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September 27, 2012

Port Authority, Pitt still talking

port authority busAs negotiations on a new ridership agreement between the University and the Port Authority of Allegheny County continue, another extension of the prior agreement is anticipated.

Pitt’s five-year deal with the Port Authority ended July 31, but Pittsburgh campus ID holders have continued to ride Port Authority vehicles under month-long extensions agreed to in August and September. The current extension expires Sept. 30.

Neither side is talking about the negotiations in detail.

Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie told the University Times, “We anticipate extending the agreement again as the month ends,” adding that Pitt ID holders who ride transit will not be affected.

John Fedele, Pitt’s senior associate director of News, confirmed, “The University and the Port Authority are continuing negotiations, and in the event an agreement is not reached by the Oct. 1 deadline, we hope to be able to extend the current agreement while negotiations continue.”

Pitt’s fare-free ride program has been in place since 1997.

The University paid $6.8 million in fiscal year 2012 for Pittsburgh campus ID holders to ride free on Port Authority vehicles in Allegheny County. Pitt’s payments were based on ridership as recorded manually by Port Authority drivers.

The new smart card system was touted as a way to more accurately tally the number of valid Pitt rides, but no figures have been released for Pitt ridership under the smart card system.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 45 Issue 3

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