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“Free Rides”: An Action 16 Special Report, Tonight on Newswatch 16 at 6 PM

Most of us pay for our daily commute to work, but for some government workers, they ride to work on your dime.

Tonight, Action 16 investigates free rides for Federal employees in our area.  Some recipients are well-paid bosses making six-figure salaries.

This is an Action 16 Investigation, tonight on Newswatch 16 at 6 PM.

94 comments

    • evelyn c ohara-stine

      Arvin…everyone that knows the true story of why and how the program works and already knows how the story was done knows it was a sneaky way of sensationalizing what they conisdered news!!! Responsible journalism is best done by contacting all parties involved before doing a story.==not hiding behind utility poles counting cars. I happened to be in the area that day and saw the newstruck there and wondered what the heck they were up to outside the depot, and that day i thought i cant wait to see what this is all about. So apparently i wasnt the only one!!

  • Scared

    Liberial media won’t dare look into welfare abuse and fraud. Bohman might
    get Obama and Holder on his case

  • Dustin

    FREE RIDES

    It’s hard to fight the facts yes this is true that the government has what is called a Mass Transportation Program and the fact is I probably would not work for the Government if they didn’t . The fact that most government facilities are not centrally located in cities and some facilities for good reason especially military facilities. Most of the government workers that work at these facilities have special skills the average person graduating college does not. The fact that these facilities are not centrally located is defiantly a hindrance to the government employee that makes under $40,000 a year for his skill set and needs to support a family. The government has not given its employees a raise in 5 years and when they do it’s usually less than 1%. Moreover, cost of living raises are nonexistent. In addition, we were furloughed this year and quite a few employees lost their jobs in the past two years. I would like to point out that if the Mass transportation program did not exist most employees would seek other employment near their homes so we did not have to travel more than 50 miles one way to work. I know I would without a doubt. Furthermore, replacing those employees with skilled labor would be very difficult indeed, the training required takes years so losing the most valued employees is not an option especially since they are getting most skilled laborers at bargain basement prices. I agree take the mass transportation program away but you should take all government funded programs away also including welfare, foreign aid, grants, and financial aid away from kids. Lets save some money I don’t agree with these other programs and we should defiantly put a stop to them all. If we are going to pick on one specific government program then we should pick on them all. Stop government waste all together in fact I think I will send a letter to my congressman to tell him I disagree with all the above mentioned programs and if he does not put an effort to stop the waste perhaps we would be better served by someone else!

  • TYADProud

    To all the people bashing the work force at Tobyhanna. Please take into consideration, the work force works closely with the brave men and women in uniform. We take pride in what we do and we work with people who put their lives on the line for this country. We often deploy with military personnel to areas of the world where people usually stay away from due to hostility and war. We support our troops and provide a level of support that you can’t even begin to imagine. So if you must sling your untrue facts and feel like you think we are getting more than we deserve then feel free to apply and see if you have what it takes to work here. WNEP shame on your for this frivolous article that does nothing but sling mud and create controversy where there is none. This is a poor attempt by your news reporter to bring in numbers.

  • Mr.Staplehead

    Hey DumDum. Why dont you stand outside Sherman Hills and film them. Maybe you can catch a real criminal…

  • jim

    Don’t forget they got 1 percent increase after 4 years without one at all and their medical benefit expenses went up by 3 percent. OH wait!! That means they got a negative 2 percent cost of living just for this year alone…HUMMM!!! OH and by the way WNEP who pays for your employees to drive around all day finding news. I can be sure enough to say your company pays for that which is our tax payer’s dollars. I bet you spend more or comparable amount of tax payer’s money doing that then the employee at Tobyhanna driving up one way and back to a drop off point. And not all employess use the MASSTRANSIT Program. There are a lot of business that have company vehicles that we the tax payer pay for. Oh and by the way the Tobyhanna employees pay taxes!!!!!!
    More than the non working welfare recipients that can work but clam poverty.
    How about doing a story that focuses on the fraudulent people that are collecting tax payers dollars and eating shrimp, Lobster, Steaks ect. And driving better cars than most people that worked their whole life? Stand outside a low income housing authority and do your story there and record all the nice vehicles parked there day and night and the ones that come and go. I am not talking about the people that are on unemployment because they paid their taxes that why they qualify for unemployment. THEY WORK!!!
    How about focus on job loss and opportunities! How to get people back on work and people that don’t belong on the Welfare system off it!! That is a story worth watching!

    • Sickened

      You should be ashamed! A majority of the employees working at said
      installation are veterans, or people who work directly for the War Fighter.
      The same men and women who fight for your right to cower behind a light
      pole and investigate their so called “Free Ride”. Dave as an investigative
      reporter or professional for that matter, your reporting is an insult to
      this geographical area. These men and women deserve every penny they earn. Channel 16 I’ve been a religious viewer for 30 years. This is a total stab in the back to your viewing area. With your so called morning comedic
      weather forecast to your flamboyant Leckey Live, now this. I find myself watching WBRE more and more.

      Yours truly Sickened

  • D

    WAIT a minute…The people that ride the vans are taxpayers too! How do YOU know who’s “dime” is paying for their “ride?” I’m sure they pay their fair share of taxes along with the rest of the “WORKING Class” in this country. At least they’re “working”…..and contributing taxes toward that ride! You silly boy. Can’t you find something better to investigate?

  • derandin

    I want to point out that the Mass Transportation Benefit Program was started by Bill Clinton. It is used to reduce traffic on the roads and to reduce the carbon footprint of vehicle pollution. For every van in the program and on the road there would be 6 more cars on the road in its place if it were to go away. If you think commuting traffic is bad now imagine that. It also brings a TON of work to the local economies for the vehicle rental companies and the mechanics who service the van pool vehicles. Not to mention less wear and tear on the roads which are already in terrible condition.

  • TW

    As with any job, benefits are a consideration. This “free ride” is a government benefit for their employees. Many companies give benefits that aren’t conventional. All you have to do is meet the qualifications and get employed. Is the government hiring these days????

  • Joe Shmo

    Nothing is ever free , we all pay taxes an most of the vans do put in their monthly extra fees. also this is a federal benefit program , anyone who cries about the fact that its free is jealous an i dont blame them , however deal with it your ranting an raving wont do anything , Dave honestly get a real job an start doing some stories on more important issues as stated above , this is a pathetic attempt at tryin to hurt federal employees in the WG grade whom which actually do a part an make sure we send out qualtiy products to our warfighters just so everyone can have their freedom, which is something WAY more important that you should be reporting on but no. Dont think we didnt see you standing there a few weeks ago with your little camera filming all the workers pulling in. Get your facts straight an do a little more research before you look even dumber on public television.

  • civie

    This “investigative report” is equivalent to the work of a college freshman. I give it a “C-“. C’mon Channel 16, get you’re head back in the game.

  • Joe

    How many Americans, Immigrants receive social security benefits on Tax payer dollars and have not worked a day in their lives? What about all the tax loop holes for corporations, and millionaire’s and Billionaire’s who only pay 11% federal taxes compared to average worker of 25%, when the richest 1% holds 65% of the wealth in the USA. This is what a real News station should be looking into, lack of Jobs, only Temporary jobs with no benefits so corporations can make extra profits for their share holders and hell they are not creating any JOBS! Let’s fix a Major problem with unemployment, once you run out of benefits, you no longer count against the statistic of being unemployed.
    All please ban news watch 16, do not watch their news cast, it’s a joke, there staff consist of AA members, Pedophile cover ups, sounds like Penn State…

  • Me

    I seriously hope the voters of this country take stock at who they vote for. These people just keep taking and taking and taking. How the hell are we supposed the afford anything while taxes just keep going through the roof. I’m seriously considering moving to Canada. The USA has no freedom anymore. It’s all dictatorship under Obama. Do not vote for democrats. Or the Obama regime will last another 8 years. Thus ending life as we know it

  • Toby

    This program is full of abuse by many of the participants. Each is paid thousands of dollars a year to rent the vans even when they live just a few miles outside of the depot. Also, take notice of how many of these vans are being driven on weekend and weeknights for personal use. Don’t listen to the program justifiers about how they deserve this benefit when you don’t get paid to drive to work, just the rantings of the Tobyhanna Army Depot entitled employees. They make several thousand dollars more a year on average than the average individual in the area and when you refer to the overpaid bosses getting this benefit, you are correct. Tobyhanna is the senond largest user of the Mass Transportatioon Benefit Program (from the Dept of Transportation) only second to Washington DC.

    • Mike

      If everyone at Tobyhanna Army Depot had to drive to work, most would be bankrupt due to the ever increasing cost of living. All of the Federal Employees here have been stifled with no pay raise in the last 4 years, had to endure the loss of what amounts to an entire paycheck being lost due to the furloughs last year. The whole thing was to reduce the number of vehicles being driven to work as part of the Clean Air Act. At the height of the work a couple of years ago, there would not have been enough parking for the near 6000 employees we had. I am thankful for the program, I commute 46 miles one way, 5 days a week. I would have had to fork over almost an entire paycheck, just to pay for fuel costs alone for each month. WE BLUE COLLAR workers DO NOT make 6-Figure salaries.

      Get your facts straight before making comments.

      • Toby

        And Mike somehow you as a federal employee is special. The cost of living has increased for everyone and our (the people who pay your salary) pay has dropped on average of over $4500 in the past 5 years not to mention the constant risk of being layed off. Your pay at the depot averages $58,452 per the Tobyhanna web page compared to just about #35K in NEPA. I know the facts and the plain truth is you are just whining because the press has gotten wind of your entitlement and you now feel that it may be threatened. Oh by the way, I drive over 40 miles one way to work each day and don’t get paid to do it.

      • Toby

        Not my facts, Tobyhanna’s. Just go to the TYAD web page and look under Facts and Figures and it gives it to you.

  • Ben Dover

    Better for channel 16 to investigate where their employees go for their morning & afternoon “drinks”.

    • Eileen Dover

      Thank you my good brother Ben. It does appear that many 16 employees are half in the bag by noontime or shortly thereafter. Too many good watering holes too close to WNEP.

  • Kim

    The Mass Transportation Program was designed to cut down on traffic congestion, parking problems and air polution. It is an Army wide program which also encourages use of public transportation in larger cities such a Washington DC. Most participants also pay a fee out of their own pockets so the term “free ride” is innaccurate. Oh, and we also pay taxes so essentially we are funding our own program! As the saying goes… There is no such thing as a “free ride”!

  • C. Meyers

    The program was started by Bill Clinton to reduce traffic on the roadways and to reduce the carbon footprint of vehicle pollution. For every vanpool vehicle on the road, there would be 6 vehicles to replace it if the program were to go away. If you think commuting is bad now imagine that. It also brings in a TON of work to the local ecenomies for both the vehicle rental companies and the mechanics who service the vanpool vehicles. Not to mention less wear and tear on the state roads which are already in TERRIBLE condition!

  • WTF

    Is this a preview to an Action 16 Investigation- “people who get to stay home an not work on your dime”.

  • ADAM C

    How about you report on how most of us are payed 32% lower than the employees on the New York pay scale working in the same building? That would actually be something to report on though

    • Toby

      Only the wage grade are not paid the New York pay scale. General Schedule employees get their 32% adjustment for being in the New York Metropolitan Area. Just another benefit for working at Tobyhanna and they complain about it all the time. It is tough to have all that job security, absurd benefits, etc.

      • kleenex

        Well Toby poster it sounds like your whining about some poor life choices. I’m sure you have benifites at your job. Remember people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

  • Bill Dirt

    The place is full of financial wizards and rocket scientist. They are too busy to drive themselves to work. The use high speed train tubes buried in the old mine tunnels to get to work. Most of them are Jim Beam guys. I also hear Johnny Cash works there too.

  • Benny Hill

    This is news??? What is Dave think he is uncovering a big federal fraud and waste??? Its a small benefit provided for federal workers to help make less of an environmental impact. Just like the government gives to PPL to update and make there power generation plants and infrastructure more effiecient and less wastefull. But yet that is tax money going to private industry that still charges you the same amount. Just like the tax savings you get when you do energy saving upgrades in your home…that is tax payer money??? Where is the story here??? WNEP with soo many things going on this is all you can report on??? I would rather see Joe Snedecker do more Wham cam than this lousy reporting. How about Kurt Aarron test more items….Dave get a hair cut.

    • taxpayer

      You should have witnessed Dave filming his story from behind a light post outside of the gates 2 weeks ago. He was clearly hiding behind the post, as though he was not supposed to be there. He had a very small camera and attempted to be discrete but was not. The news should be much more concerned with the drug dealers and non-working class in this area, then the 4,000 employees working at Tobyhanna that put a lot of that money right back into the community. Do the story on the entire program, which is a Department of Transportation program and not on Tobyhanna and you would have had my support. Hey Dave, did you film the vans at the VA hospital????

  • Arvin

    Any threat to handouts will always be met with hostility. It’s one of the few times the recipients make an effort to accomplish something.

  • janet

    very well spoken, joe. plus throw in the fact that most government buildings do not have enough parking for full time staff members. we dont have designated parking spaces such as congress does, either!!! and how about the furloughs that have been happening the past year and the fact that most federals workers just recieved their first pay increase in about 5 years. do the complete research, before insulting a great program that has benefited many underpaid workers and has greatly reduced the amount of fuel consumed and pollution created!!!!
    get the facts straight!!!

  • bob

    Everyone in this area has a connection to someone who works at Toby. The Depot pumps more money into the local economy than most other employers. The program is on the federal level not the local anyway. Investigative reporter? Your a hack. Go back to Florida and stand in the way of a hurricane.

  • sandie

    i think its awful that you dont care about the workers who dont make alot of money and maybe you should realize that this is all about the Clean air act and i think that is what you should be concentrating on.

  • Joe

    This a DOD sponsored program, to help reduce traffic and fuel consumption? How many companies give out vehicles to employees, especially state employees, Why isn’t new watch 16 investigating congress when Kanjorski announced that Federal employees would finally receive fair pay during his last campaign years ago, we never received the fair pay as our General scheduled Employees.. How about Gambling laws that were to reduce property taxes, did that happen? what about the corruption in Lackawanna county Government, State Government and Federal Government, biggest waste of tax payers money is on Congress who only have a 135 day work schedule, and receive fully paid benefits, plus travel perks, Cars, daily expense accounts, etc…Best investigate the Scranton Chamber of Commerce for suppressing wages in the Area, they don’t want high paying Jobs because they would have to pay their employees more, let’s go after term limits for an ineffective congress, this investigation is a bunch of crap, go after the real corruption in Federal, and State governments. Average worker TYAD pay is $48,000 each employee pays up to $350.00 dollars a month for Family Health Coverage, another 30.00 a month for Dental and Vision that have yearly caps of $1200 for Dental and $250.00 for glasses for a family.

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