And that’s been clear to Mon Valley riders and stakeholders all along. The BRT was never meant to help those who need transit the most. It was never going to fulfill transit’s vital function of providing lifelines to work, school, childcare, food, healthcare and community.

Pearl Hughey at the Mar. 6 Allegheny County Council meetingFrom the Mar. 6 Post-Gazette article about the powerful County Council public meeting, where more than 25 supporters came out to express concerns about the 61ABC bus cuts that are part of the BRT plan:

“Pearl Hughey and her grandchildren recently watched a movie about Rosa Parks.

She told Allegheny County Council members Tuesday night that the youngsters asked her a lot of questions about what happened on that bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955.

‘The one thing I found myself explaining to them is that the way things that they saw in that movie were how things were then,’ Ms. Hughey said. ‘You can now get onto the bus, ride where you want, sit where you want. I ask you: Was I wrong or was I right?’”

Together, we’re making sure Pearl was right.

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