North Hills transit service limits lamented
Priscilla Foster has 20 full-time positions open at the McDonald’s restaurant she owns in Wexford.
She’s having a hard time filling them because many applicants don’t have a car and cannot get bus service.
“I can’t even tell you how many people can’t get to work because they don’t have a ride,” she said.
Foster, who owns three other McDonald’s stores in the North Hills, is considering subsidizing transportation for her employees to help them get to work.
She was one of about 70 people, elected officials and business owners from several North Hills municipalities who met Thursday night in the West View Fireman’s Hall on Perry Highway to discuss the lack of bus service along the corridor. The group will meet again at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 in the fire hall.
Community leaders suggested ways to best organize to get transit service, and participants met in small groups to discuss ideas and develop lobbying strategies. Community College of Allegheny County North, Northland Public Library, North Hills School District, North Hills Community Outreach, Ross Township, Ross Business and Economic Development Group, and Pittsburghers for Public Transit hosted the meeting.
“We’re losing students; it’s distressing,” said Gretchen Mullin-Sawicki, president of CCAC North. “We’re the Community College of Allegheny County, and we can’t get a bus to our campus.”
The campus has specialty programs available only at that campus that many students are unable to get to, she said.
Students from North Hills High School lamented that college keeps getting more expensive, especially if students have to buy cars to get to school.
“It’s a great school. It’s a great college. There’s no transportation to get there,” said Cody Green, a senior at North Hills High who is thinking of attending CCAC North. He has no car and said that is making him think twice.
About 23 percent of graduating North Hills seniors go to CCAC North, according to the school district.
Port Authority of Allegheny County eliminated or reduced service on several bus routes.
In 2007, the 11C route along Perry Highway was axed, along with several express routes to Perrysville and Franklin Park. In 2011, Route 9 was cut, which was a combination of Routes 11C and 13C that was formed in 2009.
The Port Authority has said it has no plans to restore bus service and the soonest requests will be considered is in the spring of 2016. The Port Authority board meets Oct. 23 and will accept public comment.
Katelyn Ferral is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.