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June 27, 2002

Port Authority expected to ask Pitt for 25% hike

Port Authority of Allegheny County is expected to ask Pitt to pay 25 percent more for its ride-for-free service for Pittsburgh campus employees and students.

According to Bob Grove, assistant director of media relations for the Port Authority, the transit company's finance committee yesterday recommended the increase, which goes before the full board for final approval tomorrow, June 28.

"The full board is expected to okay the increases recommended by the staff committee," Grove said. All fare increases will go into effect Sept. 1.

The 25 percent increase applies to all discounted fare programs, called pre-paid instruments, such as Pitt's, Grove said. "The base cash fare for zone 1 riders will go up to $1.75 from $1.60. But weekly and monthly passes and other pre-paid instruments will go up 25 percent if the board approves the recommendations.

"We are already preparing the communications that will go out to various groups, including Pitt, after the full board meets on Friday," he said.

For the year ending on July 31, 2002, Pitt is paying $2.28 million in exchange for unlimited county-wide free rides on Port Authority buses and light-rail vehicles for Pittsburgh campus valid I.D.-holders.

Port Authority figures indicate that ridership for Pitt customers averages about 450,000 riders per month.

During last year's contract negotiations, Pitt had agreed to pay $2.52 million per year — a 20 percent increase — beginning this Aug. 1 through July 31, 2006.

The 25 percent increase would be on top of the $2.52 million, Grove said. Under terms of the contract, the Port Authority can request a fee increase any time it raises fees across-the-board on discounted fare programs, he said.

According to Pitt's chief spokesperson Robert Hill, Pitt's fee is subsidized in part by the security, safety and transportation fee that Pittsburgh campus students pay. That fee was raised to $75 per term from $55 by the Pitt Board of Trustees at their June 20 meeting. (See story on page 5.) "The Port Authority has raised [fares] in the past," Hill said. "The University's fee structures take that into account." The balance comes from the auxiliary operations budget of the Office of Parking, Transportation and Services, he said.

Information on fare increases will be on the Port Authority web site ( following Friday's board meeting, Grove said.

–Peter Hart


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