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Audit details PAT's problems


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Apparently labor costs (among other things) are hurting the Port Authority pretty hard, according to a recent audit. PAT's union wages are the highest in the country when adjusted for cost of living.

I for one am sick and tired of the mess that public transit costs and funding have become in this state. They are talking about raising fares yet again. And these ridiculous wages are locked in by a contract that will last until 2008.

Meanwhile the state is talking about raising a bunch of taxes, including gasoline, to help fund transit. What a disaster. This is infuriating, and I feel utterly powerless.

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Oh my.... what's going on here? Here is my critique.

Everyone in Pittsburgh has relatively high wages when you factor in cost of living. The compensation for a PAT driver should still be competitive against something like commercial truck driver...

And despite their dire assesment, they didn't mention that PAT nevertheless provides some of the best levels of service in the country and has relatively low fares. Philadelphia fares are higher, their service is worse, and their workers are paid less than they deserve. The majority of SEPTA board members are from "integrated" suburban counties that don't rely on mass transit and couldn't care less about it. But that's the type of standard of excellence that PAT is being held to all of a sudden.

And as far as load/schedual tracking in a database, that would require one of those dreaded capital investments that they accuse PAT management to be too focused on, and it has to be rolled smartly into the deployment of new technology. For example, it would be really expensive and wasteful to implement it now if in 5 years they plan to upgrade all their servers and retrofit their vehlicles with GPS.

This is coming from Harrisburg. I rest my case.

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