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Rally Calls For Increased Port Authority Bus Service

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A group of people who ride city buses held a rally in downtown Pittsburgh Friday morning. They want the Port Authority to increase the bus service in their neighborhoods. They took their concerns to the Port Authority board Friday morning.

The people who attended Friday's rally want increased bus service in three specific neighborhoods: Garfield, Penn Hills and the North Hills. They say cuts in service limit their ability to get to and from work and other places around town. For Charlotte Foster, the need is more reliable service for her father's caregivers.

"Three of them eventually had to quit or resign because the bus service was not adequate nor able to meet their needs to care for my dad and get home in a safe and timely manner," said Foster, as she joined other bus riders at a rally organized by the grassroots group Pittsburghers for Public Transit. They held signs asking for more routes in front of the T-station on Wood Street in downtown Pittsburgh.

Members of the group argue that they'd like bus routes that have been cut in recent years to be restored. In the North Hills, there is no public bus that runs directly to the CCAC North Campus or the Northland Public Library. And North Hills business owners say the lack of bus service makes it difficult for them to hire and retain employees who don't have their own transportation.

"People want to go shopping, and they can't carry them bags all the way up them hills. Shopping, taking children to the movies on weekends," says Stacey Chandler, who lives in Garfield.

Following the rally, the group walked to the Heinz Building to attend the Port Authority Board Meeting. Board spokesman Jim Ritchie says they are aware of the concerns, but funding is the issue.

"It is still limiting and we can't put back every route that used to be in our system," said Ritchie. "We're at a much smaller level today than we were in the past."

He added, "That doesn't mean those areas don't deserve service and we know that, we hear them, we want to put service there, but again, the funding we have in place today is limiting."

The Port Authority Board will review the requests for increased bus service and will make changes that align with their budget when it's approved next spring.

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