Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Pitt to Partner with Leon's Jitney Service

In the wake of Pitt's successful partnership with the Port Authority of Allegheny County, the University of Pittsburgh unveiled a new plan yesterday which will expand travel opportunities for students and employees. The current ridership agreement allows Pitt students and benefits-receiving employees to ride free anywhere in Allegheny County with a valid Pitt ID. The expanded plan keeps that agreement intact while offering an additional option. Starting in January 2002, any University of Pittsburgh staff and students will be able to take free rides anywhere within city limits with Leon's Jitney Service and Notary of Wylie Avenue.

“This is a great day for the university,” Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg declared. “We want to give students as many options as possible. I've understood many of our students are not familiar with bus routes, or may not live near a bus line, or they may not even feel like waiting outside. Now thanks to the help of Leon's Jitney Service and Notary, they won't have to.”

While the university's agreement with PAT costs over $1.9 million, the agreement with Leon's Jitney Service and Notary will cost Pitt an average of $50 a day, or close to $16,000 a year, which is comparable to the salary of an entry-level university employee. The university will also be responsible for the financial upkeep of Leon's fleet of cars.

“This is a great day for Leon,” Leon's Jitney Service and Notary owner Keith “Bebe” Rathmell declared. "All you need do is show Bebe your Pitt ID and Bebe will say, 'where you want to go?' Need your credit union? Bebe will take you there. Need some pop? Bebe will take you to get some. But just remember, just 'cause Bebe be taking you for free don't mean Bebe don't like tips. Bebe love tips. You riding with my brother Danny, don't worry about tipping him, but you ride with Bebe you best be tipping. 'Cause Bebe gives you great service, knows all the short cuts. I can get you from the Hill to Homestead in eight minutes. Or from Brighton Road to Frankstown Road, 13 minutes flat, no lie. But Bebe will take you anywhere in the city you want to go. Just show your identification, tell me where, and that's it. Oh yeah, tip too, don't forget the tip.”

Pitt students are reportedly enthusiastic about the new service, and some have already begun praising the convenience of jitneys.

“It's great,” Pitt sophomore Roger Haverson declared. “I plan on taking Leon's Jitney Service and Notary to class everyday. It'll save me that three minute walk from Tower C to the Cathedral. All I have to wait for is those patented three honks and I'll know my ride is here. I think it's a great addition to the university. I won't actually have to go up to the Hill District if I use the service, will I?”

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