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Letter to the Editor: Local Public Transportation Subpar

These letter writers ask: When your bus is consistently about 20 minutes late, how reliable is it?

Dear Editor,
 
I'm so frustrated with being late for work all the time. What do you do when the bus you take to get to work every single day is consistently over a half-hour late from only one bus driver?

People will say, "Why don't you just walk?" Well, what if you walk 4.2 miles to your job and you already have to do that every single night coming back home because no buses in your area run that late? Is that really the best option? It's bad enough to be on your feet for eight-nine hours a day, plus the walk back home.

I would like to think not.

Over the past several months, Washington City Transit has been becoming consistently late with its Metro route, which travels from Washington through Meadowlands, Canonsburg and Houston, to Downtown Pittsburgh. Also, there is the inner-city routes within Washington (called the Hopper). Linked below are the different routes.

http://www.washingtoncitytransit.com/Default.aspx#

Time after time, riders such as ourselves and many others, have complained not only to the transit coordinator but also to GG&C Bus Company inc., which provides the buses and drivers.

It's understandable for public transportation to be a few minutes late because of heavy traffic flow, holiday traffic, handicap or elderly passengers, or breakdowns, etc. However, when certain bus drivers are 20 minutes late almost every day and blame it on traffic flow every single time—something is up.

I am almost always late to work, which provides the money I need to be able to pay for my bills, and my (un)reliable transportation to get to work (not to single out the fact that NO buses run past 6:15 p.m., therefore, not providing public transportation late at night) doesn't help.

It is a smaller city, compared to, say, Port Authority buses in Pittsburgh, however, this transportation screws many people up for finding employment because they don't have reliable transportation back and forth.

When we have emailed and called Nancy Basile, who is the transit coordinator within Washington City Transit, she has been helpful and has shown genuine concern in regard to some safety concerns that have been previously addressed by current riders.

She seems to have a vision for where she wants to see Washington City Transit go. If you ask us, the failure is on the end of GG&C. It has shown a lack of cooperation and caring. As addressed on its website, Washington City Transit's mission is "To provide safe and reliable transit services to area residents and to promote area revitalization by enhancing transit services and by offering more transit-friendly options to the community."

When you call having to walk more than 4 miles to get back home, or, end up walking to work or walking home with what you had as a cart full of groceries now hanging over your shoulder because your bus never shows up on a weekly basis—that's not reliable.

We write as concerned residents who want to see positive change in the future of the transit system within the area.

Signed,

Tara Smith and Scott Stillwell

Roger December 17, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Quote: "... It's understandable for public transportation to be a few minutes late because of heavy traffic flow, holiday traffic, handicap or elderly passengers, or breakdowns, etc. However, when certain bus drivers are 20 minutes late almost every day and blame it on traffic flow every single time—something is up. ..." It is easy to blame a driver. However, somebody is making the schedules. Somebody has determined the travel times between stops to assemble a schedule. Do you know if the driver is leaving his port location 20 minutes late, or if the time is lost between initial departure, and arrival time at your stop? If the former, then the driver or dispatcher has a problem. If the second choice, then the schedule maker has a problem. I realize that in either case, you are waiting 20 minutes more than expected. Corrections should be made. Apparently, your efforts to date have not been effective. Maybe it is time to find the "top dog" and plead your case. Finding that person may be difficult. I wish you well in this situation. Despite all the rhetoric in the public arena regarding pollution, there is no public will to make changes to the pollution issue. It is easy to talk a good game, but never take any steps to change one's own ways. Better mass public transportation would make a real difference in pollution from vehicles. Few are willing to go there.
Tara Smith December 17, 2012 at 07:01 PM
I can say that, at least with the Metro line, in the past, I would get to the bus stop about 10 min early or w/e, normal time. There have been a few times where I would see the bus driver coming into Pittsburgh on time for his run. Then, when the bus driver would finally get to our stop to come back to our way. The bus was supposed to be there at 5:15pm, wouldn't show up til 5:45pm, almost 6pm sometimes.
scott Stilwell December 17, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Roger, as the article mentioned, we have spoken to the transit coordinator. She listens to our concerns and shows genuine concern. She contacts the contractor, who then essentially shifts the blame to everything from detours to "slow passengers". There have been no less than 5 other drivers that I am personally aware of that have driven this route, and they seem to be able to maintain adherence to the schedule. As stated in the article, sometimes there are delays due to things that are outside the control of the driver. However when it occurs day in and day out, it makes you wonder what's wrong. As I'm sure you're aware, employers expect you to be punctual for your scheduled time, and if you are late too many times, it may lead to a loss of your job.
Tara Smith December 17, 2012 at 07:22 PM
When a letter that got sent to the city mayors' office got sent to the transit coordinator, she investigated it with gg&c. Nothing envouraging came of it.
Tara Smith December 17, 2012 at 07:24 PM
encouraging* I apologize as my phone decided to freeze up when i was typing.
Insider Eyes December 18, 2012 at 04:03 AM
What have Tim Solobay and Brandon Neuman done for transit in Washington? Not a single thing. Solobay will only help fund toll roads and fire trucks and Neuman will be for everything but does nothing. Time to ship them out (along with Daley and White) in 2014 for some fiscally conservative leadership.

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