In a repeat of this past weekend’s playoff game, the Port Authority (PAT) does not know if it will have enough drivers volunteer to operate shuttles for the championship game on Sunday. The transit union denies there was any orchestrated plan to cause the shortage of drivers, but noted "a lot of people would rather sit at home and watch the game than volunteer to work an extra shift."
True, and a lot of other people might like to make a living driving a bus or a shuttle without interference from the County’s one-stop-transit-shop. Just two years ago the transit union opposed a plan to permit Lenzner Coach Lines from operating a shuttle between Station Square, Downtown, and the North Side. The head of the union said that "a Lenzner shuttle would take jobs away from his union brethren and leave riders paying more than they would on a PAT bus".
Could there be a better case for removing PAT’s mass transit monopoly? PAT management cannot assign people to drive shuttles and must depend on volunteers. And no other company or regional bus agency can step up and offer service because they are not permitted to do so in Allegheny County. Efficient transit service is subject to the whims of the transit union. If they want to drive they will, if they don’t want someone else to drive, they will stop them.
What a disgrace that the unions have driven PAT into a financial and gross inefficiency ditch and are still holding the Authority up to ridicule.
Here’s an idea for the County Executive. Rather than trying to stand in the way of court ordered re-assessments, appoint some PAT board members who will take a harder line with the unions and then go to Harrisburg and ask for the legislative remedies the Allegheny Institute has been advocating for years. Eliminate the right of transit workers to strike, remove the PAT monopoly, and order the outsourcing of service.