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.


  1. When you are between stops and see a bus pass you are the drivers going to slow down for you? Somehow I doubt that? Unless you can have these buses run every 10-15 minutes people may have to change their work hours and schedules.

  2. When wind chill is below zero, express buses should stop to pick up waiting riders.

  3. Speedy light rail? Fewer stops? Try looking at the 42C/42S line and cutting some of the Beechview stops! Only 350 feet separate Fallowfield from the outbound Hampshire stop! Why stop outbound at Hampshire to wait for people to pay in the first car when they could have easily have paid at the Fallowfield booth?

  4. I would be thrilled to see the 500 stop less frequently. There's no reason it needs to stop so many times in between Penn Circle S and Fifth Ave, just as an example.