ACE 100 Days: 18,000+ Residents Said Affordable, Reliable Transit Was Important in the All-In Allegheny Survey. So What’s Next?

Image description: More than a dozen people stand on a staircase smiling and holding signs reading “All in Allegheny” and “Reliable, Modern Transportation and Infrastructure” with County Executive Sara Innamorato in the center.

Transit riders and workers are setting the agenda and continuing to work toward our goals

This past week, new County Executive Sara Innamorato completed her first 100 Days in office, posted the results of the Countywide All-In Allegheny survey of resident needs and priorities, and launched her Administration’s All-In Action Plan, which lays out the County’s agenda for the next few years.

In November 2023, Pittsburghers for Public Transit’s Executive Director Laura Chu Wiens was named a Co-Chair of new County Executive Sara Innamorato’s Transition Committee for Transportation and Infrastructure. Over the last several months, Laura facilitated the committee’s members, which also included PPT member Alisa Grishman and ATU Local 85 President Business Agent Ross Nicotero, in developing and sharing the All in Allegheny survey. This survey was the most expansive and inclusive outreach effort in our County’s history.

The results? More than 18,000 Allegheny County residents overwhelmingly named affordable, reliable public transit as top priority for the new ACE Administration. 

  • Allegheny County residents identified having a low-income transit fare program as critical to addressing the needs of workers, placing it as a #2 priority for workforce needs in the survey of more than 18,000 Allegheny County respondents.
  • Under the broad topic of infrastructure, survey respondents also selected affordable, reliable public transportation options as a the #2 priority overall. Residents living in the City of Pittsburgh and immediate surrounds, and those between the ages of 18-44, placed it as their top choice. Importantly, those that selected public transportation as their highest infrastructure priority were also those that had access to a baseline quality of bus service or the T; in other words, residents reliably see the value of public transportation if it’s made available to them.

The All In Action Plan that County Executive Innamorato published on her 100th Day in office is now live. While it makes mention of some transit rider priorities- launching the permanent low-income fare program (but at a 50% discount), expanding language access on transit, expanding transit-oriented development and housing affordability, and asking Pittsburgh Regional Transit to consider adding a service expansion plan to its Bus Network redesign process- there is much more that we expect to achieve with this new Administration. In early 2023, transit riders developed the list of demands for the County Executive, which we will continue to elevate as part of this year’s #VoteTransit bucket of our annual Strategic Plan. 

Transit riders and workers with Pittsburghers for Public Transit will continue to organize towards these six important goals over the course of County Executive’s tenure: 

  1. For a Permanent Zero Transit Fare program for SNAP Households
  2. For Rider Representation and Board Accountability In Decision-Making at Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT)
  3. For Equitable and Expanded Transit Funding (like supporting the statewide increase to transit funding for service, and launching a PRT Bulk Discount Employer Pass Program)
  4. For Fully Accessible Transit, including for Disability and language access. 
  5. For Policies Ensuring High-Quality Affordable Housing near High-Quality Transit 
  6. For Reliable, Expanded Transit Service 
    • To work with PRT to ramp up its recruitment strategy and incentives, and speak with transit workers to address morale so that workers feel supported in the role.
    • To address the historic schedule unreliability by ensuring that PRT schedulers provide adequate run time for transit operators to get to their stops. 
    • To direct PRT to develop a transit service expansion plan, or “visionary transit service plan” during their Bus Network Redesign

In just these last few months, there has been a clear and positive shift in the level of collaboration between the office of the County Executive, Pittsburgh Regional Transit, and PPT. With a transit champion in County Executive Innamorato, we look forward to advancing transit rider priorities over the next few years– and meeting our region’s economic, environmental and equity needs at the same time!