Port Authority Strikes

I lived in Portland, Oregon for most of last summer. I’ve been living in Austin, Texas for the past month and a half. Both of those cities are growing dramatically, offer a vibrant lifestyle for their inhabitants and have plenty of opportunities for employment. Both cities are also largely integrated in that parks, trails and trees are allowed to coexist with the concrete, steel and glass that make up a city.

Pittsburgh has the potential to be one of these cities. A place where youth flocks to for college and stays for opportunities and a great quality of living. I love the city of Pittsburgh and very much want to see it thrive and continue to move forward into the progressive, beautiful place to live that it can be.

But hearing these problems with the Port Authority I wonder, what is so drastically wrong that every six months we need to hear of another huge problem with our transit system? Service cuts then drinking taxes to improve a failing system, rate increases and now it can’t even keep it’s own workers happy. What should we do?

I have a simple proposition: if the Port Authority can’t operate as a successful business, boot them the hell out of town. They obviously have no clue how to run a store and therefore shouldn’t be trusted with the keys to one of our region’s most important, right?

And a short note to transit operators: watch out for your jobs. Unions have been on the decline ever since they went from representing the working man to resembling something more of a fat old sloth sitting around getting paid for a 15 minute break every 30 minutes. Many a union worker has been replaced due to outsourcing and though it would be hard to send our busdriving jobs overseas, you’re not irreplaceable.

Until Pittsburgh, whether it be the city or the county or Port Authority themselves, manages to wrap their heads around the idea that we need more than a makeshift “that’ll do” transit system, that we need a solid, world class, top notch transit system like the cities listed above, we’ll only ever be another survivor of the rust belt, and never a great and growing city like we once were.

Pittsburgh often touts itself as one of the up and coming green-building economies. It’s pathetic that our transit system can’t help to reinforce that notion.

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