Thursday, January 13, 2011

A rider’s story : From Glassport to RMU

These are fragments from the story of Matt and Michael - a young couple like many other couples hoping to build a new future together. Matt is a 24 year old gay, tech enthusiast living in Pittsburgh with his partner Michael who works for Robert Morris University.
Matt was generous enough to give us permission to publish a couple paragraphs from his last blog post and so we did. We selected the paragraphs that are most representative for their experience as bus riders (though we enjoyed reading the full story on his blog “The life of a small town boy in a big city” ) . You could also follow him on twitter @flamingblue8z

"It's 1-11-2011. Today, I feel like elaborating a bit on an issue/discussion that started on Twitter between @TransitGuru, @bus15237 and myself.
Port Authority has had a rough year, having a major 50+ million dollar deficit in funding for this fiscal year. In the fall they began threatening to cut 35% of their routes, which included the 55 (runs through Glassport, where I live), along with the 25 (which goes to Robert Morris University, where I briefly attended classes, and where my partner Michael has worked for 2 years now).

Enter 2010. I was registered as a student for spring semester at Robert Morris, and began classes. The snow storm snowed us in up at RMU, even, but Michael volunteered as the only one to work cashier that day, from 10am to 9pm in the cafeteria. He's devoted to his job, he LOVES his job. In March, my car suffered a horribly catastrophic death, the piston rod blew through the cylinder wall. We were officially screwed, confined to public transit. We began learning the routes, finding how long it would take, etc.I dropped out of classes mid-semester, as it was too expensive (at 2.00 for Zone 1, 2.75 for Zone 2) to afford the both of us going out to Robert Morris. Summer hit, and his hours were 11am-6pm. Perfect for taking the bus both out and back.
As the new school year approached, he wasn't as lucky. Back to the 4p-close shift, and the last bus out at the time was 9:00 or so. Finally, in September, the Port Authority changed routes, and the 25A became the 25, which only ran Mon-Fri until 7:30pm or so, and Saturdays only runs every 2 hours. Sundays, it would no longer run. Michael said he'd be okay, but I had to watch as he would go to work, then when he got off, walked nearly an hour to Sheetz on University Blvd., and waited out there until the G3's first inbound run at 5:03am. He'd be home around 7:30am every weekday morning. G3 doesn't run Saturdays, so he began either walking to Robinson, or Coraopolis, to catch a bus in either community. Sundays, he'd walk from Coraopolis to get to work, but was able to get a G3 on Monday morning after work."

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