Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Authority to Cut Routes Due to Collapse of State Funding

Port Authority of Allegheny County's Board of Directors today approved the largest service reduction in the transit agency's history to offset the collapse of Pennsylvania's transportation funding mechanism.

About 45 routes will be eliminated in March to help fill the revenue gap created by the state's shortfall in transportation funding. The service reduction will be paired with a fare increase in January and the elimination of more than 500 Authority jobs.

"Eliminating 35 percent of our bus and T service hours will have a devastating impact on the Pittsburgh region," said Port Authority CEO Steve Bland. "This disastrous action is due to the collapse of Pennsylvania's Act 44, which initiated a statewide transportation funding crisis.

"While we continue to seek potential solutions with our state leaders, we now fear the worst and have to assume that they will not act in time to address this issue."

In addition to the wholesale eliminations, many more routes will lose trips and weekend service in March. A list of affected routes is available by clicking here.

Port Authority receives funding through Pennsylvania's transportation funding law, called Act 44, each year - along with every other public transit system in the state. However, this year, the state is not providing the full amount of money, causing a shortfall in Port Authority's budget.

Act 44 was adopted in 2007 and intended to help improve transportation funding for highway work, bridge repairs and public transportation systems.

At the time, Gov. Ed Rendell called on transit providers, like Port Authority, to find ways to cut costs and set a statewide savings goal of $60 million. Port Authority alone has cut $52 million in annual expenses in that time and generated $14 million in new revenue.

Including the upcoming job eliminations, the Authority will have eliminated more than 1,000 positions in that period.

Riders can obtain more information about the upcoming service reductions and fare increase at or by calling Customer Service at 412-442-2000 or the TTY number, 412-231-7007.

Read remarks made at today's meeting from:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Taking the 28X? Read this.

Riders taking the 28X Airport Flyer this holiday season should be aware of several significant changes made to the route since last winter.

The 28X is now running regular route outbound in Downtown Pittsburgh, picking up at Seventh Avenue at Smithfield Street and along Liberty Avenue at Tito Way, Fifth Avenue and near the former Hilton Hotel. Earlier outbound detours associated with North Shore Connector construction have been lifted. The only 28X stop that remains temporarily out of service is the inbound stop at Liberty at Gateway #4.

As part of Transit Development Plan changes enacted earlier this year, the 28X no longer stops at Robinson Towne Center, providing a quicker trip to the airport. For service to Robinson Towne Center, riders should take the G1 West Busway-Robinson from Downtown. All outbound stops from Oakland to the airport are pickup-only, including stops in Downtown and along West Carson Street and the West Busway. Inbound stops along the West Busway are both pickup and discharge.

Additionally, minor adjustments were made to the 28X schedule this past Sunday, November 21, and most departure times have changed. Please be sure to refer to the new schedule when planning your trip, or use our Trip Planner.

One-way cash fare from Oakland/Downtown to the airport is $2.75. Fares are paid when boarding at all times on this route.

While riding the 28X please keep your belongings on your lap or under your seat if possible to ensure that the aisles remain clear and that other riders may take a seat.

Thanks, and have safe travels and a great holiday season.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Board to Vote on Service Reductions, Fare Increase Nov. 24

A Port Authority committee today recommended approval of a proposal to reduce transit service across Allegheny County by 35 percent starting in March. The proposal is intended to help counter a budget shortfall created by a statewide transportation funding crisis.

The Authority's Planning and Development Committee recommended the Board of Directors approve the proposal when it meets on Nov. 24. Approving the measure would trigger a fare increase on Jan. 1, a 35-percent service reduction in March and the elimination of more than 500 Authority jobs.

The action would be the largest reduction in transit service in the Authority's history. The impact will be devastating for riders, employers, local businesses and commuters.

Fares would increase by 25 cents in Zone 1 and 50 cents in Zone 2. More details are available online by clicking here.

Virtually every route in Port Authority's system would be touched by the reduction, including the elimination of dozens of routes. Other routes would lose weekend service while some would not operate as frequently. A list of affected routes is available by clicking here. Details of the route changes will be made available online by January.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Routes: One Rider's Experience

Over on his blog, Pittsburgh Transit Guide, rider and Allegheny County Transit Council member Michael Sypolt is recounting his experiences trying some of Port Authority's new or changed routes:  

"Hill District-Southside Service: The newly implemented 81 Oak Hill and 83 Webster are an improvement over the four routes that they replace (81A, 81C, 84A, and 84C). In addition, the routes are interlined downtown (meaning they change routes downtown). For example, an inbound 83 usually changes over to an outbound 81 and vice versa. If riding from Webster Avenue to Bentley Drive, changing buses is not required, however, you will have to show your pass or buy a transfer if the trip passes through downtown before 7pm. I have the experience of riding these routes from South Side to Oakland and is a good, quick alternative to the 54C if the 81 or 83 arrive sooner. This extension is a result of responding to a community need for the route to continue to serve a full service grocery store (i.e. Wharton Square Giant Eagle) since there is not one in the Hill District.

Oakland-Lawrenceville Service: I had tried out the 93 Lawrenceville-Oakland as an attempt to avoid having to stand with a large box. I was headed home during the peak of rush hour which would have required either a 71A or 500. When a 500 showed up at 5:12pm with no room, I crossed the street to take the 93 to transfer to an 87 to go home (Highland Park). While I was able to sit down, I was surprised at seeing almost 20 people on the bus! This was for good reason, it only took me about 10 to 12 minutes to get from Oakland to Shur-Save during the height of rush hour. Although the schedule states that is should only take 9 minutes, the actual time of 10-12 minutes is much better than 20 minutes on the 54C (according to its schedule)! While I would have liked to see the rest of the route, I had a large package to take home, so I transferred to the 87 at Howley and Gangwish after a 15 minute wait. While this trip was crowded (due to being late), I quickly got a seat within 5 minutes. I was in Highland Park by 5:55pm. Took slightly longer than if I got on the 500, but not by much, especially since it could have run slowly due to being overcrowded."

Read more at Michael's blog.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reminder: Public Hearing Tomorrow on Revised Fare Proposal

Tomorrow, Nov. 3, Port Authority will hold a supplemental public hearing due to an adjustment in its fare proposal.

Last month, Port Authority announced a revised fare proposal, which includes the elimination of proposed premium fares on some routes and the increase of overall Zone 2 fares. For full details on the revised fare proposal, click here (link opens PDF file).

A public comment on the proposal is ongoing, and individuals may comment online and via postal mail as well as at tomorrow's hearing, which will take place from 9am-11am in Port Authority's fifth floor Board Room, 345 Sixth Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh. Click here for more hearing details.

The public comment period will end at 4 p.m. on Nov. 12.