SGB encourages riders to speak up

By Lindsay Carroll

In response to labor negotiations between Port Authority of Allegheny County and the Amalgamated… In response to labor negotiations between Port Authority of Allegheny County and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 ‘mdash; and a talk of a possible Port Authority employee strike ‘mdash; Student Government Board member Ryan Very urged Pitt students to voice their transportation needs. ‘The exact extent of the strike, I don’t know, but it cannot be good for Pitt students,’ said Very. Very said he plans on working with contacts he has made in the community and with contacts from Oakland Community Council meetings to see what Pitt students can do to help move toward ‘a more peaceful resolution’ to settle the strike. Board member Amanda Reed said she supported the employees’ efforts because she was concerned about them not being paid enough. ‘I’m all for Port Authority striking,’ said Reed. ‘The employees have got to live.’ The Pitt News reported on Monday that the Port Authority did not propose wage increases for 2009, while the union proposes a 4.5 percent wage increase, according to an independent fact finder’s report. ‘All Pitt students are paying to ride the buses. It’s not like you just show your card, and it’s free,’ said Very. ‘It would be very harmful to Pitt students because a lot of routes would be shut down, and a lot of students rely on bus routes to get to their classes and work.’ Pitt students pay $180 for a ‘security, safety and transportation’ fee, according to Pitt’s Web site. Very said that he met with Port Authority representatives through a program called ‘Tell Us Where To Go,’ a part of the Transit Development Program. The public can board a bus, which serves as a mobile meeting room and travels to various communities. Community members can then board and meet to voice their transportation concerns. Very said he learned that the best way students can voice concerns is by responding to a survey on the Transit Development Plan Web site, which students can access from the SGB home page, at’ Some questions on the survey include ranking which transit services are most important, suggestions for new service locations and room for additional comment. SGB Notes A student at the meeting asked where he could find nutrition information from Sodexho. Board member Lacee Ecker said that the information could be found on the ‘Balance, Mind, Body, and Soul’ program Web site at’ ‘You just have to know the name of what you’re eating,’ said Ecker. She said she stopped using the Web site after learning about the nutrition information, which surprised her in some cases. ‘It’s depressing,’ said Ecker.