Mon Valley's WorkLink free bus service extended for one week

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WorkLink transit service in the Mon Valley, scheduled to close June 30 because of a lack of funding, has been extended through July 6.

Sponsors of the free service are hoping the Legislature will act on a transportation funding bill that provides a new revenue source before then.

Heritage Community Initiatives, which runs the Mon Valley buses, said it serves 3,000 people and provides 13,000 rides per month to residents of seven communities. It helps riders connect to mainline Port Authority bus routes, job sites, job training, child care and other job-related services.

The connector service had been funded by a federal program called Job Access and Reverse Commute. Congress abolished the program in the transportation authorization bill called MAP-21 that it passed and President Barack Obama signed into law last year.

Ridership on the Mon Valley connector buses has more than doubled since the Port Authority cut its own service by 15 percent in 2011. The buses serve East Pittsburgh, Turtle Creek, North Versailles, McKeesport, Port Vue, Glassport, Clairton and the Jefferson Regional Medical Center and CCAC South Campus.

Heritage said in a statement today that it had obtained emergency funding to postpone termination of the service. It did not identify the source. It urged citizens to call legislators and ask them to support Senate Bill 1, a transportation funding bill that authorizes additional funding for the service.

A separate but similar service that operates in the area of Robinson Town Centre will end on Saturday if there is no legislative action on transportation funding, said Lynn Manion, executive director of the Airport Corridor Transportation Association, which operates the service.

The 15-passenger shuttles provide 80,000 free rides a year to and from the Port Authority's 28X Airport Flyer stop at IKEA to work sites within a 1.5-mile radius. All of the riders are going to work or job training, and 70 percent are low-income.

mobilehome - breaking - Transportation - neigh_east - neigh_south

Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868. Visit The Roundabout, the Post-Gazette's transportation blog, at www.post-gazette.com/roundabout. Twitter: @pgtraffic. First Published June 25, 2013 12:00 AM


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