Archive for October, 2009

PATransit Tuesday: Horrific “Customer Service”

Note: I’ve been sitting on this story for a week, hoping for resolution (hence no column last week).  And in the meantime, I’ve listened to a lot of Lewis Black, so I’m going to pay myself on the back for not swearing or wiggling my fingers.

Today, I have a story to tell, about hellacious public relations by PAT.  Normally they seem to be on the ball, but this is inexcusable, at least to me, at least for now.

About two weeks ago there were ‘unathorized’ flyers distributed on some of the buses.  My route happened to be one of them.  They weren’t copied well, when folded they didn’t match up, but I read it, and walked away with some concerns: mainly the same I’ve had all along.  I still don’t know if I’ll have service.  Here’s the run down:

  • It has been stated that service to Monroeville will terminate at the Mall park ‘n ride.
  • The map of the new P68 (or P67, can’t remember which at the moment) shows service going past Monroeville Mall, on one of the current routes
  • It is noted that there will be three route variations
  • Those variations are not listed anywhere
  • PAT has said it will keep service to all Park ‘n Ride lots and open new ones, as well as create transportation hubs

So, will there be service to my local Park ‘n Ride which is past Monroeville Mall?  The flyer said no.

I’m a little bit of a (read: a really big) dork, and while I don’t have a Twitter account, I read the Port Authority’s feed since it often has more information than their website.  There was a message on it saying that if you had questions, to contact them via Twitter.  Well, since I don’t have an account, I opted to instead use the form on the website to ask a question.

Here’s where things started to break down.  I sent in my question, using complete sentences and explaining my situtation, including the unathorized flyers, the twitter account, all of it.  I get a one line reply back the next day (to the best of my memory this is what it said, I can check it word for word when I have access to my e-mail tonight):

You need to send a letter to the TDP

That’s it.  No help.  Not even an offer to forward my question to the appropriate department, you know, like any reasonable customer service department would.  Nothing.  So I send an e-mail back asking for two things:

  1. An answer to my original question, will I still have service or was the brochure correct
  2. Some sort of explanation as to why I was not offered any kind of help whatsoever or even any kind of decency as a customer

It’s been a week.  I haven’t gotten a response yet.

G-20 coverage from Consumerist

A favorite site of mine, Consumerist, covers their beat during the G-20: quality and value of consumer prouducts.

It’s a stunning story because electronic devices rarely survive the fall from my hip pocket to the floor, let alone from a high-rise into a demonstration

Read the entire article here, even if it does take a jab at Pittsburgh.

Scenes from the Monroeville Mall

I love zombies.  Ask anyone.  However, my love mostly goes into books and the occasional movie and video game.  That being said, I think the  international zombie day is a wonderful thing, especially since it is a huge fund and food raiser for the Pittsburgh Food Bank.  Personally I have no desire to get dressed up, but more power to those that do.  The Zombie Olympics are going on right now in the parking lot outside of the old Boscov’s (and before that, Kauffman’s) end of the mall, and the record-setting zombie walk will take place at 6.

Coming to the mall on this day is always a treat, I laughed when I got cut-off by a family of four zombies in a pick-up truck, and once had to stop myself from complimenting someone on her make-up and costume: she wasn’t here for the walk.  Oops.

And, quite ironically, going on at the Monroeville Convention Center right across the road is a gun bash.  I hope they have shotguns.  Or even better, machetes.


Waiting, originally uploaded by Mike @

The line snakes down Bedford. Let’s go Pens!

PATransit Tuesdays: Bike Rack

I’m not a biker, I’m fairly uncoordinated, on occasion I have enough trouble walking.  However, I was intrigued to find out that the buses (and inclines and Ts at non-peak times) can accomidate bikes.

From reading the directions online, I was thoroughly confused, and convinced that it was even more complicated than cycling to work, but as it turned out, today for the first time, as I watched, a cyclist deftly pulled down the rack, hoisted up his bike, secured it and got on.  Easy as pie.  I’ve also seen the bike racks on a significant portion of buses, but from what I can gather, only a select routes are guaranteed to have the racks all the time.  But, I do have to admit, if you need a vehicle, what greener way is there than public transportation and bikes combined?

The Daily Show covers the G-20

In case you missed it, John Oliver of The Daily Show ran a segment yesterday about the protesters:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Tea Partiers Advise G20 Protesters
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Ron Paul Interview
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