Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why bus service to 3 Pittsburgh malls should stop (Nov. 3, 2007)

Current mood: angry

If I had to reduce all my complaints over 17 years about Port Authority of Allegheny County to a single item, it would be this: PAAC does not speak up loudly and forcefully enough when to do so would serve the interests of its customers and itself. Instead it tones down its message, or times or words it in such a mannner as to leave less of an impression. This is done, I have come to believe, to appease politicians as well as business and labor leaders at all levels, and to avert the negative press that often follows taking a principled stand.

In the latest case, Simon Properties Group, owner of Ross Park Mall, Century III Mall, and South Hills Village, has ordered bus stops moved away from convenient mall entrances, to areas distant, dangerous and difficult to access. Would you park your car in the most distant space possible, even on the other side of the road circling the mall?

SPG did this because it does not want bus riders' business -- something about undesirables, lower-income, lower-class citizens. This fact has been independently corroborated (from a former inner-office employee), and as such it proclaims blatant race and class discrimination. The fact that it also endangers its rider clientele, especially the elderly, the disabled, and small children, appears to be lost on mall management. Who takes the heat for this? Port Authority, of course.

Two can play at this game, however. To drive this point home, Port Authority can and should terminate all service to these three malls unless and until curbside service can be guaranteed. While this would surely upset people, not the least of whom would be existing riders willing to tolerate the malls' stupidity, PAAC needs to make clear whose decision prompted the action, and whose would restore service.

The last I checked, riders' money is just as green as that of customers arriving in cars. Thus, if PAAC cannot deliver its clientele there safely and conveniently, it should not go there at all, and most importantly, not be afraid to say why.


bus15237 said...

This problem was never properly resolved. The stops were never put back. It took discussion at the CEO levels of both companies just to get the malls to listen to our objections at all.

bus15237 said...

My original comments from 2007:

Stuart Strickland
I was at an Allegheny County Transit Council meeting at Port Authority HQ yesterday and ran this past them. They were not receptive.

I also pointed out a potential liability issue, that being party to a bad decision can cause them to become party to a lawsuit if someone *does* get hurt or killed. They seem to think that because it's someone else's private property, and a designated bus stop, that they (Port Authority) are legally protected.

All it's going to take is for one kid to get loose from his/her parents while walking across Ross Park Mall's ring road and get mowed down. Sure they've put in speed bumps, but there's easily 150 feet between the speed bump and the ped Xing, when driving clockwise on the ring road, and cars can get up quite a bit of speed there, even if they do have to slow down for the second set of speed bumps.

Anyone care to volunteer their grandma, or their 7-year-old who's having a yank-loose-and-run temper tantrum, to be the first human sacrifice?