Sunday, January 7, 2007

PAT is out of touch with reality

Pittsburgh PA - The more I learn about the route cuts the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) is planning, the more convinced I am that they did not think the plan through. Actually, that doesn't surprise me when it comes to PAT.

There's an old saying that many PAT employees often cite: "There is the correct way and then there is PAT's way".

I have long believed that if PAT was in the funeral business, it would screw up a one car funeral procession. The lack of understanding the product they offer is key to why I think this way. They have a long track record of not understanding how transit needs to work to be successful. Sadly, it's not just PAT as most transit systems across the country are like this anymore but PAT holds the record for having a complete lack of understanding and it's even sadder to know that PAT once did understand this concept back in the 1970's.

In PAT's infinite lack of wisdom, they are axing many successful rush hour routes. One route, the 13K - Cranberry Express, is a rather successful route which is often standing room only. Why eliminate it? PAT can't give a valid answer to this question. PAT increased the costs to operate the route by shifting it from the Ross Division to the Harmar Division several years ago. The route runs within sight of Ross but one of the few management types at PAT that actually use the system didn't want to "slum it" on the city style buses so he had the route transferred to Harmer so he could ride on suburban buses.

A big part of the problem at PAT currently is that the management is completely out of touch with reality. They have literally elevated themselves to a superior status and refuse to consider ideas and suggestions that come from the peons known as its ridership. They dismiss ideas and suggestions without due consideration simply because they don't believe the public has any good ideas. PAT's management treats their drivers and mechanics much the same as they treat the general public, as a group of dumb people that wouldn't know a good idea if it came up and bit them.

This disassociation with reality that PAT's administration has is responsible for why the system is in the shape it's in now. Between 1997 and 2006, PAT's administration became completely out of touch and led to massive waste within the operation. The ridership now has to suffer because of a decade of pure waste and poor managerial decision making.

This whole plan to "save the system" is poorly thought out. They'll make a few token efforts to eliminate some waste in the system's internal administrative structure to help deflect some criticism but really won't do too much. They don't want to mess up the status quo of the administration. To do a complete overhaul of the administrative structure would disrupt the universe given the way the administration thinks.

This route cut plan needs scrapped and done properly. I have seen many route cut plans over the years from many transit systems and this one that PAT dreamed up is the worst one I have ever come across.

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