Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT) has posted a date for major service changes coming to the 61D, 71A, 71C, and 71D this Fall. These changes will significantly impact riders going to healthcare centers, universities, jobs, shopping destinations, Pittsburgh neighborhoods, and surrounding boroughs.
How will these changes impact you? Share your story now.
PRT’s Downtown to Oakland Bus Rapid Transit project, now called PRTX, has been in the works for more than a decade, and the agency has just posted notices to riders with a confirmed date for the first round of service changes accompanying this project:
October 1, 2023.
In this blog, we are focusing on these recently widely-published changes for BRT routes. If you want more info on what riders have been saying about these service changes and this project, read our previous blogs at the end.
What is happening to the 61D, 71A, 71C, and 71D?!
PRT’s new Bus Rapid Transit service plan will have major impacts for the 61D, 71A, 71C, 71D. Their plan says that these routes will turn around in Oakland and no longer service Uptown and downtown. For example:
If you need help visualizing this: The 61D will go down Fifth Avenue to Robinson Street, turn around at Robinson, make a right on Craft, then turn left and left onto Forbes Avenue. The bus will then become outbound. For the 71A, 71C, and 71D the buses will go inbound via Fifth Avenue until Robinson Street, turn around, then go back on to Fifth Ave but in the opposite direction this time, going outbound.
The 61A, 61B, 61C, and 71B will all continue from the start of the routes through downtown and be able to use the BRT bus-only lanes.
*Wait, you say “what about the P3”-(wasn’t that one of the routes slated for changes as well)? Good question. We published a previous blog on the win for riders reversing the proposed routing changes to the P3.*
So, what does this mean for riders??
1. Loss of direct connections:
With the 61D, 71A, 71C, and 71D ending in Oakland, riders will lose the direct connections to Downtown and Uptown. Destinations like Mercy Hospital, Duquesne University, and PPG Paints Arena – where thousands of people travel for jobs, healthcare, higher education, and recreation daily- will no longer be directly accessible to these routes.
Conversely, these changes will also mean Uptown residents will lose direct access via these routes to Shadyside Hospital, Hillman Cancer Center, Neighborhood of Homewood, and other points in the East End.
Uptown riders would also lose a direct connection using the 61D to the Waterfront shopping destination in Homestead.
Some riders from Homewood would lose a direct connection to Uptown destinations – Mercy Hospital or Duquesne University. They are forced to transfer to a different bus in Oakland, which could add time to a trip.
2. Service Frequency Reduction and Overcrowding:
The 61A, 61B, 61C and 71B will now have riders from the short-turned buses getting on to continue to travel downtown
All of the redundancy of routes that we currently see on 61A, 61B, 61C, 61D and 71A, 71B, 71C, 71D between Oakland to Downtown made service really frequent. Reducing the routes serving the corridor between Oakland to Downtown by half means that riders will have less service frequency in that corridor.
3. Double Fare for Cash Paying Riders:
While riders will still be able to access these locations mentioned above, a transfer will now be required (which means the overall trip will take longer, and people paying cash will need to pay an additional $2.75).
In a previous blog post, we’ve discussed the disproportionate cost burden faced by riders who pay with cash. Read New Fare Changes Leave Largest Inequities In Place for more info.
4. Accessibility on Transit:
New transfers may cause additional burden onto disabled riders who will have to exit and then reboard a connection going inbound or outbound in Oakland.
5. Modest Service Increases on 61B, 61C, 71B, 82, 87, P1, P3, and P7:
To alleviate hardship on riders who are losing direct connections to downtown on the 61A, 61B, 61C and 71B, PRT has added modest service increases on the 61B, 61C, 71B, 82, 87, P3, and P7. Additionally, service will be increased on the P1.
How else would these changes impact you? What can riders do now?
Clearly, riders have a lot to say about how these changes could impact how, when, and where they take transit. If you take the 61D, 71A, 71C, 71D, we want to hear how this will affect you. Tell us your story by completing this form or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be organizing with a lot of affected riders and transit workers to speak up about the impact of these changes in the coming weeks.
You can get involved in our organization by visiting the “Get Involved” tab and registering for our Monthly Meeting on September 13, 2023.