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.


  1. You have all the South Hills buses making a left at 6th & Smithfield. Really? As apposed to making the right at 6th & Wood?

    And you have all of the 56x buses + some express buses using the old routing. I don't see why the 56x buses need to switch their routing, and have all of the SH buses (41x,46x,51c) all changing. You might as well make Smithfield & Wood bus only.

    Also, you need to tell the police to put up signs about blocking the box (blocking an intersection, crossing the white line) so that you don't have 8 buses waiting the length of a green light to make a left turn.

  2. And please have your drivers wear seatbelts...about 95 percent do not....shameful

  3. What is all this in the Proposed Changes document about how passengers are confused by the transit system to the point that the routes need to be renamed? Does this confusion apply to the Port Authority's out-of-town consultants or to the Port Authority's longtime passengers?

    Pittsburgh is not an easy place to get around in, and everyone needs time to figure it out. However, a lot of these routes that the Port Authority is dismantling have been around for a long time (some since the 1930s according to my older relatives); Pittsburghers are used to the routes as they are. There are reasons why the routes have developed as they have.

    Trying to turn Allegheny County public transit into a clone of the transit system in another city doesn't seem like a good idea. Pittsburgh isn't the same as Boston or Chicago, and the needs of its passengers are different.

    It seems to me that when a route falls below some ridership threshold, first the Port Authority will limit the amount of service on this route, making the bus so scarce that no one can find it. Alternatively, the Port Authority may combine several routes, but, since the routing is new, no one knows about it so ridership on the new service is low. Then, in the next dismantling phase, the service will be cut altogether for low ridership. This seems to have befallen several routes in the current redesign.