Port Authority of Allegheny County: Wikis

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Port Authority of Allegheny County
logo
image
A refurbished and repainted 1996 NovaBus Classic, one of many Port Authority buses that feature various color schemes, designs and messages.
Founded March 1, 1964
Headquarters Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Service area Allegheny County and bordering portions of Beaver, Washington, Westmoreland and Armstrong counties
Service type Public transit
Light rail
Bus rapid transit
Inclined-plane railway (funicular)
Routes 184
Stations 69
Fleet 962 buses
83 Light Rail/Subway trains
1 incline
Daily ridership 240,000[1]
Fuel type Diesel, Diesel-Electric Hybrid
Operator Allegheny County Government
Chief executive Stephen G. Bland
Web site Port Authority's official website

Port Authority of Allegheny County (also known as the Port Authority or sometimes by its former nickname PAT) is the second-largest public transit agency in Pennsylvania and the 11th-largest in the United States.[2] When considering that its service area is the 20th largest in the U.S. in population, per person the Pittsburgh area enjoys more transit service than 9 larger metro areas. The county owned, state funded agency is based in Pittsburgh and is overseen by a CEO and a ten member board of directors, who report to the county executive.

The Port Authority's bus and light rail system covers Allegheny County. On a few of its longer-distance routes, service extends into neighboring counties such as Beaver, Washington and Westmoreland counties. Those counties also have their own transit systems, including several routes that run into downtown Pittsburgh, where riders can make connections with Port Authority service.

Contents

History

The Port Authority was created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1956 to allow for creation of port facilities in the Pittsburgh area.[3] Three years later, the state legislation was amended to allow the Port Authority to acquire privately owned transit companies that served the area. This included the Pittsburgh Railways Company and a total of thirty-two independent bus and incline operations.[4]

On April 19, 1963 the Board of Allegheny County Commissioners authorized the acquisition of thirty-two transit companies, including the Pittsburgh Railways Company, which had provided bus and streetcar service to the city of Pittsburgh since January 1902, and an incline plane company; these acquisitions were made at a cost of about $12 million.[3] On March 1, 1964 Port Authority Transit began service.[5]

Shortly after the Port Authority began service, 150 new GM "Fishbowl" buses were introduced to replace aging ones acquired from its predecessors, a new route numbering convention was introduced, and the fare system was streamlined.[5] Due to urban sprawl, the transit agency introduced new routes that served new communities.[3] In the following years, additional buses were ordered and several new transit garages opened.[5] Many of the trolley lines acquired from Pittsburgh Railways were abandoned, and turned into bus lines instead; however, South Hills lines via Beechview and Overbrook were retained.[6] In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Port Authority hoped to introduce a modern rapid transit system known as Skybus with rubber-tired vehicles running on rails, but the plan fell through.[7]

In the early 1970s, the Port Authority entered what was dubbed by its fans as the "Mod" era, in which buses were repainted in various splashy paint schemes.[8] Furthermore, several new flyer routes and routes to Oakland's university core were introduced, as part of a new general marketing strategy.[8] A commuter rail line to McKeesport began service in 1975.[9] These new routes, coupled with the 1973 oil crisis, generated a major increase in ridership.[8] Yet, due to the poor state of the economy at the time, fares increased and there was a brief strike in 1976.[10] In spite of these setbacks, the South Busway opened in 1977 and plans for other capital investments were made.[3]

During the 1980s, with gas prices falling and population loss from the decline of the steel industry, ridership decreased and the agency actually lowered fares to attract new riders in the middle of the decade.[3] Many new buses were ordered, and the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway opened in 1983.[11] Construction of a light rail line that started in downtown and went south to traverse Beechview, with separate lines going to South Hills Village and Library progressed during the decade.[3] Part of the light rail line was an updated version of the old trolley system. In July 1985, the downtown subway opened; the Beechview line followed in 1987 and the Library line a year later.[11] In 1989, the agency celebrated its twenty-fifth year of existence. Also that year, the commuter rail service to McKeesport was discontinued.[9]

In the early part of the 1990s, the agency was rocked by a four-week strike due to a labor dispute in 1992.[10] The strike, coupled with changing demographic patterns, caused a decrease in ridership.[3] New buses that were compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 were introduced into the system early in the decade.[3] In 1993, the badly detiorated Overbrook light rail line was shut down, necessitating that all trains heading into and out of downtown to use the Beechview line.[12] Several capital projects, such as the construction of a new western busway and light rail extensions were considered.[3] In 1998, the agency rebranded itself as "Ride Gold" with new paint schemes and a new marketing campaign.[13]

In 2000, the West Busway from the shores of the Ohio River to Carnegie was opened.[14] Shortly thereafter, new bus routes to outlying communities, such as Cranberry, were established.[15] In 2003, a short extension of the East Busway was completed.[16] The following year, another rapid transit addition was made when the Overbrook light rail line was re-opened after a lengthy reconstruction.[12] Construction also started on another light rail extension to Pittsburgh's North Shore near Heinz Field, known as the North Shore Connector. Unfortunately, in spite of the capital projects expansion, the agency was in serious financial trouble by the middle of the decade. In June 2007, the agency went through with a fifteen percent service cut in order to cut the deficit.[17] Also, in order to provide a dedicated source of funding to the agency, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato introduced the controversial 10% Allegheny County Alcoholic Beverage Tax in 2008 to fund the agency.[18] Later that same year, another strike was narrowly averted.[19] The agency is currently planning a major service overhaul that will begin to go into effect in March 2010.[20]

The Port Authority pays $168,763 annually to Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney and $48,750 annually to Greenlee Partners to lobby the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[21]

The Port Authority brand

Although Port Authority is part of the local fans' folklore, its off-beat imaging is more notorious. Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s the bus fleet was very recognizable with its fleet of air-conditioned GM "Fishbowls" (from their 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1971 orders) sporting a white top with small red strip.[5] Other noticeable features included side destination signs placed near the exit door and an unusual seating arrangement with one side facing forward and the other lining up to match the seating placed on the wheel well.[5] PAT would continue ordering buses in that specification until 1995 when they ordered buses with both seating sides facing front except when on wheel wells. The side destination signs were moved immediately to the left of the front door starting with the 1998 Neoplan AN-460 (articulated bus) order. This continued with the Neoplan Metroliner order but skipped the Neoplan AN-440LF order in 1999. The 2003 order of Gillig Advantage low-floors and all subsequent orders have conformed with the side sign next to front door configuration. It is worth noting that the 1980 GM's RTS buses acquired were specified with the current side sign configuration.

By 1972 it entered what was dubbed by fans the "Mod" era, as buses were given flashy new paint schemes. Buses were painted with color at the front and rear, slanted to line up with the windows), and a large white portion in between.[8]

In the 1980s that scheme gave way to one that featured an updated version of its white with red strip look from the 1960s. The red strip was larger, a black strip was painted around the window area, and the white background covered most of the bus exterior.[11] That look can still be seen around the area [via the Flxible and NovaBus 'classics' series], although these buses are expected to be repainted and refurbished into the current livery.

In 1998 Port Authority rebranded itself as "Ride Gold" to coincide with its 35th anniversary.[13] Today, some of Port Authority's bus fleet is in various colors with a splatter of gold "G"s adorning the exterior.

More recently, Port Authority's buses have included various transportation-related words and phrases repeated across the exterior, such as the words "move", "go" "ride" or "connect", combinations of "rockin'" and "rollin'", "ziggin'" and "zaggin'", or "here" and "there".[22] Newer articulated buses feature Burma-Shave-style poetry such as "Parking got you down / Don't make Faces / Hop on the bus / There's plenty of spaces", "This big shiny bus / Is really no riddle / But it sure is odd / How it bends in the middle", "Getting to work / Is no trouble / When you ride / The daily double", "There's the church / There's the steeple / And here's the bus / With all the people", and "If you're tired of all the traffic / And could use an assist / Hop aboard a bus / With a bit of a twist".

On September 21, 2006, the Port Authority announced that it was retiring the "Ride Gold" campaign and that the current and future bus and light rail fleet will follow the standard design and uniform colors of its Gillig bus fleet.[13] The reason was the system's decision to return to a back-to-basics approach and to save costs on wholesale repainting and refurbishing. Even its updated website has dropped the gold "G" and is now going with the simple "PORT AUTHORITY" fonts, which will now be used on the entire fleets. These include the aforementioned poetry on their more recent articulated buses. As of today, some of the Port Authority's buses and light rail vehicles have been repainted with the standard "Port Authority" font that is used by the agency today.

Fare structure

Port Authority currently uses a fare structure based on five main zones (1, 1A, 2, 2B and 3). The downtown area is an unnumbered zone, named the Free Fare Zone, which was established in 1985 to encourage transit use in downtown and reduce stop "dwell" times (the amount of time a transit vehicle must remain stopped for passengers to board or alight). All rides taken solely within the downtown zone are free, at all times on the light rail system (called the "T") and until 7 p.m. on buses, seven days a week.[23] Originally, the free-fare zone applied only until 7 p.m. on both buses and light rail, but it was expanded to 24 hours on the latter in 1989.

Zone 1 is the zone closest to downtown Pittsburgh, Zone 2 comprises the outer half of Allegheny County, and all stops outside of Allegheny County are a part of Zone 3. The vast majority of routes only have stops in Zones 1 and 2; a few cross briefly into neighboring counties, and one trip on the Holiday Park Flyer reaches as far as Apollo in Armstrong County.[24]

When passing from one zone to another, the fare increases. The 1A and 2B zones are an exception. Zone 1A is a "transition zone" from Zone 1 to Zone 2, and if traveling from Zone 1 to 1A or from 2 to 1A there is no increase in fare. The same holds true for Zone 2B located in and around New Kensington; there is no increase in fare from Zone 2B to 2 or 3. See this fare structure table for specific zone boundaries and definitions.

The system usually uses an "outbound" pay system for daytime transit to and from downtown. Fare is paid when boarding on the "outbound" part of the route. For example, if the bus or light rail vehicle is headed towards downtown, the rider pays when boarding. However, if the bus or light rail vehicle is headed out of downtown, the rider pays upon exiting.[25] However, this system only applies on buses that serve downtown; on most of the bus routes that do not serve downtown, the rider always pays upon entry.[25] And during the evening on buses serving downtown, the method changes on many routes to "pay when boarding" (also known as "pay enter"), due to the possibility of riders trying to avoid paying the fare. In combination with the downtown Free Fare Zone, this fare collection system permits boarding to take place via all doors concurrently in downtown (except evenings), greatly reducing loading delays in the part of the system with the heaviest concentration of transit routes and passenger boarding per stop.[26]

The Port Authority also sells non-discounted single-use tickets, and discounted weekly, monthly and annual passes.[27] Each carries a small discount over earlier time-based passes and is valid for an unlimited number of trips/transfers in the specified zone(s) for that time period. For example, for a zone 1 pass, the cost of a weekly is the equivalent of 9.5 one-way trips, a monthly is equivalent to 34 trips, and an annual is equivalent to 377 trips. An annual pass is a 12-month subscription to monthly passes, which can be either mailed or picked up at the Downtown Service Center on Smithfield Street.

Students and staff of several colleges in the area, most notably CMU and the University of Pittsburgh, ride the bus for free, via a program whereby the schools pay a fee each year to the Port Authority to provide transit.[28]

Routing by Number/Branch letter

Since its inception in 1964, the system has adopted a bus route system by using a number/alphabet approach with a number indicating the main route and branch letter representing the destination (e.g. 46G Elizabeth). The system is documented in an article in Bus World magazine.

The combined number provides two pieces of information. First, it roughly indicates the region served. Routes are numbered starting from the north shore of the Allegheny River (1A New Kensington), then proceeding counterclockwise around downtown Pittsburgh. Routes going west from downtown have numbers in the 20s and 30s, those going south in the 40s and 50s, and so on through the 90s, which serve the south shore of the Allegheny River. This aspect of the system was inherited from the Pittsburgh Railways Company.

Numbers ending in 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 or 8, and "Flyer" routes with letters only, serve downtown Pittsburgh. All express routes end in 3 or 8. The distinction between 1, 6 and 2, 7 numbered routes has been lost to time, but the 2, 7 numbered routes were originally considered "limited service" routes. Flyers use a stand-alone letter (e.g., B Bellevue Flyer) or a combination of letters (e.g., OV Ohio Valley Flyer). Most Flyer routes operate only during peak hours on weekdays, but there are exceptions, such as the 28X Airport Flyer and LP Lincoln Park Flyer, both of which operate seven days a week.

Not all routes with the same name are always identical - there are some routes with varying extensions. For example, the 21C WEST PARK route has three different variations: the longest route goes all the way to The Mall at Robinson; a variation is a subset of the longest, and goes only to Steubenville Pike; the shortest variation goes only as far as Kennedy Center.[29] Passengers should take care to board the right route by checking the signs and schedules, asking the driver, or calling the Port Authority customer service number.

Numbers ending in 4 or 9 are crosstown routes that serve the city of Pittsburgh while numbers ending in 5 or 0 are suburban crosstown or feeder routes that do not enter the city. Buses that carry a U next to the number serve a university (typically the University of Pittsburgh) and are known as "U buses".

Three digits are used for routes that cross downtown, such as 100 West Busway - All Stops via Downtown & Oakland, and 500 Highland Park - Bellevue.

A few route designations violate the convention in some way. For example, the 56U does not go downtown.

Light Rail/Subway (the "T")

The Port Authority operates a 25-mile (40 km) light rail system called the "T," which provides service from downtown Pittsburgh's subway to a number of neighborhoods and suburbs south of the city on an above ground light rail.

Bus operations

The Port Authority operates 962 buses on 180 bus routes in Allegheny County, and also service extends into neighboring Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties. Most of the bus routes operate seven days a week between the hours of 4:00 am to 2:00 am, some routes do not operate on Sundays or the weekends and holidays.

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Busways

In December 1977 Port Authority unveiled its first dedicated busway, the 4.3-mile South Busway, which combined bus and light rail routes into an efficient and quicker connection between downtown Pittsburgh and the South Hills area. The Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway, which used express routes to connect downtown with nearby east side communities like Swissvale, Wilkinsburg and Homewood followed in February 1983. On Sunday, September 10, 2000 Port Authority opened its West Busway, which provides service from downtown Pittsburgh to Carnegie. In 2003, the East Busway was expanded by a few miles to its current terminus in Swissvale and Rankin.

Bus fleet

As of October 2008 there were 962 buses in its lineup:

171 Regular high-floor transit buses (40-ft versions)

  • 171 NovaBus Classics (last transit system in the United States to receive Classics)
    • 2600–2770 1996 (Detroit Diesel Series 50/ Allison B400R)
      • The original 2600 was wrecked. In Atlanta, Georgia during the 1996 Olympics, some of the Nova classics were used for shuttles, fresh off the assembly line. When 2600 was wrecked, Novabus built Port Authority another one. It has some features on it that make it unique, such as different front doors, and a different wiring set-up.

60 Regular high-floor transit buses (35-ft versions)

  • Gillig Phantoms
    • 1501–1560 2003 (Detroit Diesel Series 50)

555 Regular low-floor transit buses (40-ft versions)

  • 396 Gillig Advantage Low Floors
    • 5201–5365 2003 (Detroit Series 50 / Allison 5 speed)
    • 5371–5376 2005 (diesel/electric hybrids)
    • 5401–5460 2005 (Detroit Series 50 / ZF 5 speed)
    • 5501–5590 2006 (Cummins ISM / Voith 4 speed)
    • 5600-5625 2009 (Cummins ISM / Voith 4 speed)
    • 5625-5679 2009 (Cummins ISL / Voith 4 speed)
      • Note: 5290 was damaged after a dump truck slammed into the vehicle as it was picking up passengers. It has since been rebuilt and repainted. to fit into the 55XX paint scheme. There is a new fleet of 56XX buses with different color schemes as well. The Colors are Darker and Richer than previous 55XX spring Colors. The 56XX are more like Fall colors. On the 56XX the exhaust pipe is different than the standard pipe found on previous Port Authority buses with the exception of #5588 being the First gillig Low Floor to sport the New Style. 56XX buses are equipped with Diesel Particle Filters, L.E.D. interior lights, hand rail on driver-side wheel well, full glass doors, different flooring and many other smaller features.
  • 159 Neoplan Low-Floor Transliners
    • 5001–5160 1999 (Detroit Diesel Series 50/ Allison B400R)
    • 5019 caught fire and was destroyed.

On the 56XX the exhaust pipe is different than the standard pipe found on previous Port Authority buses with the exception of #5588 being the First gillig Low Floor to sport the New Style.

88 Rush hour/commuter high-floor transit buses

  • 40 Neoplan Metroliner suburban commuter coaches
    • 1901–1940 2000 (Detroit Series 60 / Allison B500R)
    • #'s 1902,1905,1909,1910 & 1917 are repainted coaches.
  • 48 Neoplan 60-foot articulated
    • 3051–3075 1998 (Detroit Series 50 / Allison B500R)
    • Thses busses have commuter seats like on the Metroliners, and are used on the 68J and 61C routes respectively
    • #3059,#3060 & #3075 have been repainted at the Manchester Shops
    • 3101–3125 2005/2006 (Detroit Series 60 / Allison B500R)
    • These buses have regular, transit seating used on the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway, 71D, and occasionally, the 61A, 81B & 86B respectively
    • 3103 is no longer in service.
    • These are the last Neoplan USA buses ever manufactured.

160 Mid Bus Shuttle Transit Vehicles (STV) (mostly used on crosstown or feeder routes)

  • 8510–8589 1998 (no longer in revenue service)
  • 8590–8599 2002
  • 8601–8670 2003

Retired fleet

This list featured buses models that were the most used on PAT routes. The companies listed are in the order that they made their debut in the PAT fleet.

GMC Old Look series

  • Pre-PAT:
    • 200-375 (1952 to 1959; 200-317 were Pittsburgh Railways Co.)
    • 400-410; 425-459 (1953-1955; Single-door transit)
    • 475-496; 700-766; 770-790; 800-902 (1947-1959; Suburban configuration)
  • Post-PAT:
    • 1800-1844 (1965; rebuilt prior to purchase)

GMC New Look (Fishbowl) series

  • 35 ft Transit:
    • Pre-PAT (prior to acquisition in 1964)
      • 500-545 (1959/60; 96 in version. 501-520 were former PRC buses)
      • 550-554 (1961; 96 in version, air-conditioned)
      • 570-572 (1960; 96 in version, single front-door transit)
      • 580-584 (1960; 96 in version, suburban configuration)
    • Purchased by PAT (1964 onward)
      • 1000-1049 (1964; 102 inch version, air-conditioned)
      • 1100-1174 (1966; 96 inch version, air-conditioned)
  • 40 ft Suburban (all air-conditioned):
    • 1910-1924 (1971)
    • 1970-1979 (1966)
    • 1980-1987 (1970)
  • 40 ft Transit (The 2000s on up were air-conditioned):
    • 1959 (Built 1961, purchased 1964; was rebuilt as a prototype)
    • 1963 (Built 1963, purchased 1964; later used as mobile display/info center vehicle)
    • 2000-2099 (1964)
    • 2013 (1964; replacement for original 2013 that was destroyed en route to Pittsburgh and the only GM-built bus to have a bus number match its serial number)
    • 2100-2234 (1965)
    • 2250-2264 (1965)
    • 2300-2399 (1966)
    • 2265-2266 (1967)
    • 2400-2584 (1971)

Flxible New Looks (All air-conditioned)

  • 1200-1249 (1975; 35 ft/102 in. version)
  • 1500-1522 (1977/1978; 30 ft/96 in. version)
  • 2600-2619 (1975; 40 ft/102 in version)
  • 245 Flxible Metros Most Metros have been decommissioned, but a handful remains as backup busses.

Original order:
2300–2449 1993
Option order:
2450–2459 1994
2460–2496 1995
2505–2515 1994
2516–2524 1995
2541–2550 1994
2551–2560 1995
2575–2584 1994
2585–2594 1995


Differences between Flxible orders at Port Authority:


• The original order had the Luminator ODK installed in front of operator, mounted in the bulkhead. The option order had Luminator ODK mounted to the left of operator on the electrical access door.

• The original order had vinyl blue seats with single forward-facing seats on the right side of the bus. No further buses vinyl seats or with single forward-facing seats were ordered. The option order marked the beginning of cloth seats and double, forward-facing seats becoming the standard throughout on Port Authority buses.

• The original order had a Voith 3-speed transmission, while the option order had Allison 3-speed.

• Various minor differences: the option order makes a whining sound that is not present in original order; the option order has transparent rear doors while the original order has glass on the top only; interior coach number font is different; the box behind the operator's seat on the option order is smaller, allowing the seat to slide back farther.

• Originally ordered 150, but Flxible ceased operations, thus the gaps in the 1995 order.

• 2446 was destroyed when it rear-ended a parked 18-wheeler. 2550 and 2581 were destroyed when they crashed into each other in a January 1996 snowstorm on the East Busway. This accident resulted in the death of the operator of 2581, the termination of the operator of 2550 and many injuries, but no passengers died.

• A good handful are at the East Liberty Division awaiting to be sent to NIMCO in New Jersey to be scrapped.

AM General (All air-conditioned)

  • 1260-1299 (1978; 35 ft/102 in. version)
  • 2650-2789 (1978; 40 ft/102 in. version)

MAN/AM General Articulated

  • 3000-3019 (1979; Built as MAN/AMG vehicle)
  • 3050-3079 (1983; Built as MAN vehicle)

GMC RTSII series

  • 1400-1454 (1980; 35 ft/96 in. version)
  • 2800-2870 (1980; 40 ft/102 in. version)

Motor Coach Industries MC-9 series

  • 1930-1945 (1980; carried MCI tag)
  • 1950-1969 (1984; carried TMC tag)

Neoplan Pennliners

  • 35 ft versions:
    • 1600-1644 (1983)
  • 40 ft versions:
    • 3500-3864 (1982/83)
    • 3900-3959 (1986)

Orion Bus Industries (All buses featured single seats on the right side facing forward)

  • 35 ft versions:
    • 1650-1687 (1992)
  • 40 ft versions:
    • 2000-2119 (1990)
    • 2120-2124 (1990; CNG fueled)
    • 2200-2289 (1992)
    • 2290-2299 (1993)

Ikarus (Now NABI) Articulated

  • 3020-3044 (1991)

Other services

Port Authority operates more than 60 park-and-ride lots in Allegheny County. The Port Authority also owns sixty-six transit bridges, eleven highway bridges and four tunnels.[30]

Under the Port Authority-sponsored ACCESS program, a private contractor provides door-to-door service to elderly and disabled passengers throughout the county, seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight. Reservations are placed one day in advance.

Between 2001 and 2004 the Port Authority worked with the local community group Ground Zero to create and operate the "Ultra Violet Loop"; known to some as the "party bus", the UV Loop bus was special service operated on Friday and Saturday nights through the early morning, serving city nightlife and university centers [31]. The UV Loop bus was part of special evaluative service supported in part by local foundations & businesses. While it was well regarded in the abstract, it never achieved the ridership and consistent service needed to continue without external support. The "Ultra Violet Loop" name is a play on the Pittsburgh/Allegheny County Belt System.[32]

Park and Ride Locations

  • *Franklin Park Borough permit required to use the facility.
  • **Fee required. $2 per day at Memorial Hall and South Hills Village. $5 per day at Wabash.

Future of the Port Authority

The Port Authority is currently in the midst of a major service overhaul called the Transit Development Plan in which the fare structure is to be changed, routing and timing is to be altered to make service simpler, and route number conventions will be altered. Furthermore, at the behest of several local officials, the Port Authority and other local transit agencies are also considering more long-term service changes such as expansions of the light rail system and the establishment of commuter rail service.

Transit Development Plan

The Transit Development Plan was approved by the Port Authority Board of Directors on October 23, 2009, and seeks vast and dramatic improvements of the Port Authority's service.[33] Many of the changes are drastic, and virtually every aspect of the system is to be modified in some way.[20] A major rationale behind the service redesign is to better meet demand due to population shifts in the area.[34] The Transit Development Plan is also expected to make service easier to understand, eliminate route variants, consolidate stops, run buses and light rail vehicles on clockface headways, and reduce the number of non-revenue bus and light rail trips.[35][36]

The fare system is to be simplified under the Transit Development Plan. The current system of (not counting the downtown Free Fare Zone) three main zones and two transition zones is to be simplified into two fare-paying zones with the downtown Free Fare Zone left intact.[36] The two transition zones are to be merged into either Zone One or Zone Two, and Zone Three is to be merged into Zone Two.[36] Furthermore, the Port Authority plans on introducing smart cards for fare payment in the near future.[37] A slight fare increase is to be the first change undertaken as a part of the TDP, as the Zone Two fare will increase by fifteen cents and transfers will cost a quarter more come January 1, 2010; however, the Zone One fare will remain at $2.[33]

The route system used by the Port Authority will be radically altered by the TDP. The number of active routes used by the Port Authority will be reduced from the current level of 186 routes to 124 routes; however, transit service levels of will remain the same or actually increase for the vast majority of Port Authority riders under the plan.[36][38] Many routes that duplicate service will be consolidated, and systemwide service levels will actually increase by eight percent.[33]

The current numbering conventions are also slated to changed dramatically. Light rail lines, bus routes that travel solely on one of the busways, and bus routes that spend part of their route on a busway are to be renumbered according to a color-coded system.[38] Light rail lines via Beechview are to be a part of the Red Line, light rail lines via Overbrook are to be a part of the Blue Line, and the light rail line via Allentown is to be a part of the Brown Line. For the busway system, all routes using the East Busway are to get a purple designation, all routes using the West Busway are to get a green designation, all routes using the South Busway are to get a yellow designation, and all routes using the Interstate 279 HOV Lane are to get an orange designation.[38] For example, the AV Allegheny Valley Flyer, which spends part of its route on the East Busway, is slated to be re-designated the P10 Allegheny Valley under this system.[39] Local bus routes, which are almost always designated by a number followed by a letter, are to simply become numbers under the TDP; however, the counterclockwise numbering system is to be retained.[38] For example, the 51C Carrick is slated to be re-designated as the 51 Carrick.[40]

Another key service change that may be implemented as a part of the Transit Development Plan is bus rapid transit that runs through Oakland and several other regions apart from its three currently existing busways.[41] According to this plan, the agency seeks to purchase specialized buses that run on natural gas, have off-vehicle fare collection and traffic signal priority to reduce travel times.[42] The agency is currently seeking around $80 million of financial aid from the Federal government under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to help fund the new bus rapid transit system.[41]

Potential capital expansions

Several capital expansions in the future have been proposed from various sources. The construction of a light rail line from Oakland to Pittsburgh International Airport has been proposed by County Executive Dan Onorato and Congressman Mike Doyle, and would be projected to cost about $3.5 billion.[43] Doyle has recently submitted a request to the Federal government to study the feasibility of the project. In addition to the proposed light rail line, the studies for the establishment of a commuter rail line from downtown to Arnold along the right-of-way of the Allegheny Valley Railroad and from downtown to Greensburg along the right-of-way of Norfolk Southern railroad tracks are also underway. [44] According to the feasibility study, it is unclear whether the Port Authority, the Westmoreland County Transit Authority, or an as-yet created independent agency would operate the railway if it was constructed.[45] Congressman Jason Altmire has been a key proponent of the commuter rail project.

Images

See also

References

  1. ^ 2008 Profile
  2. ^ APTA: 20 Largest Bus and Trolleybus Agencies
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Port Authority History
  4. ^ Onorato, Bland Announce Proposed Port Authority Fare and Service Changes, Request Public Input and Comment -- January 3, 2007. Allegheny County government release.
  5. ^ a b c d e The Early Years 1964-1972. Antique Motor Coach Association of Pennsylvania. Retrieved May 26, 2009.
  6. ^ Potter, Chris (November 20, 2008). You Had to Ask. Pittsburgh City Paper.
  7. ^ Steigerwald, Bill. (November 27, 2005). True tales of transit folley. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  8. ^ a b c d The MOD Years, 1972-1980. Antique Motor Coach Association of Pennsylvania. Retrieved May 26, 2009.
  9. ^ a b Chessie System -- PATrain. Retrieved May 26, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Silver, Jonathan D (November 23, 2008). How '92 transit strike ended. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  11. ^ a b c The 80's at PAT. Antique Motor Coach Association of Pennsylvania. Retrieved May 26, 2009.
  12. ^ a b Brown, David M (June 2, 2004). Rebuilt Overbrook line takes passengers back to the future. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
  13. ^ a b c Grata, Joe (September 21, 2006). At Port Authority, 'gold standard' is old standard. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  14. ^ American Public Transit Association -- Bus Rapid Transit. Retrieved May 26, 2009.
  15. ^ Cranberry Township Newsletter. August 2000.
  16. ^ Grata, Joe (June 7, 2003). East Busway addition nearly completed. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  17. ^ Silver, Jonathan D (June 17, 2007). Cutbacks at strapped Port Authority take effect today. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  18. ^ Bumstead, Brad and Mike Wereschagin (January 12, 2008). For politicians, the pour tax tasted smooth. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  19. ^ (November 25, 2008). Port Authority, union reach tentative agreement on new pact. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  20. ^ a b Schmitz, Jon (October 24, 2009). Port Authority fare hikes, overhaul of service due in new year. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  21. ^ Bumsted, Brad; Mike Wereschagin (November 29, 2009). "Lobbyist expenses wasteful, critics say". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_655376.html.  
  22. ^ Green, Elwin (January 24, 2006). New Port Authority buses become poetry in motion. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  23. ^ Port Authority Zone Fare Structure
  24. ^ Port Authority HP Holiday Park flyer schedule.
  25. ^ a b How to Pay Fares -- Port Authority.
  26. ^ "CRCOG Northwest Corridor Study – Free Fare Zone Analysis" (PDF). Capitol Region Council of Governments (Hartford, CT). January 25, 2008. http://www.crcog.org/publications/TransportationDocs/NW/NW_FreeFareZoneReport.pdf. Retrieved 2009-04-15.  
  27. ^ Port Authority Fares and Passes
  28. ^ Hart, Peter (June 28, 2007). Pitt, Port Authority far apart on transit deal. The University of Pittsburgh Times.
  29. ^ http://www.portauthority.org/PAAC/apps/pdfs/21C.pdf 21C SCHEDULE
  30. ^ Grata, Joe (December 4, 2005). Getting Around, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  31. ^ (September 3, 2004). Port Authority's UltraViolet loop route to end, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  32. ^ Allegheny County's belt system. PennsylvaniaHighways.com
  33. ^ a b c Santoni, Matthew (October 24, 2009).Port Authority approves overhaul, fare increase. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  34. ^ Schmitz, Jon (January 24, 2009). Port Authority riders face turbulent year. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  35. ^ Schmitz, Jon (May 4, 2009). Port Authority to overhaul transit service. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  36. ^ a b c d (September 6, 2009). Ride smart: The Port Authority attemps a brave new overhaul. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  37. ^ Schmitz, Jon (March 21, 2009). Port Authority delays overhaul of bus routes. The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette.
  38. ^ a b c d TDP Proposed Route Maps. Port Authority of Allegheny County.
  39. ^ AV-P10 TDP proposed route map. Port Authority of Allegheny County.
  40. ^ 51C-51 proposed route map. Port Authority of Allegheny County.
  41. ^ a b Schmitz, Jon (November 23, 2009). $80.7 M sought for bus network. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  42. ^ (November 23, 2009). Port Authority of Allegheny County Seeks Federal Stimulus Money for 'Rapid Bus'. KDKA-TV.
  43. ^ Schmitz, Jon (May 18, 2009). Congress members submit wish lists for transit, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  44. ^ Cholodofsky, Rich (June 20, 2009). Cost of rail line linking Greensburg, Arnold with Pittsburgh lower than expected. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  45. ^ Westmoreland Transit Commuter Rail Feasibility Study

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