Transit Irony: The More You Rely on It, the More They Cut

Winslow, Samantha

Publisher:  Labor Notes
Date Written:  01/05/2014
Year Published:  2014  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20503

Winslow discusses the transit situation in Pittsburgh, where officials are implementing a series of budget cuts and fare hikes without improving service to the large number of riders who depend on the service.



On one side of town, tourists and young professionals head downtown on light rail: clean, air-conditioned, fast. If there's a problem with service, the city diverts buses to help.

On the other side of town, workers wait at bus stops. The buses that carry them to work come less and less frequently, thanks to service cuts. Drivers struggle to get through their routes in less time.

Both scenarios are part of a promising trend: transit ridership is at its highest since 1956, with 10.7 billion trips in 2013, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

This is despite widespread cuts to bus and rail service -- and rising fares. The 2008 economic crisis started the pinch, but federal and local officials have continued to squeeze.

Yet "young people are rejecting cars in record numbers; they are moving to urban America," Amalgamated Transit Union President Larry Hanley said at the recent Labor Notes Conference.

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