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Sewickley-Area Officials to Seek Back Up Plan to Proposed Port Authority Cuts

The possibility of using Beaver County Transit Authority services may not be an option.

hopes to find back up transit options for riders should an Allegheny County Port Authority proposal eliminate bus service to the Sewickley Valley. 

Flannery recently sent a letter to leaders in , and seeking to organize a meeting in April or May between the four municipalities to address potential service cuts, including the possibility of relying on the Beaver County Transit Authority.

“If it becomes evident that the Port Authority Bus Route 14 is terminated, it would be beneficial to all if a backup plan was in place. I believe we may have options with the Beaver County Transit Authority for service,” Flannery wrote.

But the BCTA system may not be a viable option either, according to Transit Authority officials.

Mary Jo Morandini, general manager, said extending the BCTA route from Ambridge into the Sewickley area would put a strain on services already struggling to stay afloat.

She said the Port Authority's Route 14 is larger in comparison to the BCTA’s entire bus run. Route 1 starts in Chippewa Township, Beaver County and extends to Pittsburgh, making about 100 stops throughout Beaver County, in between. Buses run on the hour and takes riders about an hour to reach their destinations.

Adding stops, she said, would be “unbearable” for current riders because it would extend their commutes to two hours. She said many of the buses are near capacity as ridership continues to grow. Over the last 10 years, she said BCTA’s ridership has essentially doubled. 

Other aspects to consider include added facilities, buses and labor costs. To add a new bus to the fleet takes two years, she said.  

Morandini said she would be more than happy to attend a meeting with local leaders to discuss the situation. 

An estimated 45,000  would be left stranded without public transportation services in Allegheny County should the Port Authority board 35 percent reduction in service, the largest in the Port Authority's 47-year history. 

Agency officials have acknowledged the cuts would be "devastating," but they maintain the action is necessary to offset in state aid that has comprised much of the authority's revenue as well as increased fuel and employee  costs.

Morandini said Gov. Tom Corbett hasn’t come forward with a plan to address the statewide transit funding shortages, and it doesn't appear that he will. The BCTA system isn’t in eminent danger like the Port Authority, however, she said, they're a heartbeat away.

"We’re not that far behind," she said. 

John Linko March 29, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Mr. Flannery should be commended for both his proactive approach to the issue and his desire to develop a collaborative relationship with neighboring municipalities. Perhaps with this kind of cooperation a private initiative involving a company like Lenzner could be worked out before the projected end of Port Authority service. Is this something that the whole Quaker Valley Council of Governments (COG), which extends to the North Boroughs, could also get involved in?
Larissa Dudkiewicz March 29, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I thought about Lenzner Coach Lines. They offered private runs to Cranberry and the North Hills during the last round of bus cuts, but it didn't work out because of low ridership. Maybe it will work out this time if even more people need transportation.

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