Big Service Changes: PRT plans to stop service on the 61D, 71A, 71C, 71D to Uptown and Downtown

image description: Repost from, a flyer from PRT reading “Starting Sunday, October 1, 2023, the 61D, 71A, 71C and 71D will no longer serve Uptown and downtown Pittsburgh. The above routes will turn around at Robinson Street and begin their outbound trips on Forbes (61D) or Fifth (71A-C-D) avenues. Riders heading to Uptown or downtown Pittsburgh can transfer to the 61A, 61B, 61C or 71B (no routing changes are being made to those routes. Transfers within three hours are free with a ConnectCard or mobile payment. Riders paying with cash must play another fare.” It shows two maps of proposed routing changes on the 61A and then on the 71A, 71C, 71D.

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?!

image description: maps show the new routes being proposed for the 61D, 71A, 71C, 71D where all will turn around in Oakland at Robinson St.

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 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.

Share your story and advocate for change

Sara Innamorato Moves On to General Election as the Only Candidate With a Transit Platform

Image Description: Graphic with two sides. Left side has a photo in color or Sara Innamorato. There are two boxes labled “#VoteTransit Q&A” and “Transit Ride-Along w PPT”. Both have checkmarks. On the right side there is a photo in black and wite of Joe Rockey. The same checkboxes are under his photo without a checkmark.

Transit riders are one set closer to deciding the next Allegheny County Executive – now more than ever we need to be vocal with our demands!

On May 16, Sara Innamorato won the Democratic nomination for Allegheny County Executive. Joe Rockey won the Republican nomination for the seat. Both will face off in the General Election on November 7, 2023. The Allegheny County Executive is the top-dog when it comes to public transit in Southwestern PA, so it is critical that transit rider get active in this election. The County Executive controls the majority of appointments to the Pittsburgh Regional Transit Board of Directors which control the transit agency’s $500+ million Operating Budget and $200+ million Capital Budget. Additionally, the County Executive controls board appointments and hundreds of millions of budget dollars at numerous County entities that directly impact the public transit system and its riders, such as the County Housing Authority, the County Department of Human Services, and the County Economic Development agency.

A permanent zero-fare program for all SNAP/EBT households has been a central demand from transit riders through this County Executive campaign. Now is your chance to help keep the momentum high by signing our petition and pledging to #VoteTransit in November to put a true champion for transit into our top office!

image description: Rep Sara Innamorato speaks to PPT Board Chair Verna Johnson during a March ’23 bus ride along on the 82 Lincoln

Sara Innamorato is the only candidate who rode the bus with PPT. And she was the only candidate to respond PPT’s #VoteTransit Candidate Questionnaire

The County Executive has the power to transform transit for local riders, so Pittsburghers for Public Transit has worked hard through the Allegheny County Primary Election season to advocate, educate and organize around the importance of public transit. We invited all candidates to ride the bus with us to see firsthand the issues as well as the demands that transit riders and workers have. We published our #VoteTransit Candidate Questionnaire to hear from candidates directly about their platforms. We’ve launched petitions and actions to allow riders to speak up for their issues. 

Of the two partys’ current nominees, only Representative Sara Innamorato accepted our invitation to ride the bus with transit riders and workers, and she was the only one to submit her answers on the #VoteTransit Questionnaire. Joe Rockey was invited to both opportunities but declined response. We will continue to extend every invitation to him and seek his input on the future of transit.

image description: Sara Innamorato (left) listens intently to Ms. Sherai Richardson (right), who is a participant in the fare pilot, at the bus stop in Lincolm-Lemington on a cold afternoon. Ms. Verna Johnson (center) sits near the stop waiting for the bus as well.

Sara Innamorato rode the bus and committed to make a zero-fare program permanent for all low-income riders in Allegheny County – now we have to hold her to it. Sign the petition to strengthen the demand!

During the ride along, Sara Innamorato listened to Ms. Sherai Richardson, transit rider and participant in the Allegheny County Discounted Fare Pilot program. Ms. Richardson spoke about how this pilot has improved the lives of her neighbors. Over 14,000 people in Allegheny County are currently enrolled in the pilot. We know that unfortunately, the cost of transit fare remains a barrier to even more of our neighbors. PPT will continue to fight for affordable transit and a zero-fare program for low-income riders. Ms. Innamorato then boarded the 82 Lincoln with transit riders Ms. Teaira Collins and Ms. Verna Johnson, joined by PRT Operator Instructor Sasha Craig. Sasha Craig impressed the importance of the PRT workforce, scheduling constraints, and the urgent need to hire more operators to keep service running. Along the route, spanning from East Liberty to Downtown, Ms. Innamorato learned from riders how the impacts of reduced scheduling, aging sidewalk infrastructure, and connections to affordable housing and neighborhood amenities look vastly different along a route that spans multiple neighborhoods. 

Sara made some other big commitments in ther #VoteTransit Candidate Questionnaire

In addition to the invitation for a ride-along, each candidate was sent a questionnaire highlighting rider and worker demands of the next county executive and asking candidates to detail their vision for transit in Allegheny County. Check out the #VoteTransit County Executive Candidate Q&A blog to find out all the candidates’ responses. In her questionnaire, Sara Innamorato stated that she plans to commit to: 

  • Appoint at least one rider and one operator to the PRT board
  • Put a moratorium on service reductions and cuts
  • Create a permanent zero-fare program for all SNAP/EBT households in Allegheny County
  • Build more affordable, transit-oriented development
  • Work with Mayor Gainey and other local leaders to invest infrastructure dollars to improve transit, and pass pro-transit zoning reforms at the municipal level
  • Establish more communication between PRT and the community and transit advocates 
  • Fully implement a bulk pass discount program to get large employers to pre-pay for transit passes for their employees
  • Seek “payments in lou of tax” agreements or additional taxes from large employers and non-profits
  • Create a new position at PRT focused on language accessibility and disability access

We await to hear from Joe Rockey on his position and priorities.

Transit riders made transit a top priority in this County Executive race. Now we need your help to keep our momentum going. 

As the dust settles from this primary election, one thing is abundantly clear: transit riders made public transit a top priority in the County Executive race. We brought energy across every neighborhood and every borough, and have gotten a step closer to deciding how to make our system better serve those who need it most. 

The only way we can push towards transit justice and gain the transit we need and deserve, is if we all do our part. 

Can you help fuel a successful victory to the finish line of free transit, improved and accessible transit with no communities left behind? Donate to our transit rider organizing today!

New 100 Days Transit Platform Paints Achievable Vision for Incoming Mayor of Pittsburgh

[Image Description: photo of a group of PPT members, community allies, and elected officials gathering at the Fifth and Atwood Bus Station to release the Pittsburgh 100 Days Transit Platform. They hold signs that read “Pittsburgh 100 Days Transit Platform”, “Transit Moves Us”, “Equitable Housing Now”, and “Food Justice is Housing Justice is Economic Justice is Housing Justice”.

Press Conference to Launch the Pittsburgh 100 Days Transit Platform lays out an ambitious but achievable workplan for the new city administration.

On December 16th, riders, workers, and allies rallied in Oakland to launch the Pittsburgh 100 Day Transit Platform for the next Mayor of Pittsburgh. This platform highlights the role that the City of Pittsburgh plays in ensuring that all residents have access to quality, accessible transit, and puts forward a list of 18 priority actions that Mayor-Elect Gainey can pursue in his first 100 days.

The press conference included a packed list of passionate speakers spoke on the key categories of the 100 Days Platform during the press conference, ranging from building affordable housing next to frequent transit corridors to relocating abandoned bus shelters, to current routes and fixing broken sidewalks.

See the full platfom here and sign on to support this vision

In the City of Pittsburgh, Bus Lines Are Lifelines

With the dawn of a new mayoral administration, all of us have the opportunity to make history and immediately improve the experience for riders. PPT’s 100 Days Transit Policy Platform is about getting folks where they need to go and ensuring that our neighbors can safely travel to a bus stop without fear of mobility limitations. Local transit initiatives have the power to map Pittsburgh’s future cityscape while also improving housing equity and creating economic growth for all residents. As Executive Director Laura Chu Wiens stated “Public transit is essential for a healthy, economically robust, equitable, sustainable, world-class city…We have this incredible asset in this robust public transit system in our City, which leads to enormous and demonstrable benefits in reductions in congestion, improvements in public health, transportation cost savings for households.” It is past time for the City of Pittsburgh to do its’ part to make this future a reality.

Thank you once again to Bill McDowell, Teireik Williams, Kevin Joa, Pastor Love, Ms. Saundra Cole, and Rev. Sally Jo Snyder who shared their stories.

Be a part of this historic moment for transit and support the Pittsburgh 100 Days Transit Platform by clicking here, listen to Laura’s interview with the Confluence on WESA, and follow us on social media @Pgh4PubTransit for updates as we countdown to day 100! 

Check out the news coverage of the Pittsburgh 100 Days Transit Platform launch:

Sign on to support below

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Finally, We Can Win Better Transit from Homestead to McKeesport

Image description: A view down PA-837 Duquesne Blvd near Kennywood Park of Port Authority’s vision for the Homestead to McKeesport Transportation and Pedestrian project. There are renderings in golden yellow of new street lights, benches, shelters, trash bins, and a ticket vending machine. There are red painted lines for possible bus only lanes, green sketches of trees on the Kennywood side and a pedestrian island in the center.

It’s GO Time. Homestead to McKeesport Transit Improvements are within reach!

Let’s make sure we see through to the finish line our demands for quality transit Beyond the East Busway: the Homestead to McKeesport edition. 

The Context: 

Years of organizing from riders led to the Port Authority’s recent adoption of the NextTransit long-range plan to build faster transit corridors with nicer transit stops beyond the East Busway. One of the top-line priorities that we have fought so hard for is the improvement of the 61C corridor in the Mon Valley, and now it’s happening! Port Authority is working on a Homestead-McKeesport Transit Improvement Project and will be holding virtual public meetings on

JOIN US. Tuesday, December 7th at 12:00-1:30pm and 6:30-8:00pm. Register to attend online or by phone at 412-566-5184.

You can see an interactive map and information about the proposed project here.

What’s in the Current Proposal that will Affect Riders:

There are several changes that the Port Authority is asking for feedback on, that are included in their planning documents. Specifically, 

Bus Stop Removal or “Consolidation” – The Port Authority is proposing to eliminate bus stops, which they argue will address safety, bus speed and reliability issues. We have serious concerns about these, particularly because many stops proposed for elimination in Homestead have high ridership and high numbers of wheelchair boardings (you can read more about PPT’s position on bus stop consolidation here). Some bus stops proposed for elimination are the stops at 8th Ave and West, 8th and Ann, 8th Ave and Dickson, 8th and Andrew, and Kennywood Blvd at #4000.

Rerouting of service – The Port Authority sees an opportunity to speed up buses along this corridor by shifting some bus service, but riders need to evaluate these proposals for their impact on transit access. Most notably, the Port Authority is considering moving the Duquesne section of the 61C from 2nd Ave to Duquesne Blvd, and to reroute 53L to stay on Amity Street rather than it’s current routing on Ann and McClure streets.

Bus stop improvements to select stops – The Port Authority is considering bus stop improvements to some stops like bigger station areas, benches, and better signage.

Walking/safety improvements – The Port Authority is proposing walking and safety improvements like pedestrian islands in the middle of the street to allow for shorter street crossings, crosswalks, pedestrian crossing signals and nearby bus stop sidewalk buildout.  

Speed improvements – The Port Authority is proposing some street improvements to give buses priority over cars on the road. Some notable improvements include adding a transit queue jump at the Homestead Grays Bridge to keep buses from getting stuck at the light on 8th Ave, and adding some short bus only lanes on 8th Ave.

Check out the current Port Authority Interactive Map for full details, and offer your feedback

So what are some things we could be advocating for?

This is an incredible opportunity to make transit fast, comfortable, accessible, safe, and supportive of local development. We want to dream big. One way to think about what we want to see is by identifying what is wrong, so we’re asking you to think through these questions and bring your answers to Tuesday’s meeting:

Safety – Where are the places along this corridor that are unsafe for riders — getting to and from the buses? While waiting for buses? And what would make the access to transit more safe for riders? What does a safe stop look like? How will Port Authority ensure the safety of pedestrians and riders during the construction phase(s)? How do they plan to install the pedestrian islands when roads are already at the point where they cannot be wid ened further?

Bus Stop Amenities – What amenities do you see at other stops that you’d want to see at your stop? What would make the wait more comfortable at a stop? For example, would Port Authority install charging ports at renovated stops and new stations?

Speed – What is slowing down your bus trips? What would make the trip faster? (For instance, do you have issues with timely transfers? Buses stopping frequently to pick up passengers? Buses waiting at red lights or behind cars?)  

Access – How will your trip be impacted if the proposed bus stop removals go through? 

What places would you like to go or could be served more directly if the Port Authority shifted the routes along the 837 corridor? What locations would you like to be easier for you to get to in Homestead, Duquesne and McKeesport? If the project construction ends up rerouting the 59, which riders saved from service cuts, how would that impact you?

Development – What kinds of things do you want to see built by quality bus stops along this corridor? More jobs, affordable and disability accessible housing, childcare centers, grocery stores?

RSVP for the meetings and advocate for change!

Port Authority has the opportunity to make this a beautiful and safe project that can serve everyone, but they will not do it on their own. The 61C is known as the most dangerous route with high ridership. Recently two people were struck by a driver near Kennywood, and one of the victims did not survive. Mobility is a human right, and we all deserve safe and accessible transportation! This means safe sidewalks, bus stops, and shelters near where we live and where we want to travel.

The only way major change will happen is when we organize together, speak up for our communities, and bring our blueprints to the planning table. 

We need to help them realize the full vision of safe, accessible, and effective transportation. We have the ability to win everything we fought for over the past few years, but it will not happen unless we make it to the last mile and push this over the finish line. 

JOIN US. Tuesday, December 7th at 12:00-1:30pm and 6:30-8:00pm.Register to attend online or by phone at 412-566-5184.

You can see an interactive map and information about the proposed project here.