Thursday, December 31, 2009

First Night and Fare Changes

Two big happenings are taking place tonight and tomorrow...

Tonight is New Year's Eve and that means the annual First Night celebrations will be going on in Downtown Pittsburgh. More than 40 bus routes will see detours and stop changes, and since many detours began at 10 a.m., you'll want to check your route even if you plan to skip First Night or leave work early today.
Click here for a full list of affected routes and stops.

We'll also be running two-car trains on the T tonight to accommodate riders going in and out of the city to celebrate First Night.

Tomorrow is New Year's Day, and the new year brings new fares for many Port Authority riders. Changes will go into effect for a number of fare options, including monthly passes, transfers and Zone 2 cash fares, to name a few. There's also a change in our zoning system, including the elimination of the Downtowner Zone and Zone 3.
For full details on fare changes, please click here, or click here to read our earlier blog post that outlines key dates to remember.

On behalf of Port Authority, we'd like to wish you all a safe, happy and healthy New Year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Change in Steelers Service for Dec. 20

Due to the change in kickoff time for Sunday's Steelers game, Port Authority has rescheduled its game day bus service.

The new schedule for special Steelers service is available on our Web site (link opens a PDF).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Meanwhile, on Twitter...

If you haven’t yet checked us out on Twitter, we encourage you to take a look. There you’ll find lots of useful information, including detour alerts, delay information and announcements about upcoming events. We’re tweeting at @PGHtransit.

Earlier this month, we began spotlighting a new Rider Rewards merchant each weekday. Rider Rewards is a program we started in December of 2002 to give our passholders a little something extra in appreciation for their patronage.

It’s simple – weekly, monthly and annual passholders can show a valid Port Authority transit pass at any participating local business and get discounts, freebies and other perks…anything from 10% off their order at a restaurant to 2-for-1 admission at a museum. There are Rider Rewards offers in place at hundreds of local businesses from all over Allegheny County and beyond.

Recently we’ve tweeted deals from places like Franktuary in Downtown Pittsburgh, Zipper Blues in Mt. Lebanon and the Mattress Factory on the North Side.

For full details on the Rider Rewards program and a list of participating businesses, visit our Web site. Rider Rewards brochures are also available on buses and at schedule racks.

Own a business and want to get involved? Call 412-566-5282.

Stay tuned because we'll be blogging more about Twitter in the near future...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Commemorative bus passes now available

Looking for a unique gift or stocking stuffer for sports fanatics and transit buffs? Port Authority is offering a limited number of commemorative bus passes that pay tribute to some of greatest moments in Pittsburgh sports history.

All sets include an official Port Authority pass holder and three passes commemorating the Pittsburgh Penguins 1991 Stanley Cup Championship, the Pittsburgh Penguins Back-to-Back Championships (1991 & 1992) and the Homestead Grays Negro League baseball team plus one randomly selected pass celebrating either the 1994 US Open golf tournament at Oakmont Country Club, the 1994 Major League Baseball All-Star Game played in Pittsburgh or the 1993 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Each never-before-used pass is in mint condition and features a unique design that changes or moves as the image is viewed from different angles.

Please note: These passes are memorabilia items and will not be accepted as valid transit passes on Port Authority vehicles.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Port Authority Hosting Toys for Tots Drive

Port Authority and Q92.9 FM, in cooperation with the United States Marine Corps, will team up once again to bring holiday cheer to underprivileged local kids with their annual Toys for Tots drive.

On Friday, Dec. 11, Port Authority will be collecting new, unwrapped toys and cash donations inside Steel Plaza T Station in Downtown Pittsburgh from 5:30-9 a.m. Anyone can participate -- you don't need to be a transit rider to brighten a child's holiday!

Q92.9 FM radio personalities John Cline and Kerri Griffith will broadcast The Q Morning Show live from the station’s mezzanine level and give away Q Holiday Gift Bags filled with goodies to the first 20 listeners to donate! The Fox Chapel Madrigal Singers will also provide live entertainment at 6 a.m.

Please join us to support this very worthy cause!

For more information on the USMC's Toys for Tots program, visit

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fare Changes: Dates to Remember

New fares will soon go into effect for certain Port Authority riders on the bus, T and Mon Incline. Here are some key dates to keep in mind:

December 4, 2009: Last day new customers can lock in the current rate for annual passes (that's $825 for Zone 1 and $990 for Zone 2), as well as the last day existing customers can extend their current annual pass by three months.

For example, if you started using your current annual pass on August 1, you can continue to use that pass through August 1, 2010 without having to pay extra – and if you renew by the December 4 deadline, you'll be able to lock in the current annual pass rate through September, October and November as well, meaning you won't have to pay the increased pass rate ($880 for Zone 1 and $1,155 for Zone 2) until December of 2010.

If you're not already a Zone 1 or Zone 2 annual pass customer but are thinking about becoming one, now is the time to do it. You’ll lock in current rates and enjoy an ongoing benefit of annual passes – one free month of transit!

Zone 3 annual pass customers will see a savings of $55 on their annual passes due to their absorption into Zone 2, so they should disregard the December 4 deadline.

December 18, 2009: Last day 10-trip ticket books will be sold at their current price – $15 for the Downtowner Zone, $26 for Zone 2 and $32.50 for Zone 3. Zone 1 will remain unchanged at $20.

December 21, 2009: New 10-trip ticket books go on sale – the Downtowner Zone will be absorbed into Zone 1 at $20, and Zone 2 will become $27.50, as will Zone 3, which is being eliminated and absorbed into Zone 2.

December 31, 2009: Last day to exchange full books of tickets for new ones at the Downtown Service Center. Customers will be required to pay the difference in price from current Downtowner and Zone 2 fares. Zone 1 riders do not have to exchange tickets as their fare will remain unchanged. Zone 3 riders will get more for their money when exchanging ticket books due to their absorption into Zone 2.

January 1, 2010: New fares go into effect for cash fares, monthly passes and T system surcharges.
For example, if you're paying cash for Zone 2, you'll now pay $2.75 instead of $2.60. Zone 3 riders will be absorbed into Zone 2, saving them 50 cents on cash fares. Zone 1's cash fare will remain at $2, but the Downtowner Zone will be eliminated and absorbed into Zone 1.

Zone 1 monthly passes will go from $75 to $80 and Zone 2 will go from $90 to $105. Current Zone 3 passholders will be absorbed into Zone 2, and will save $5 on their monthly passes.

T system surcharges are applied only to cash fares from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. for inbound trips and 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for outbound trips on weekdays only. Currently, the surcharge for the Downtowner Zone is 25 cents and the surcharge for Zones 1 and 2 is 50 cents. As of January 1, all surcharges will be 75 cents.

January 3, 2010: New rates applied to weekly passes beginning with January 3-9 weekly pass. Zone 1 weekly passes will remain unchanged in price at $20. Zone 2 passes will go from $24 to $27.50 and Zone 3's will be absorbed into Zone 2, lowering that pass rate from $30 to $27.50.

March 31, 2010: Last day that Downtowner and Zone 2 tickets at the current fare can be used in conjunction with a cash drop. Because Zone 1 tickets will remain unchanged in price, riders can continue to use those tickets indefinitely.

For more details on fare and route changes, visit our Web site.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Gateway T station closes tomorrow for construction

The Gateway T station in Downtown Pittsburgh will close until further notice tomorrow to allow Port Authority to build a new station near the intersection of Liberty and Stanwix.
The new station will serve the North Shore Connector, which is scheduled to be completed by 2012.

The Wood Street T station is the closest alternative for light-rail riders and is located about three blocks from the Gateway station. Riders should board at Wood Street on the following platforms:

  • 42C, 42S and 52: Board and discharge on the outbound platform.
  • 47L and 47S: Board and discharge on the inbound platform.
All rail cars will reverse direction at Wood Street Station, and riders on the last car will not be able to exit at low-level stops or stations without fare booth attendants. This pertains especially to riders who are accustomed to boarding the inbound cars at First Avenue or Steel Plaza in the afternoon and remaining seated as the cars loop and head outbound.
More details are available on our Web site.

Additionally, other Downtown T stations will be closing on certain upcoming weekends for construction work. The schedule is as follows:

  • Oct. 31/Nov. 1: Gateway, Wood Street and Steel Plaza stations will close. Bus shuttles will serve street-level stops outside Gateway, Wood Street and Steel Plaza to First Avenue station.
  • Nov. 7/8: Gateway, Wood Street and Steel Plaza will close. Bus shuttles will serve Wood Street and Steel Plaza to First Avenue.
  • Nov. 14/15: Gateway and Wood Street closed.
  • Nov. 21/22: Gateway and Wood Street closed.
  • Nov. 28/29: Gateway closed. All other Downtown stations will be open.

Also, riders may travel for free within Downtown at all times using buses following regular routes.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bingo with Batch to benefit the United Way

On Tuesday, November 3, Port Authority will host a Bingo fundraiser to benefit the United Way. Assisting us with this very worthy cause will be a very special guest...Steeler Charlie Batch!

Join us at St. Mary of Mercy Church at 202 Stanwix Street in Downtown Pittsburgh. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. Time permitting, Charlie will call the first game.

A donation of $7 gets you admission, five Bingo boards and the chance to win door prizes.

Additional boards will be available for purchase and we'll be holding 50/50 drawings and raffles for great giveways like casino trips and Steelers jerseys.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling Robbie Gouch at (412) 566-5227. A ticket and ID are required for entry, and you must be 18 or older to attend.

Refreshments will be available, but no alcoholic beverages or smoking will be permitted.

The United Way of Allegheny County assists hundreds of thousands of local people in need by supporting agencies that perform critical services, like helping struggling families with food, shelter and other basic needs, or providing educational outreach to at-risk youth. For more information, visit

Good luck and we'll see you there!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Port Authority approves route and fare changes

Port Authority's Board voted today to approve route and fare changes under the Transit Development Plan (TDP), an intiative that aims to provide improved levels of service to the vast majority of riders.

Details on the route changes are available on our Web site, including a PowerPoint overview of the project, a detailed look at route-by-route changes and information about tweaks we made to the plan in response to public comments and union input.

The $2 base fare in Zone 1 will not change, and we have scaled back our initial proposal for Zone 2 to $2.75 -- previous TDP documents had set the fare at $3. This change was made in response to numerous comments from Zone 2 riders during the recent public comment period. Further details on fare changes are also available online.

The fare change takes effect on January 1, 2010.

Route hanges will be implemented in phases, targeting one area at a time, with the first round of changes set to take effect in the spring of 2010. We'll be working to make riders and the public aware of changes well in advance of their implementation.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Route revisions to the Transit Development Plan

Tomorrow, Port Authority's Board will vote on the proposed final Transit Development Plan, the result of more than two years of planning and the consideration of thousands of comments received at open houses and hearings, via the Internet and through other means.

Based on feedback from the public as well as bus and T operators, Port Authority planners have modified the plan presented on August 28. Here are the key changes proposed:

1A New KensingtonRoute shortened slightly to operate between Tarentum Park and Ride lot and Downtown Pittsburgh (as at present) instead of between Brackenridge and Downtown Pittsburgh to allow for more regularly scheduled service.
13G Thompson Run ExpressService previously recommended for elimination. Due to very strong support among riders and the union, now recommended for continuation but with changes to improve performance:
  • Straighter alignment to make service faster and discontinue unproductive segments.
  • One additional trip in AM peak and one additional trip in PM peak to conform with new service standards.
13K Marshall Express
In response to public input, shifted PM span of service from 3:15 pm-6:45 pm to 2:45 pm-6:15 pm to better match peak commute patterns.

17B Avalon/Shadeland
Shifted alignment from Lucerne Avenue to Jacks Run Road in Bellevue to avoid unworkable section of Lucerne Avenue.
21B KenmawrStraightened outer loop to improve directness.

33X West Busway
Adjusted midday intervals to 30 minutes to better coordinate routes 100 and 33X to alleviate bus overcrowding along the West Busway.

41E Mount Washington
Added service to Sweetbriar Apartments due to strong public support and ability to do so while maintaining efficient service.

43E Mt. Washington Express
Realigned to operate via Arlington Avenue to make service faster. Realignment also restores off-peak service to Arlington Avenue in Allentown.

46D Curry
Weekend service previously recommended for elimination. Weekend service reinstated due to anticipated demand and in response to union feedback.

51B Spencer/51D Churchview
Service along Churchview Avenue now provided by Route 51D previously recommended for elimination. In response to public and union input, service along Churchview now recommended to be provided by Route 51B in order to maintain service to an area that would otherwise be unserved.

54C North Side-Oakland-South Side
Previous recommendation called for elimination of route segment beyond E. Carson and and S. 9th streets. Due to strong public support and union feedback, service maintained to South Hills Junction and Bon Air, but with changes to improve directness and productivity.

55M Century III
Service frequencies improved from every 60 minutes to every 50 minutes.

56E Greenfield
Service shifted from short section of Murray Avenue to Greenfield Avenue to avoid delays. In Oakland, service shifted from Halket Street to Craft Avenue at request of East Liberty operators committee to avoid delays.

60B Jenny Lind
Alignment shifted to parallel streets in some locations to operate on wider streets and provide for easier turns.

63 Edgewood
At request of East Liberty operators committee, alignment shifted to Edgewood Avenue instead of Lloyd Avenue and Westmoreland Avenue to avoid a difficult turn.

64A East Liberty-Homestead
Changed peak frequency from 15 to 30 minutes to better match anticipated demand.

68D Braddock Hills Express
Discontinuation of deviation to Braddock Hills Shopping Center previously recommended. In response to public and union feedback, AM peak outbound, PM peak inbound and all off-peak service recommended to serve Braddock Hills Shopping Center and maintain service for area seniors.

68G Swisshelm Park Express
Alignment through Swisshelm Park and via Edgewood Towne Center revised at request of East Liberty operators committee to avoid difficult turns.

74A Homewood-Squirrel Hill
Shortened Squirrel Hill terminal loop to operate via Shady Avenue, Forbes Avenue, Murray Avenue, and Wilkins Avenue rather than Forbes Avenue, Shady Avenue, Beacon Street, Murray Avenue to avoid traffic congestion and delays.

74B Highland Park
Route deviation into Pittsburgh Zoo eliminated to improve directness and because access to zoo is available from One Wild Place.

75 Ellsworth (New Route)
Revised headways slightly to reflect updated running time estimates. Weekday midday service intervals changed from 30 minutes to 25 minutes, and weekday evening (after PM peak) changed from 30 minutes to 40 minutes.

77B Penn Hills
In response to public input, extended outer end service to CCAC-Boyce to maintain service between Penn Hills and CCAC-Boyce and to provide opportunity for Port Authority and CCAC Boyce to develop U-Pass program partnership.

77F Morningside-Friendship
Revised Saturday and Sunday headways slightly to reflect updated running time estimates. Service had been proposed to run every 60 minutes both weekend days; will be changed to every 45 minutes on Saturdays and every 80 minutes on Sundays.

81A Oak Hill
Service frequencies reduced to 30 minutes all day due to reassessment of demand due to improvements to other routes. Route will still offer an increase over current service.

81C Webster
Service frequencies reduced to 30 minutes all day due to reassessment of demand due to improvements to other routes. Route will still offer an increase over current service.

100 West Busway-Downtown
Adjusted peak intervals from 15 to 10 minutes to better coordinate Route 100 and 33X schedules to alleviate bus overcrowding on the West Busway.

47S South Hills Village via Overbrook
In response to union feedback, adjusted weekend headways to South Hills Village so that service is scheduled to run every 20 minutes as opposed to every 45 minutes.

Details on all routes are available on our Web site.

The Board meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the 5th floor Board room at 345 Sixth Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh. It is open to the public.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bus detours now in effect for Liberty/Stanwix intersection closure

More than 20 Port Authority bus route detours are now in effect due to the closure of the Liberty/Stanwix intersection. The changes also involve the relocation of several commonly-used bus stops.

The detours will be in place for about 1 year as Port Authority constructs a new Gateway T station. The new station will serve the North Shore Connector T line when it opens.

Affected bus routes include:

  • AV, AVN, 3L, 3M, 93A
  • B, OV
  • CO
  • R
  • 18B, 18C
  • 26E, 28E, 28M, 31D, 31E, 33D, 33E
  • 71A, 71C, 71D
  • 81A, 81B, 81C, LP
  • 100, 28K, 28X, 33X
For turn-by-turn rerouting, maps and a list of stops in service, visit the Port Authority Web site. Stop guide flyers are currently available at schedule racks and on buses.
Also effective today, one lane of Penn Avenue will reopen through Stanwix Street. Another lane of Penn Avenue will reopen in spring 2010.
The Gateway T station also is scheduled to shut down Oct. 31. The Wood Street T station is the closest light-rail alternative and is located about three blocks from the Gateway station.
Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A letter from Port Authority CEO Stephen G. Bland

This morning, many riders may have received flyers detailing changes to their bus routes. These flyers were not authorized by Port Authority of Allegheny County, and we believe they were created and distributed by a handful of disgruntled drivers.

Unfortunately, these flyers contained errors and misinformation regarding proposed changes to Port Authority routes under the Transit Development Plan. This likely caused concern among riders who received a flyer.

Changes to routes were presented falsely and a full explanation of improvements and alternatives was not offered. And contrary to information contained within the flyers, the Port Authority won’t be implementing any changes to service until at least Spring 2010.

Port Authority plans to reach out directly to those communities affected by the misinformation, and we apologize for any confusion that might have been created.

Moreover, we encourage all riders and community members to visit the Port Authority’s Transit Development Plan Web site at for accurate and detailed information regarding proposed changes to the system – changes that will overall result in faster, more efficient transit and better choices for the vast majority of riders.

We are always happy to answer specific questions about proposed changes and we are committed to helping individual riders identify the most convenient routes to meet their needs. Port Authority is ready to listen and assist at (412) 442-2000 or (412) 231-7007 for TTY service.

Thank you for your continued support.

Stephen G. Bland
Chief Executive Officer
Port Authority of Allegheny County

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The TDP: How can you ensure no one is left without transit? And what’s next?

Some of the comments and questions received by Port Authority were from riders who were concerned that changes proposed under the Transit Development Plan (TDP) would leave them without alternatives to their current service.

Port Authority is committed to accessibility for all riders, and in most cases the proposed changes will result in improved or maintained service for about 99.5 percent of our riders. For the small remainder of riders – less than one-half of one percent – we are pledging to work with each individual to help identify appropriate transit solutions.

ACCESS might be the best option for riders who have difficulty walking to their bus stops. ACCESS provides advanced reservation, door-to-door transit service from 6:00 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. While it is primarily used by the senior citizen and disabled populations, it is open to all riders. There’s more information on ACCESS on
our web site.

For other riders, Park and Ride lots will serve as an important connection to transit. Under the proposed transit development plan, Port Authority would create more Park and Ride lots in suburban areas. The map below shows proposed locations:

Port Authority will continue to serve its existing Park and Ride lots under the Transit Development Plan – 62 lots with a total of 13,713 spaces.
The proposed Transit Development Plan also calls for the creation of Transit Hubs throughout the region. Some of these new hubs would include parking where available:

Using another transit carrier may be an option for certain riders, particularly those living near the edge of our service area. Port Authority will be working with neighboring counties’ transit agencies and other regional carriers to refer riders to these services where appropriate.

When changes do take place on your route, you will know about them well in advance. The changes proposed under the Transit Development Plan will be implemented gradually over the course of several years, with the first round of changes slated to take place in March of 2010.

And as we weigh your comments and make changes to the plan prior to its adoption, we will be sharing those developments here and on
our TDP Web site.

Please continue to share your thoughts and questions with us as we work to improve transit in Allegheny County. Due to the volume of questions received, we apologize for not being able to respond to everyone individually.

If you have questions specific to your individual route that you are still seeking an answer to, please use this link to email us.

Monday, September 28, 2009

TDP Reminder: Public Comment Period Ends Wednesday

The public comment period for the proposed final Transit Development Plan ends this Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 4 p.m.

Specific information on proposed route changes, fare adjustments and much more is posted on our TDP site.
There, you can submit your comments via an online form, or you can mail them to Port Authority Fare and Service Proposals, Heinz 57 Center, 345 Sixth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2527.

If we didn’t get to answer your question asked on this blog, please know that your voice will be heard – we are collecting all comments left on TransitBlog and submitting them for official consideration.

Port Authority’s Board of Directors will be voting on the proposed final TDP and a timeline for implementation at its next meeting, scheduled for October 23.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

G-20 Updates Available on Our Web Site and Twitter

We're posting all updates on G-20 transit changes in two places.

Port Authority's G-20 Summit page is your hub for all kinds of information on transit service during this historic occasion, including:

We're also on Twitter, offering updates on detours and much more. You can find us under @PGHtransit.

Additionally, Port Authority’s Customer Service line, 412-442-2000 (TTY: 412-231-7007) is operating on its regular weekday schedule, 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

We thank you for your patience as we work to transport riders safely during this event.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Where do I catch my bus during the G-20?

Port Authority has published a G-20 Downtown Stop Guide that shows where riders should go to catch their buses. The guide is available on our G-20 Web site, on schedule racks and on buses.

You can download a copy directly by clicking here.

As most of you already know, much of Downtown Pittsburgh will not be accessible by car during the Summit. Port Authority bus and T service will provide direct service into Downtown Pittsburgh, following a regular weekday schedule.

Routes will serve the same stops and Park and Ride lots outside of Downtown but deviate as they enter the Golden Triangle. Routes will funnel into the Central Business District and hub around the Boulevard of the Allies corridor.

Port Authority will not operate special shuttles to parking areas outside of Downtown during G-20. We are, however, providing regular weekday service to roughly 60 Park and Ride facilities across the city and Allegheny County. Combined, they offer more than 15,000 spaces.

More helpful information is available at our G-20 Web page (, including an interactive map, route-by-route descriptions and Park and Ride locations.

We anticipate delays and unanticipated changes during the two-day event. Things might change at any moment, so be sure to check the web site for updates, which will also be posted on our Twitter feed (@PGHtransit). You can also sign up for email alerts on our G-20 page.

Port Authority’s Downtown Service Center will be closed September 23-25, but the Customer Service line 412-442-2000 (TTY: 412-231-7007) will operate on its regular weekday schedule, 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Thanks for your patience and we promise to keep you updated on any developments regarding our services.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

G-20 Transit Information Announced

Today Port Authority of Allegheny County is releasing its transit rerouting plan for the G-20 Summit, taking place in Pittsburgh on September 24 and 25.

During this historic event, Port Authority will be providing bus and light rail transit to Downtown Pittsburgh using reconfigured routes developed in accordance with G-20 security zones.

Details including an interactive map, route-by-route descriptions and Park and Ride information are now available on
Port Authority’s G-20 Web page.

G-20 transit routing will mostly likely go into effect on the evening of Wednesday, September 23 and continue through the summit’s conclusion on Friday, September 25. However, it is possible that detouring could begin earlier or end later.

Similarly, sudden events or disruptions could lead Port Authority to further reroute its buses and light rail service. Things might change at any moment, and we will be providing updates through a number of channels:

  • Port Authority’s G-20 Web page:
  • E-mail: Anyone may sign up to receive route changes at our G-20 Web page.
  • Via employers and schools: Port Authority has developed direct contacts with many major employers and schools who intend to relay our information to workers and students.
  • Twitter: Port Authority plans to update route changes using its account at
Additional information will be released shortly, including a list of bus stop changes for each route, which will help riders to plan their trips, including Downtown transfers.

For those using public transit during the G-20 Summit, we recommend allowing for extra travel time. Port Authority will use its regular weekday service schedules during the summit, but delays – potentially lengthy ones – are anticipated. Our goal is to bring riders to their destinations safely and as quickly as possible.

ACCESS will be providing paratransit service during the summit, but encourages riders who have Downtown appointments to reschedule until after September 25. The Downtown ACCESS office will be closed for the duration of the event, but its call center will remain open.

Port Authority’s Downtown Service Center will be closed September 23-25, but the Customer Service line 412-442-2000 (TTY: 412-231-7007) will operate on its regular weekday schedule, 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

We should also mention that Port Authority is hosting a public hearing today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center to gain public comment on its final Transit Development Plan proposal, which would bring sweeping improvements to the transit system. The full proposal and hearing details are available at To be clear, this is not related to the G-20.

Thank you for your patience, and we will continue to update you with G-20-related information as it becomes available.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

TDP & G-20: A few reminders

The public hearing for the proposed final Transit Development Plan will be held on Tuesday, September 15 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center, located Downtown near Mellon Arena.

If you’d like to make a comment at the hearing, we encourage you to pre-register by calling (412) 566-5437 or the TTY line at (412) 231-7007 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. Pre-registration will end on Monday, September 14 at 3:30 p.m.

If you haven’t pre-registered, you may still register to speak when you arrive at the hearing and will be called on provided time is available.

Full details on the hearing, including information about shuttle buses to the event, are available on Port Authority's Transit Development Plan site.

* * *

The G-20 Summit is just around the corner and Port Authority will be releasing transit routing information in the very near future.

You can sign up for G-20 email blasts at our online summit information hub, and continue to watch this space and our Twitter feed for more details.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Why change the way things are? Won't new names and new routes just confuse people?

For people to use transit, they have to be able to understand it. If they don't understand it, or if it's too difficult to learn, they'll drive or do something else.

Right now, the service that Port Authority provides is among the most complicated - if not the most complicated - in the country. Port Authority serves 72 million passengers per year with 187 routes. By comparison, Chicago's CTA serves 610 million passengers per year with 161 bus routes, and Boston's MBTA serves nearly 400 million passengers per year with 177 bus routes.

Most Port Authority routes also have many variants, which means that individual routes do different things at different times of the day. One route has over 40 variants, making it very difficult for riders to know what individual trips will do. Furthermore, the public input that was received during the TDP process indicated that most people - both those who ride Port Authority services and those who don't - view the system as too complicated.

It's also important to recognize that transit systems, like any type of transportation system, experience a large amount of turnover. People move, they graduate from one school and start at another, they change jobs, they retire - those and so many other life events alter their travel patterns.

According to a 2007 Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission survey of Port Authority riders, on any given day two percent of riders are making their first trip on transit. The survey also found that seven percent of riders use transit less than once a week. Throughout Allegheny County, there are always large numbers of people who are trying to figure out how Port Authority services operate. Making Port Authority services easier to understand and easier to use will attract more new riders to transit.

Even longtime passengers can benefit from simpler and more effective service, as the proposed changes will make service faster, more direct and more predictable. Also, many regular passengers ride the bus to and from work everyday but don't use it for occasional trips - to go to a concert or sporting event, for instance - because they don't understand the system beyond their weekday route. As a result, simpler service and a new route numbering system will also encourage regular riders to make more trips by transit.

As one commenter noted, many of Port Authority's routes have been around since the 1930s, and this is true. However, Pittsburgh has undergone some of the most dramatic changes of any city in the country, and is now very different than it was in the 1930s, or even in the 1970s. The proposed changes are designed to serve Allegheny County's needs as they exist today. Routes that work well, no matter when they were first designed, will be maintained or improved. Routes that no longer work well will be revised to meet today's needs, or in a few cases where significant transit markets no longer exist, discontinued.

In May, we presented three possible service concepts, one of which was a grid system like one that might be found in other cities. We rejected that concept, however, because a grid just doesn't make sense for unique topography and geography of our region. Port Authority wants to create transit system that serves Allegheny County's needs and works with its distinctive characteristics.

The region's successful transformation following the decline of the steel industry indicates that Pittsburghers are actually very good at change, and the signs of progress are visible all over Allegheny County. Port Authority is working to ensure our transit system reflects that change.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I heard you’re cutting bus routes and that fewer than 10 will take passengers Downtown. Is this true?

Put simply, no. The numbers you may have been hearing refer to circulation patterns, not routes.

Currently 143 routes serve Downtown. Those routes enter, circulate through and exit the Golden Triangle using 40 different patterns.

For instance, the 16A enters Downtown from the North Shore via the Seventh Street bridge, turns left onto Liberty, follows that to the East Busway, turns around to head back down Liberty and back onto the Seventh Street bridge.

Like the 16A, the 16D passes through the North Shore and onto Seventh Street to head Downtown, but it turns onto Fort Duquesne Boulevard, Sixth Street and Liberty Avenue before exiting via the Ninth Street bridge.

Current Downtown circulation patterns.

The proposed Transit Development Plan calls for streamlined Downtown circulation, reducing the number of circulation patterns from 40 to fewer than 10. So under the proposed plan, all routes coming from the North Shore would enter Downtown via the Ninth Street bridge, turn onto Liberty, then onto Stanwix Street, then follow Fort Duquesne Boulevard back to Seventh Street.

Proposed Downtown circulation patterns.

Streamlined circulation would offer many advantages over the current circulation patterns:
  • Buses would run on fewer streets and make fewer turns, reducing delays and helping to alleviate gridlock
  • Riders who can use multiple routes to get to their destination would be able to catch all available options at the same stops, reducing their waiting time
  • Transferring would be much less confusing, especially for people who only ride the bus occasionally – under the proposed plan, each circulation pattern would connect with all others at one or more points
All told, the majority of the proposed routes would continue to serve Downtown.

For more details on how we came up with the proposed new circulation patterns, visit our Downtown Circulation Patterns page on Port Authority’s Transit Development Plan site.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Am I going to have to walk farther to catch my bus?

When compared to other transit systems, Port Authority’s bus stops are spaced very close together. On many routes, there’s a bus stop almost at every corner. Some routes average more than one stop per block.

Take the 86B, for instance – stopping at Mathilda, Millvale, Winebiddle, Evaline, Atlantic, Aiken and Graham as it travels Penn Avenue through Bloomfield, Garfield and Friendship. Only 341 feet separate the stops at Mathilda and Millvale.

Stops that are too close together make for a slower bus ride, and many Port Authority riders have told us they wouldn’t mind walking a little farther in exchange for faster service. That’s why the proposed final Transit Development Plan aims to consolidate stops and apply a standardized spacing scheme.

Different types of routes would have different stop spacing. The proposed Rapid Bus routes, for instance, would feature the largest spacing out of any routes in the system, but in return riders would enjoy speedy service similar to light rail transit.

Along routes that serve a high number of transit-dependent riders, stops would be closer together, while commuter routes – where many passengers gather at Park and Ride lots – would have stops spaced farther apart.

In most cases across the system, riders would only have to walk another block or two to get to a bus stop. At most, this would mean walking another minute or two to reach a stop.

We realize there are many places in Allegheny County with terrain that’s tricky for pedestrians to navigate. And there are many places that don’t have sidewalks. We’ll take those factors into consideration when spacing stops and make exceptions to the standard where safety is a concern.

Additionally, Port Authority will continue to work with ACCESS to provide door-to-door transit service for riders with special needs.

An addition to Friday’s post: In regard to changes to the 84C Hill Loop route, we wanted to note that service to Wharton Square won’t be discontinued until the new grocery store is built in the Hill District.

And to all those who commented on the last blog post, thank you for your thoughts. We’ll be tackling some of your questions here shortly.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What’s happening to my route?

Port Authority released its final proposed Transit Development Plan to the public today and you may have already heard that certain routes are being cut.

While the total number of routes will decrease, the overall amount of service will increase. On average, the number of trips per route per weekday will increase by 65 percent.

Let’s take a look at what’s happening to some current routes and how their riders will be served under the proposed TDP:
  • 16A Ohio River Boulevard: This route would be consolidated with the OV Ohio Valley Flyer route to create a new service, the 14L Ohio Valley Limited. The new route would provide more frequent and consistent service in the corridor from Ambridge to Downtown Pittsburgh, running every 15 minutes during peak periods.
  • 51D Churchview: Most of this route’s service area would be served by a new route, 50 Spencer.
  • 59U SouthSide Works-Oakland-Waterfront: Oakland, Squirrel Hill and the Waterfront would be linked by two new Rapid Bus routes, R3 McKeesport Rapid and R4 Homestead Rapid. Riders would be able to use the new route 75 Ellsworth to travel between SouthSide Works and Oakland (and beyond to Shadyside and East Liberty). The current 59U route doesn’t start service until nearly 9:30 a.m., but the R3, R4 and 75 Ellsworth would begin service around 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. and run more frequently.
  • 61F Homestead Park: Service would be provided by a new route, 53 Homestead Park, which would operate at greater frequency and provide more hours of service per day.
  • 63A North Braddock Express: Service would be provided by new routes P76 Lincoln Highway Flyer, featuring peak period express service to and from Downtown Pittsburgh, and 76 Lincoln Highway, featuring off-peak service to the Wilkinsburg busway station. Riders would also be able to use the new 63 Edgewood, which would take riders to Wilkinsburg station.
  • 63B Rankin Express: Riders would be able to take the new route P71 Swisshelm Park-Rankin Flyer, providing peak period service down the busway between Swissvale station and Downtown Pittsburgh, or 71 Swisshelm Park-Rankin, which would operate off-peak between Swissvale Station and Wilkinsburg Station via Edgewood Towne Center.
  • 69A Forbes: Service would be provided by the new Rapid Bus route, R1 Wilkinsburg, providing a fast link from Wilkinsburg to Downtown via Oakland.
  • 77D Highland-Friendship: The area will be served by three new routes: the R5 Negley Rapid Bus, the R6 Highland Rapid Bus and 87 Friendship, all of which would run more frequently than the 77D and provide earlier morning and later evening service.
  • 84C Hill Loop: New routes 81 Oak Hill and 83 Webster will serve most of the 84C route, connecting Downtown, the Hill District and Oakland.
In creating the proposed plan, Port Authority worked very hard to ensure that more people enjoy more – and better! – service that’s easier to understand. So many routes that seem to be “eliminated” are actually being absorbed into new configurations that are faster and more efficient.

Next week we’ll post individual route maps on the Transit Development Plan site so it’ll be easier for riders to visualize how their trips will shape up. In the meantime, please let us know in the comments if there are any other routes you’d like to know about.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tomorrow is TDP Day

Be sure to check back here and on the Port Authority's Web site tomorrow for full details on the proposed final Transit Development Plan.

We'll have specific information about proposed route changes, fare adjustments and much more posted on our TDP site, You'll be able to share your feedback through the Web site, and we also welcome you to leave your comments on the proposed final plan here on our blog.

Starting tomorrow, we'll tackle some of the most commonly asked questions from riders and community members, as well as address any rumors you might have heard about service changes.

We're excited to share our ideas and hear yours!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Proposed Final Transit Development Plan Released Friday

Allegheny County has changed dramatically over the past 40 years, and Port Authority is working to create a transit system that will better serve riders as well as provide a framework for future growth.

Port Authority takes riders to work, to school, to medical appointments, to visit friends and family, to sporting events and the mall, and so much more. The goal of the Transit Development Plan is to ensure riders remain connected to all these things by improving our bus, light rail and ACCESS service.

This Friday, August 28, we will reveal the proposed final draft of its Transit Development Plan, the result of nearly two years of analysis of the current system, as well as proposed fare changes.

Over the last two years, we’ve interviewed community leaders, studied other cities’ transit systems, evaluated the efficiency of individual routes and taken your comments about how service can be improved. In May, Port Authority unveiled three possible service concepts and asked for additional public comment on these ideas. We listened to issues raised by riders and community members, and kept those thoughts in mind as we created a new proposed final draft of the plan, which will be available for review on Friday.

The hub for all Transit Development Plan-related information will be our Web site at There you’ll be able to review maps and detailed information about route changes and service improvements. You’ll also be able to submit your thoughts and comments, as well as find information on our upcoming public hearing, scheduled for Tuesday, September 15 in Downtown Pittsburgh.

The new proposed final draft will be posted Friday, but in the meantime please feel free to check out the Web site to learn more about the history of the Transit Development Plan, view the project schedule, sign up for email updates and much more. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mon Incline Honored by Pittsburgh Magazine

The Port Authority-operated Monongahela Incline is featured as the city’s “Best Park n’ Ride” on Pittsburgh Magazine’s annual “Best of Pittsburgh” list. Highlighted as a fun, inexpensive activity that’s great for families, the historic railway offers easy access to all the amenities of Station Square and one of the best city skyline views anywhere! The incline has been taking riders to and from Mt. Washington since May 28, 1870, making it the oldest continuously operating funicular railway in the U.S. It officially became a part of Port Authority in 1964.

Thanks to Pittsburgh Magazine and all those who voted for the incline in the Readers Poll!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

G-20 Transit Information

Make sure to visit our new G-20 hub at

We anticipate significant changes in our bus and light rail service during the week of G-20. However, we don't anticipate getting specific details about security-related street closings and other information until a week or two before the event scheduled for Sept. 24-25.

This Web page will become one way of getting route and detour information out quickly to riders. There is an e-mail sign up that will allow us to reach you directly with this information.

Sign up now so that we can keep you informed as information becomes available.

Friday, August 7, 2009

150 Years of Streetcars

There's still time to make it to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum's 150 Years of Pittsburgh Streetcars celebration. The anniversary event -- "From Horse Cars to Hybrids" -- kicked off Thursday and runs through Sunday. The doors are open 10-5 daily. Port Authority CEO Steve Bland participated in a cake-cutting ceremony Thursday along with museum officials.

The event marks the 150th anniversary of Pittsburgh's first horse car line, which began operating along Penn Avenue on Aug. 6, 1859. Visitors will get a rare look inside the only preserved Pittsburgh horse car and learn a bit about life during that era. Other streetcars are on display as is a Port Authority hybrid bus -- demonstrating the progression of public transportation.

More than 24,000 people visited the museum in 2008. The building covers 28,000 square feet and houses nearly 30 electric railway passenger, freight and work cars from the region.

For more info, call 724-228-9256 or visit