As I noted elsewhere, the Port Authority has a great report on its website detailing the good, the bad, and the ugly of the transit system. That kind of realistic self-assessment is a welcome break from past practice. Also welcome is the Port Authority’s fledgling attempts to bring more transparency to what information it routinely provides to the public.

Want to see Port Authority CEO Steve Bland’s original contract as well as the givebacks and concessions he made after he got here and saw firsthand the state of the agency? It’s there. Want to see the presentations and data that the Port Authority board received when discussing the labor contract and the new FY2009 budget. They are there, too.

So, bravo for the transparency. But the Port Authority can, and should, do so much more.

Want to see details of the new budget that kicked in on July 1? Not there yet. And C “Not Sid” B reasonably asks why the Port Authority can’t post monthly ridership, revenue, and expense figures in near-real time so the taxpaying public can see for itself how things are going.  Monthly ridership summaries are available on the site if you know where to look (in the press release section) but there’s no reason for not posting complete monthly ridership reports along with the historical data that makes these kinds of comparisons possible.

Communication with the public (aka owners) shouldn’t be viewed as an add-on to the “real work” of running the Port Authority. It’s just as critical as making sure the buses run on time.

Posted by: Ken Zapinski

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