Port Authority’s 2017 performance
Mass transit performance and financial data for 2017 has been released by the National Transit Database. The data for the Port Authority of Allegheny County show that, on all modes of transportation (bus, light rail, inclined plane and demand response) annual unlinked trips stood at 63.2 million. That was a slight decrease from 2016’s total of 63.8 million trips (0.9 percent).
Fare revenues, which transitioned from zone pricing to a single fare, fell from 2016’s total of $101.8 million to $99.8 million (1.9 percent).
On the expenditure side, total operating expenses were $400 million, up from $397 million in 2016 (0.7 percent). The largest component, salary/wages/benefits, stood at $301 million, up from $290 million in 2016. The authority’s largest union is in the middle of a four-year contract agreement.
An Institute Brief from May analyzed the bus operating expense per vehicle revenue hour in comparison with other systems (a 62 percent difference). In 2017 that figure fell for the Port Authority from $189.69 in 2016 to $187.02 (1.4 percent). The database shows that, year-over-year, bus operating expenses fell slightly, the annual vehicle revenue hours increased as did the number of buses operated in maximum service. Interestingly, even as the number of annual vehicle revenue hours increased the number of passengers fell slightly from the year earlier level. It is doubtful that even with this slight decrease that the gap between the authority and the peer group has closed at all.