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Politics & Government

County Controller Outlines Potential PAT Revenues

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said the county transit agency could be doing more to earn itself money.

Wagner said she thinks $10 million per year is a conservative estimate of the amount the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) is "leaving on the table."

After comparing PAT's revenues with similar transit agencies', the Controller's office released a report on Wednesday that calls on PAT to pursue more ways of making money. Wagner wants the Port Authority to allow more advertising and sponsorships; lease the use of PAT's busways for certain private companies; charge fees at Park & Ride lots and garages; and improve fare collection.

Wagner said the idea is to balance future PAT budgets without raising fares, "especially when you look most recently for us going from a $2.25 base fare to $2.50 on July 1st. You look at Philadelphia, the base fare is two dollars. Cleveland: $2.25. Boston's two dollars. Baltimore is actually at $1.60."

The Controller said she doesn't think charging a "nominal fee" for Park & Ride facilities would discourage customers.

"In the Philadelphia area, folks who park at [Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority] Park & Rides are charged a dollar a day," said Wagner. "I think that is very, very reasonable, and that would bring in two million dollars a year."

Wagner said PAT should lease out usage of its busways to a few select companies.

"Taxi companies that are taking people to the airport," Wagner offered. "I think that we could do this in a way with those sorts of providers, or FedEx and the delivery types of services, that would be limited enough to not interfere with PAT's operations, but still utilize this asset."

Additional Yearly Revenues Under Wagner's Plan:

  • $3.5 million from sponsorships, including selling the naming rights to stations, stops, and vehicles
  • $2.4 million from more advertising on vehicles, stations, schedules, website, mobile app, bus passes, tickets, and ConnectCards
  • $2 million from a one dollar per day fee at PAT Park & Ride lots and garages
  • $1 million from leases of the PAT East & West Busways to taxis, delivery services
  • $765,000 earned for every 1% improvement in fare collections