Some 61s and 71s will stop running to downtown. Here’s how to give feedback.

image description: two maps show how the 61D, 71A, 71C, and 71D will turn around in Oakland

Major changes are being proposed to the 61D, 71A, 71C, and 71D. Riders have two opportunities to give feedback before they take effect on October 1

Pittsburgh Regional Transit has announced that some major changes to service on the 61D, 71A, 71C, and 71D will go into effect on October 1st. The changes are being brought on as part of the BRTX project between Oakland and Downtown, but that project is still years from being finished. Riders have been outspoken about the fact that these changes would cut off their easy access to healthcare, jobs, food and schools. Pittsburgh Regional Transit has two opportunities this month to speak up about how these changes will impact you.

Sign up here to join PPT and speak up about these changes on September 12th @ 5:30pm and September 29th @ 8:30am

What are the changes that are being proposed?

The 61D, 71A, 71C, and 71D will turn around in Oakland and rejoin their traditional outbound route. This means riders on these routes 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, riders in Uptown will lose direct access on these routes to locations in Oakland, East Liberty, Highland Park, Larimer, Homewood, Point Breeze, Park Place and Wilkinsburg.

These changes may also result in overcrowding on the few buses that will continue into towntown. AND, it will that riders who pay cash fares will need to pay DOUBLE the fare to transfer to a new bus in Oakland.

Sign up to join advocates at PRT’s info session on September 12th at 5:30pm


Sign up to join advocates to give public testimony at the PRT Board Meeting on September 29th at 8:30am

Join the Labor Parade With Transit Riders and Transit Workers

image description: Flyer for PPT’s delegation with ATU Local 85 for the 2023 Labor Day Parade. Includes a photo of PPT holding our banner with ATU Local 85 at the 2014 Labor Day Parade. ATU members are wearing blue shirts. A red Port Authority is in the background as we round the corner from Sixth ave onto Grant Street. Details for the event are included: “September 4th, 10am-1pm, meet 10am at 91 Crawford St, reach out to info@pittsburghforpublic transit if you need a ride, if you have questions, or if you have any other accessibility needs”

Join PPT and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 to march in the 2023 Labor Day Parade!

PPT is a grassroots union of both transit riders and transit workers. We know that we are the ones using the system every day and that together, we have the knowledge needed to improve conditions for us all. One of our most fun celebrations of this community-union solidarity is when we march in the Pittsburgh Labor Day Parade – which is the oldest Labor Day Parade in the country!

You can join us at 9am for breakfast with our transit workerf friends from Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 85, at 91 Crawford St, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, right across from Freedom Corner. After breakfast, we’ll head to our spot in the parade lineup. The parade steps off at 10am, but we probably won’t be moving until 10:15. A 40′ PRT bus will join us for the march! We’ll walk our route (approx 1 mile) and then walk back to the start. If anyone needs rides to the event, or back to the start, just reach out to let us know:

RSVP below to join us and show solidarity with the labor that keep our city moving – September 4th, 10am-1pm. Meet 10am at St Benedict the Moore and reach out to with questions or accessibility needs.

It’s Simple: More Workers = More Service = More Riders = More Justice

Image Description: PPT logo foregrounded over an image of bus riders waiting at the Wood Street Station

The reinstatement of fired transit workers will provide some immediate relief to our current service crisis. But in order to create public transit that gets us to more places, more quickly, with more reliability, PRT must show us how they plan to treat existing workers with dignity and hire more.

Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT) celebrates the reinstatement of the 80 frontline transit workers that were fired as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate more than 1.5 years ago. This is an important step towards addressing our regional transit crisis of on-going service cuts and unreliable transit schedules, and a step towards improving workforce morale at PRT. 

Riders and workers deserve both quality service and safety on public transit. Although PRT claimed to be uplifting rider safety, the March 2022 decision to abruptly terminate 80+ seasoned transit workers came at the expense of both service quality and safety. The result has been years of buses overcrowded with riders (who vastly outnumbered drivers on any bus, and were vaccinated at a far lower rate than operators), and ghost buses that left riders at the curb.

It added insult to injury when Pittsburgh Regional Transit lifted the masking requirement on public transit– likely the most effective COVID-19 preventative measure– just a month after firing dozens of frontline workers for not being vaccinated. The harm of the vaccine mandate terminations have been compounded by the fact that hundreds of transit workers have reached or are hitting retirement age this year and next, creating a predictable frontline workforce gap that now numbers over 200 employees.

We need more and better transit service in Allegheny County. But to have more access to more places and better quality transit service means that PRT must get serious about the hiring and retention of transit workers. Show us the plan.

Transit workers are heroes; we need to treat them with dignity and we need more. Our region’s economic prospects rely on it. Our region’s climate prospects rely on it. Our transit riders and the grocery stores, doctors’ offices, schools, parks, libraries and families that they visit demand it.

The reinstatement of fired transit workers will provide some immediate relief to our current service crisis, but will not be enough on its own to restore and expand service to pre-pandemic levels. And we demand a plan from PRT.

This Spring, ATU Local 85 President Business Agent Ross Nicotero laid out several policies that PRT could implement now to grow our region’s transit workforce; we urge our County leadership to listen to his expertise.

Sign on to support a vision for transit service that meets all of our needs. PPT is building this vision arm in arm with our transit workers, because we are a Union of transit riders and workers, and because we know that without our collective expertise and experiences, there is no transit system.

Special Photos: Magic Times at PPT’s 2023 Summer Picnic!

image description: PPT Members Alejandro, Laura, and Nicole pose for a photo under the Mellon Park Pavilion at PPT’s Summer Picnic

PPT Members know how to organize – and party! 100 members celebrated our victories at Mellon Park. And wrapped up a successful Summer Membership drive that brought on 115 new and renewing PPT Members!

image description: PPT Members give ideas for PPT’s 2024 Strategic Plan by putting colored post-it notes on poster paper.

Wednesday, August 9th, was our 2023 PPT Family Picnic and we had a ball. 100 PPT Members, their friends, and family gathered in Mellon Park to celebrate the victories that we’ve won so far in 2023 and have a whole lotta fun with our crew. We got to hang out, eat great food, listen to inspiring speakers, groove to fun DJs and party into the evening. Events like these bring us together as an organization. We build bonds with other members and create connections to our work. This develops the type of trust and commitment to each other that strengthens our organization. We are fighting for each other and we love it!

But our picnic wasn’t just fun and games, we also got down to business! PPT Staff Nicole and Laura worked with PPT Members Dean, Laura, and Teaira to host a PPT Member engagement station. At the engagement station, members had their last opportunity to vote in our 2023 PPT Board Elections. They also had a chance to kick off our 2024 Strategic Planning process.

115 people joined or renewed their PPT Membership during our Summer Member Drive. You can join this community and win improvements in our communities by becoming a PPT Member today:

We want to send thanks to all of the PPT Members who joined us – especially all those who volunteered to help set up, facilitate, and break down the party. We also want to say thank you to all the PPT Members who showed up ready to speak power to why our organizing is important during the program portion of the picnic – Mel Packer, Joy Dore, Damitra Penny-Harris, Antonia Guzman, Teaira Collins, and Sascha Craig. And finally, we need to send a big loving shoutout to all of the folks who helped with their professional services: DJ Franky Nitty for spinning fun tunes all night (send DJ Frank an email or check out his facebook to book him), Chef Khristian Sheard for providing us some DELICIOUS catering; fried chicken, pulled pork, green beans, pasta salad, kung pow coliflower, Mmmm! Mmm! (you can book her by sending an email or Facebook Message), O’Ryan the O’Mazing for dazzling us with their circus performer talents ( for info and booking).

Thanks for PRT Bus Operator Khristian Sheard for providing the catering and to DJ Frank Nitte for spinning A+ tunes all night (send DJ Frank an email or check out his facebook to book him).

Use the arrow buttons on the image to flip through photos from the party:

230809 PPT Summer Member Picnic

Become a PPT Member Today:

Get your tickets now! PPT’s Summer Member Picnic

image description: flyer for the PPT Membership Summer Picnic includes animations of PPT board members chatting and having fun getting ready to board a bus, with a purple background and confetti. Details say the picnic is August 9th 6-9pm at Mellon Park there will be dinner, music, and transit family.

PPT Members! RSVP below to join us at our Summer Picnic
August 9th, 6-9pm at Mellon Park Shelter

PPT Members are making waves and its time to celebrate <3

Whether its a victory to center disabled people as leaders in City planning, or elect a transit champion to be the next County Executive, or increase funding for local transit, or launch a program to give free fares to all low-income households in Allegheny County, PPT Members are making waves and its time to celebrate.

PPT is hosting this picnic to celebrate the incredible effort that its Members are putting into this organization. Members are volunteering on our committees, creating our strategic plan, electing our leaders, and building our base. We are winning our campaigns left and right because of it.

We want all PPT Members to join us on August 9th at the shelter in Mellon Park across from 6602 Fifth Ave, for an evening of great food, good people, and fun music.

Reach out to or 312.307.2429 with any questions.

image description: photo of the 2022 summer picnic has PPT members doing a line dance together underneath a city park shelter.

Details for the PPT Summer Member Picnic

What to expect: the event will be a casual outdoor picnic. Folks should wear whatever makes them comfortable, but don’t be afraid to bring some fun flare and spunk to your outfit. The picnic will be on August 9th at the Mellon Park shelter across from 6602 Fifth Ave from 6-9pm. There will be a full dinner served free to all PPT Members who RSVP. Music will be provided by our friend DJ Frank and dancing will certainly happen. PPT members will facilitate some planning around a new campaign that we’re launching to improve transit frequency and reliability in the county. And PPT members from different campaigns will talk about what it takes to win and what it means for their families and our communities. Attendees do not feel obligated to attend the entire event, so feel free to arrive and leave at whatever times work best for you.

Accessibility: The Mellon Park Shelter has some important accessibility features. The shelter provides some good cover and picnic table seating for a few dozen people. There is also ample space to socialize outside the shelter. There will be some pop-up tents for the DJ and food service. There is a paved pathway from the lower parking lot up a small hill. The bathrooms are indoors and accessible. They are a 2-4 minute walk from the shelter along a paved walkway and across a parking lot. There will be a DJ playing music outside the shelter, which could be loud, but we will do our best to play it at a volume that is comfortable for all attendees.. Attendees should be ready for variable mid-August weather and lighting. There will be interpretation in both ASL and Spanish upon request.

Food: Full dinner will be served to all PPT Members who RSVP. Veggie/vegan/gluten-free options will be available. Water and other non-alcoholic beverages will be available.

Getting there: The Mellon Park Shelter is across from 6602 Fifth Ave, near the corner of Fifth and Penn. There are a number of bus stops within a close walk. On Penn Ave side of the park, the 71C and 88 will drop you off with a 2-4 minute walk to the shelter along paved paths. On the Fifth Ave side, the 28X and 71D will drop you off with a 1-3 minute walk to the shelter along paved paths. There is bike parking and car parking in the Mellon Park parking lot which is a 1-3 minute walk to the shelter.  If you need help with transportation, contact PPT to discuss options, 312.307.2429 or

COVID procedures: Event will be outdoors with areas to socialize under the shelter and in the areas surrounding it. Masks are not required. We also encourage everyone to take an at-home COVID rapid test before arriving. Please stay home if you are feeling sick or have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19.


This Bus is for All of Us! Join or renew your PPT Membership today for the Summer Member Drive! 

PPT is on the verge of winning the biggest campaign in our history – free fares for all SNAP/EBT families in Allegheny County – but it won’t happen unless we show we have power.
You can build strength to win this campaign by becoming a PPT Member today.

Xxxxxxxx people of all ages will have their lives transformed if PPT wins this our campaign for free fares for all SNAP/EBT households in Allegheny County. That means xxxxx mothers, fathers, and children will be able to access healthy food, new job opportunites, and life-saving healthcare – but only if we organize together to make the demand.

PPT Members are at the forefront of this soon-to-be historic victory. You can help seal the deal and transform access in Allegheny County by joining us as a PPT Member today during our Summer Membership Drive.

Join with transit riders and become a PPT Member today as part of our Summer Member Drive. We need you active to win.

So what does it mean to be a member of PPT? PPT’s Membership is a diverse and growing group of transit riders, transit workers, and neighbors who are dedicated to the ideals enshrined in the Transit Bill of Rights. PPT Members help in all sorts of ways – some join committees, some attend meetings, some just donate and encourage others to do the same. But at our core, all PPT Members make the same three commitments:

  1. PPT members pledge to support the organization’s Transit Bill of Rights which declares public transit as a human right.
  2. PPT members share in supporting the organization’s budget with membership dues of at least $2.75/mo – the cost of a single Port Authority cash fare – with no one excluded because of inability to pay.
  3. PPT members help the organization build power. This looks different for every Member. Some attend meetings, some vote in our elections, some volunteer on a committee. Others spread the word on social media, speak up at public meetings, or donate and encourage others to do the same. How can you help build power for transit justice?

Once you become a PPT Member, you will be a real part of winning improvements that benefit the lives of your neighbors. Our members shape the future of our organization. As a PPT Member, you will be able to vote to elect the people who lead our Organization during our annual Board Elections in July. You’ll also be able shape our annual strategic plan and vote to approve it in December.

Become a PPT Member and build the movement for transit justice. Help us hit our goal of 100 new and renewing members during our Summer Membership Drive


It’s Board Election Time! PPT Members Cast Your Vote Before 8/9/23

Image description: Photo collage with pictures of all 11 candidates running for PPT’s Board of Directors in our 2023 leadership elections

PPT’s election for our Board of Directors will run from July 12th-August 9th. All PPT Members in good standing should cast their ballots for our next leadership team!

Please read this blog with bios on all the candidates before casting your vote. An overview of our election process and a guide on how to vote and the ballot are at the bottom of this blog.

We are excited to announce the following slate of candidates who were nominated to join the PPT Board of Directors. PPT Member can vote for the next round of leaders who understand the importance of our work for transit justice in Allegheny County – leaders who are looking to become more involved in directing the course of our campaigns, communications and actions.

Learn more about the nominees in their bios below and select the one who you feel can help usher our organization and movement into a new era of advocacy, connectivity and engagement. 

As a reminder, there are 6 board seats available for PPT General Members and 1 seat available for a unionized transit worker PPT Member. All those elected will serve from August 2023 to August 2025.

All candidates are listed below in alphabetical order by first name. There is a photo and short bio for each candidate to give background on their past work for transit justice and other issues. Each nominee has approved and contributed to their bio.

PPT Members can vote for up to 6 of the following candidates to fill PPT General Member seats on our Board of Directors:

Then, PPT Members can vote for up to 1 of the following candidates to fill seats reserved for Transit Workers on our Board of Directors:

Barb Warwick (she/her)

Image Description: Photo of Barb Warwick smiling for a selfie with three of her children.

My name is Barb Warwick and I have been a member of PPT since 2019. I live in Four Mile Run and first became involved with PPT as part of the fight against the Mon-Oakland Connector. That experience really opened my eyes to the power of community activism and to what an amazing organization we have in PPT.

Professionally, I have always considered myself to be somewhat of a workhorse who is fully committed to any project I take on. Having had lots of experience in the corporate arena, I am always happy to “suit up” and meet with political leadership and transit authorities to press for policies that support equitable, affordable, and sustainable transportation systems.

My communication style is diplomatic, but persistent. And, with 20 years’ experience in marketing communications, I know how to stay on point and on message. As a writing and editing professional, I can also help ensure that content put out by PPT is always clear, concise, and engaging. The way I see it, PPT saved my community and public park from being overrun by the Mon-Oakland Connector. Whether chosen for the Board of Directors or not, I feel such gratitude to you all and look forward to continuing to work together for transit equity and justice for many years to come.

Bonnie Fan (they/them)

Image Description: Bonnie Fan speaks at a rally outside Carnegie Mellon University

Bonnie worked in transit for four years before coming to Pittsburgh, seeing laid bare the lack of regard for operators, the policing of riders, and the power-grabbing mindset of management that prevented any kind of internal change possible. While joining Otolunji Oboi Reed’s Equiticity campaign prior, they found a stronger force in mobility justice worked centered in Black and Brown communities.

Seeing the work made possible with PPT’s grassroots mobilization has changed the way Bonnie orients her work. In seeing the narrative arcs of other cities play out, especially for post industrial cities, they are deeply concerned by the secret privilege of private developers, universities and tech companies when it comes to how the public domain should be made and who it should be made for. In this landscape, also complicated by political and financial relationships, PPT has been one of the few where grassroots voice has been able to fight and win for riders and workers without compromise.

Much of the other work they are involved in is against predictive policing and #NoTechForICE – all of which falls in the realm of tools and decisions made in favor of existing oppressive power dynamics.

Dean Mougianis (he/him)

Image Description: Photo of Dean Mougianis holding his video camera on a bus trip to Harrisburg

Dean Mougianis has been a media producer for forty years and an educator for twenty-five. Dean began his media misadventures on a gap year (well, several) in his education when he fell in with a group of people who had the audacious idea of founding a radio station. This became WYEP-FM. He later transitioned to video, worked in a variety of production facilities, then struck out on his own as a freelancer. As a producer, writer, video editor and motion graphic artist, Dean has worked with a wide range of commercial clients, had enough of that, and began working instead for non-profit, labor, and social service clients.

Somewhere in mid-life, Dean decided to pay back the legacy of many people who taught him so much and sought out teaching opportunities. As an educator for the past twenty-five years, Dean has taught courses and workshops in various aspects of video production from beginner to advanced for Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Grove City College, Laroche College, and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. An early convert to digital media, Dean now specializes in teaching motion graphics and animation.

Dean sees his primary role in assisting and advancing PPT’s communications and media efforts. Along with this he wishes to help develop membership participation and leadership and do what he can to connect PPT to broader transit advocacy coalitions at the state and national level.

Gabriel McMorland (she/her)

Image Description: Gabriel McMorland smiles, looking down, with a blue ribbon on her shirt

Gabriel is a white trans woman, who is also blind and transit-dependent. She has been active with PPT since 2015, and was previously on the Coordinating Committee from 2017-2022. Gabriel was very involved with the Don’t Criminalize Transit Riders campaign and early service campaigns, and on the current campaign around scooters and sidewalks. She was the Community Organizer at The Thomas Merton Center from 2014-2017, and TMC’s Executive Director from 2017-2023, doing work that ranged across racial justice, ecological defense, labor solidarity, immigrant rights, and other moves towards liberation. She is also a musician, and played bass in the live performance of Wheels on the Bus at PPT’s end-of-year celebration. 

Gabriel invests time and leadership into PPT because she needs PPT to succeed. She has seen many times how PPT includes the sidewalks, curb cuts, and crosswalks as part of the overall transit system, and how PPT has centered people with disabilities to ensure that everyone’s needs are served. She believes that the outcomes of PPT’s work are practical, tangible, and truly affect peoples’ lives: PPT enacts its radical values of racial justice and worker justice, and makes them real through organizing. Gabriel’s vision for PPT is to ensure that organizing and leadership development continue to be at the heart of PPT’s work. 

Joy Dore (she/her)

Image Description: photo is of Joy Dore, a white female with dark blonde long wavy hair, Hazel green eyes. Wearing black suit jacket in photo and white dress shirt.

Joy is a frequent transit user, and a lifetime public transit advocate. She believes that the fruits of everyone’s hard work are starting to pay off. As an example, the city is not reauthorizing the SPIN scooters. This means that the injuries, blocking public sidewalks that prevent an accessible use of them for the disabled, and other challenges these scooters presented will be mitigated. 

Before the pandemic, she was a volunteer with the TIRES transportation committee. Joy has done extensive lifelong advocacy work including recently as a Food Justice Ambassador, Stormwater Ambassador with Grounded, advocacy with Moms Rising, and am an active volunteer with LAMP (Library for Accessible Media) and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (She was selected as a neighborhood ambassador, and also is an active member of the Friends of the Library Downtown. Joy holds the Vice President office there). She has also actively volunteered at First Presbyterian soup kitchen and First Trinity Lutheran for years, and teaches classes in American Sign Language (like found at this link). Joy has also attended multiple trainings for Homewood Children’s Village Leadership Institute for leadership, advocacy, and housing/transit advocacy. She believes that these experiences in spite of the past year being a personally challenging year with a cancer battle and losing my fiancee (who passed away from cancer 6/21/22) prepared her to advocate for the importance of public transit. 

Her vision would be to continue the fight for equitable, accessible, and affordable transportation.

Kris Chandler

Image Description: Photo of Kris Chandler smiling in front of a brick wall.

As an advocate for progressive change and growth within various realms of public policy, I have dedicated my life and career to building community and creating active engagement within programs and initiatives. With a background in non-profit administration, creative arts, writing, transportation policy, and political campaigning, I love to work outside of the realm of expectation and seek to look outside-the-box for areas of innovation and exploration. With these values leading the charge, I hope to help usher PPT into a new era of advocacy. An era that continues to uplift transit operators and provide them with the resources to live – and work – in safe and fair environments. An era that focuses on the relationship between land use, zoning, and transportation so that we can build communities that correspond with the transit needs that exist today to prevent the disasters of tomorrow. An era that elevates the importance of historical context and restorative justice so that we can reconnect communities with access to jobs, fresh food, places of enjoyment, and beyond. An era that sees changes within our transit infrastructure so that we can have bus shelters at every stop, sidewalks that are accessible for all ages and abilities, and an equitable system that provides actual coverage and frequency for all. Valuing connectivity, I seek to build coalitions with organizations and community stakeholders in order to address where transit overlaps with other policy initiatives. I seek to help PPT hold those accountable who might stand in the way or prevent our region from expanding in the most equitable, accessible, and sustainable ways possible.

With regards to PPT, shortly after becoming a member, I have been part of the Communications Committee filling in and helping out with whatever was asked of me. Most recently, I have assisted with the candidate profiles for the Allegheny County Executive race and drafted some copy for the PPT website. In tandem with this, externally, I have volunteered on numerous political campaigns, uplifting progressive candidates who I have felt could truly make a difference for all people and communities. Most recently, I conducted relational organizing for Sara Innomorato’s County Executive campaign, and look forward to helping hold her office accountable assuming she wins the general election in November 2023. Additionally, due to my work for the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), I am actively engaged in many transportation related initiatives throughout the country. I have conducted programming that was part of the Better Bike Share Partnership and the American Cities Climate Challenge, during which I led roundtable discussions, wrote case studies, facilitated in working groups, and assisted with the drafting and copyediting of transit-oriented guidance.

Mona Meszar (she/her)

Image Description: Mona Meszar standing outside

Mona is a queer trans woman born in Shawandasse Tula, Massawomeck, and Monongahela/Osage lands (Fayette County). She is involved in anti-colonialist, anti-authoritarian, anti-racist, environmentalist, and abolitionist struggles – rooting herself in queer anarchist perspectives. In 2018, she was part of a cohort of PPT fellows who worked on the Beyond the East Busway Campaign, and has a sincere appreciation for PPT’s commitment to community led campaigns. During Covid she helped canvass riders, pass out PPE, and phonebank membership. She believes public transit should be free, reliable, environmentally sustainable, and accessible & disability informed. If elected to PPT’s steering committee, she would be excited to work with others to re-vitalize the Beyond the East Busway Campaign. In particular, extending bus rapid transit service to East Pittsburgh  and Mon Valley neighborhoods; better connecting them to affordable housing, healthy affordable food, healthcare, and green & recreational spaces. Mona currently resides in Pittsburgh, and enjoys making music, backpacking, bike touring, reading, cooking, meditating, doing yoga, and gardening. 

Nickole Nesby (she/her)

Image Description: Mayor Nesby smiles for a selfie in front of a white wall

The honorable Mayor Nickole Nesby is a dedicated public servant with 20 years’ experience in legislative government. In November 2017, Nesby successfully unseated incumbent Phillip Krivacek to become the first female and African American to head the city of Duquesne, PA. She was elected to PPT’s Coordinating Committee in 2019 and is now running for her third term.

No stranger to socioeconomic disparity, Ms. Nesby was born in McKeesport, PA. Her parents were hard working steel mill workers. One of seven siblings who she had to raise when her mother fell victim to the crack epidemic, she refused to allow poverty to derail her goal of attaining higher education. Nesby recently completed her fourth degree, an MBS from Northcentral University in Organizational Leadership Specializing in Nonprofit. While Mayor Nesby has no children of her own, she works to build spaces where all her community’s children can succeed.

As a first-term mayor, Nesby is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Duquesne’s population of 5,481. Plagued by systemic poverty, illiteracy and incarceration, 80% percent of its residents are welfare recipients and of that number, half have criminal records.  Deemed the worst-performing school system in Pennsylvania, Duquesne was forced to close its high school in 2007.

Duquesne’s future may appear bleak, but Mayor Nesby’s aspiration is to make Duquesne a better place to live. She works so that residents have a quality education, affordable housing, better transportation, healthcare, and parks. These are the things that all people deserve, and they can be real by working together.

Paul O’Hanlon (he/him)

Image Description: Paul O’Hanlon sitting in his wheelchair outside in a garden.

My name is Paul O’Hanlon, I’m a retired lawyer.  From 2001 to 2014, I worked for a disability rights law firm, and before that I was the Senior Housing Attorney and Housing Unit Chief with Neighborhood Legal Services Association in Pittsburgh.

I caught the “transit bug” in 1991.  At that time Port Authority began the long process of becoming accessible to passengers in wheelchairs.  Since that time I’ve been involved in advocating for the best, most accessible, area-wide and affordable public transit.  

I have been involved in a number of advocacy issues in Allegheny County, particularly around housing, accessible public transportation, and voter engagement.

Teaira Collins (she/her)

Image description: Teara Collins holds a megaphone while speaking at a PPT rally in 2020

Teaira Collins is a lifelong transit rider, a Hazelwood community leader, a mother and foster mother, and now a grandmother to six grandchildren. Ms. Teaira met Laura Chu Wiens while at Port Authority testifying for improved transit service in Hazelwood, and has since become a leader in PPT’s Our Money, Our Solutions campaign for weekend service on the 93 and the extension of the 75. Ms. Teaira spoke at the City Council Capital Budget hearing press conference about the Mon-Oakland Connector alongside Barb Warwick, and on behalf of PPT during the Poor People’s Campaign Jubilee Caravan. She recently traveled to Atlanta on behalf of PPT on a delegation to connect with other Human Rights organizers across North America, and raise the important connections between public transit, housing, healthcare and food access. She is very active in the community, volunteering with The Mission Continues to help veterans and with the Hazelwood Family Support Center to uplift young mothers. Ms. Teaira also runs her own non-profit to advocate for those like her son Judah and other famlies with children who have Down Syndrome, and fundraises for the National Kidney Foundation to help research related to her daughter’s health. 

Ms. Teaira’s excited about winning weekend service for underserved neighborhoods like Hazelwood, and is passionate about fighting for reliable and safe transit for all communities. She is dedicated to the fight for a permanent low-income fare program because it is needed now more than ever for all communities. Ms Teaira Collins has been:

  • A Hazelwood leader in PPT’s Our Money, Our Solutions campaign to create a resident-based mobility alternative to the Mon-Oakland Connector
  • A PPT organizing fellow for the FairFares campaign and helped sign up dozens of riders for the pilot program
  • A Volunteer and community advocate for The Mission Continues, Hazelwood Family Support Center, PPS PTA, and for people with Down Syndrome and Kidney Disease.
  • A Member of the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council Board of Directors

Kevin Joa (he/him)

Image DescriptionL Kevin Joa wears his PRT uniform for a selfie in front of a chainlink fence

Kevin is a Port Authority bus operator and member of ATU Local 85. He was first elected to PPT’s Coordinating Committee in 2019 and won his re-election in 2021. Kevin has taken part in PPT campaigns to encourage Port Authority board members to ride transit; push for expanded transit funding in PA; and build more affordable housing near great transit. Kevin was part of bus ride-alongs with County Executive candidates to lay out demands for policies that support transit riders and workers for the new leadership of the region. He was most recently quoted on WESA for speaking out at the Pittsburgh City Council hearing about the Spin scooter pilot program about the ways that he’s observed the e-scooters affecting transit access at bus stops. 

Before joining Local 85 as a bus operator, Kevin worked at a local public school system. Kevin also is a proud owner of a beautiful dog!

Overview of PPT’s Board Election Process

Pittsburghers for Public Transit is a grassroots, democratic, member-led organization that fights for racial justice and public transit as a human right. The election of a Board of Directors from and by our general membership is a cornerstone of what keeps us accountable to our members. The Board is responsible for strategizing and executing the organization’s campaigns, outreach, governance, and fundraising.

The Board’s Executive Committee chooses how many seats will be up for PPT’s board election each year. Our bylaws say that our Board can be anywhere from 5 to 15 people and that 2 seats are reserved for transit workers connected to a local transit union. Earlier this year our Board’s Executive Committee decided to open 6 seats to be elected from our general membership, and 1 seat to be elected to a transit worker.

Each spring, the PPT membership nominates fellow members to run for the Board of Directors. If those members accept the nomination, then they are invited to submit a photo and bio to be placed on the ballot, and they are invited to speak about their qualifications at the July General Member Meeting.

PPT Members in good standing can cast their ballots for two weeks in July. The nominees with the highest vote totals are invited to join the Board of Directors for a 2-year term.

How can PPT members vote?

PPT Members in good standing can cast their ballots from July 12th to August 9th using the form below. The nominees with the highest vote totals are invited to join the Board of Directors for a two-year term. As a reminder, all active PPT members commit to doing the following:

  1. Agree to uphold PPT’s Transit Bill of Rights. 
  2. Pay dues to support our budget. We encourage members to give at least $2.75 monthly (the cost of a single PRT fare), but no one is turned away because of funds.
  3. Take part to help us win our campaigns. PPT Members contribute to our campaigns in many different ways, and you can find the way that’s right for you. This could mean anything from joining meetings to voting in our elections, participating in a committee, spreading the word on social media, to speaking up for transit at a public meeting.

If you are unsure of your PPT Membership status, you can check by email ( or by phone ( 412-626-7353 ).

PPT Members can vote below:

Advocates Rally in Harrisburg for Expanded Transit Funding Options

Legislators, advocates praise new bill HB 1307 to allow PA Counties to expand funding for public transit

This recap is reprinted from Transit for All PA!’s website

An enthusiastic crowd of State Legislators, Transit Agency Representatives, Transit Worker Union Leaders, and Transit Advocates led by Representative Joe Hohenstein, gathered on the steps of the State Capitol for a press conference on the morning of June 20th to promote Hohenstein’s new House Bill HB 1307 that would allow the SEPTA region, Allegheny County, and Lancaster County the option to raise local transit funding to supplement existing state funding for transit. 

“SEPTA has been there for us and now we need to be able to step up and be there for them. The funding flexibility in the local revenue generation is essential to the survival of public transit and public transit is essential to our economic growth. Passing this bill is going to give Philadelphia and surrounding counties the ability to support one of the largest people-moving systems in the country. And our folks in Allegheny County will see the economic benefits from this as well,” said Representative Joe Hohenstein during the press conference. 

The proposed legislation would give these local municipalities the freedom to increase local funding to supplement existing state funding and help solve these challenges. With the wealth of new federal funding available to Pennsylvania through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), it’s critical that we tackle this problem now. These federal funding packages can offer our region billions of dollars, but our transit agencies require additional local matching dollars to qualify for federal funding. Without local matching dollars, cities in other states will be more competitive to the business community and receive greater investment, putting Pennsylvania further behind.

“For SEPTA, it means we could compete for over $2 billion dollars. Otherwise, we will leave that money on the table. Trust me, other state transportation agencies across the country would love to have that money. Our county leaders recognize the importance of mass transit to the economic vitality of their communities and are ready to act to fund these important investments for mass transit. However, in order to close the loop to secure these federal dollars we need the General Assembly to enact new options for matching funds. We want to compete.“ said Leslie Richards, CEO and General Manager of SEPTA.

“The 182nd district in Center City Philadelphia, my district, has more public transit infrastructure than anywhere else in the entire state of Pennsylvania. Because of that our communities are more affordable, more walkable, and for our seniors, it is easier to age in place. All of these things are partially because we have some of the most public transit infrastructure in the entire Commonwealth. It’s time to bring that to the rest of the state,” says Representative Ben Waxman enthusiastically.

This will enable the SEPTA region and Allegheny County to address our aging transportation infrastructure and backlog of capital projects, and with prompt action will provide an avenue for generational investment into our public transit systems through the current federal funding opportunities.

“Transportation is a cornerstone of independence. To make transportation more accessible, it is vital to seniors and people with disabilities, but there is more work to be done. The capital funding option from HB 1307 and HB 902 could help improve our transit system infrastructure and make it more accessible to the people in our community,” says disability advocate Kwanesha Clarke of Liberty Resources/ADAPT.

Enabling local source funding for our PA transit systems has long been one of the key needs to ensure that transit is fully funded in our regions, and is a central demand in the Transit for All PA! platform. It would provide the local match needed to access the unprecedented funding available through the federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and advance some truly transformative transit projects to improve transit accessibility, air quality, and economic outcomes in our regions.

Nearly 20 organizations across the state have signed on to a letter supporting HB 1307 and HB 902 and expanded resources for PA transit systems. Read their letter here.

Media Recap

More photos!

Volunteer for the Summer Membership Drive!

image description: PPT Member Josh Malloy leads a rally for fair fares

Help PPT bring on 100 new members during our Summer Membership Drive!

Our members are the heart of Pittsburghers for Public Transit. Help us grow our membership by volunteering to help our Summer Membership Drive.

PPT Summer Membership Drive Phone Bank Sign-up

Time Is Running Out! Regional Plan Needs Big Vision For Public Transit

image description: SPC’s graphic to promote the Long Range Transportation Plan

The Southwest Transportation Commission is revising its long-term transportation plan for the entire SWPA region.
Public meeting is being held on 6/8.
Deadline for public comment is 6/9.

Take a Look:

Big plans are in progress for public transit in Allegheny County (and the whole Southwest PA region including Beaver, Butler, Westmoreland County and 6 other regions)!

Who’s Doing the Planning:

The Southwest Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) is a planning body for the 10 counties of Southwest PA, representing a region bigger than the state of New Jersey. The SPC applies for and receives a lot of federal and state funding for regional public transit projects, and they have a lot of planners on staff to help identify and design repairs and improvements to our transit systems. 

Why are we talking about this now?

Well, every five years, the SPC updates its Long Range Transportation Plan. Right now, the SPC is asking for feedback on that draft plan, called SmartMoves for a Changing Region: Long Range Transportation Plan and Transportation Improvement Programs. For Allegheny County and Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT), this plan has some big visions including the busway extensions to the Mon Valley and Monroeville, an aerial gondola (!) running north and south connecting Allentown and communities south of the Yough to Hazelwood to Oakland and up to Lawrenceville. This plan also has some necessary big repairs and replacements, like replacing much of our rail car fleet and building a fifth bus garage, one that can allow for more buses and an electric fleet.

image description: event flyer for Public Meeting on June 8th

Public Meeting on Thursday, June 8th at 6:00 pm:

The SPC is holding their Allegheny County virtual public meeting to talk about the Long Range Transportation Plan and get public input. Register here to attend virtually at 6:00pm and make sure your priorities are heard! 

Give your feedback by email and take the survey:

Email your comments on the plan to

Or click here for the SPC Public Input Form to submit your survey

The plan needs goals around improving service to actually connect communities. Here’s what we’re saying as advocates for better public transit:

For PPT, we felt that it was most important to call on the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission to include some plans and goals around restoring and expanding transit service in the long-range plan. The current plan draft doesn’t really mention growing service, which seems like a big oversight– transit riders have lost so much service frequency since the beginning of the pandemic (10% in Allegheny County of total operating service hours), with no plan for those transit service hours to be restored. That means that riders are left waiting at the stop for longer between buses or trolleys, and sometimes the service cuts have meant that transit stops earlier at night, leaving riders stranded after work or starts later in the day, leaving riders without options to get to work in the early morning.

The problem is, for PRT to restore and expand transit service, PRT needs to get serious about recruiting and retaining transit operators. With a beginning shortfall of more than 200 frontline transit workers, and not enough new employees being trained each quarter to replace the workers that are retiring or leaving, something drastic needs to change if we want the service trend to go in the right direction.

In PPT”s letter to the SPC for comments on the Long Range Transportation Plan, we put forward the following suggestions:

“In order to have an effective, connected regional transportation network, the restoration and the expansion of fixed route transit service across all ten counties must be a central focus. The SPC should be a leader in visioning what a frequent and reliable transit service network across our 10 county region would look like. Sister municipal planning organizations to the SPC like METRO in greater Portland, Oregon centered the need for expanded service frequency and affordable fares in their long-range plan, and the San Francisco area Metropolitan Transportation Commission explicitly named goals and the cost to reverse pandemic-related cuts to total transit service hours as well as the funding needed to expand local transit frequency and reliability.

At a minimum:

  • The SPC must measure and report upon total transit operating hours currently provided by each of the fixed route transit service providers in the region, compared to 2019 pre-pandemic levels. The SPC should also assess transit service reliability for each of the fixed route transit providers, because poor reliability is often an indication of a mismatch between available labor and scheduled service hours, and can reveal deeper service cuts than what is visible on the published schedule.
  • The SPC should identify near and long-term goals for transit ridership growth across the 10 counties, and the transit service frequency increases that would be required to achieve that ridership growth. 
  • The SPC should track and report the shortfall in transit operators and maintenance employees needed to provide pre-pandemic levels of service, and identify how many new frontline employees would be needed in each region to expand transit service frequency to meet near and long term goals. 
  • The SPC’s long-range transportation plan should budget for the increase of transit workers (including the operating cost increases needed to support expanded recruitment and improve retention) to meet service restoration and expansion goals, and not merely identify what funding would be needed to maintain this diminished status quo.”   

As one last note, we really wanted to celebrate that the plan calls for bus rapid transit from downtown Pittsburgh into the Mon Valley, and in the Eastern Suburbs out to Monroeville! These demands have been the focus of our Beyond the East Busway campaign, and they are next on the docket to be funded and implemented! PPT Organizing Fellows led a planning effort to survey hundreds of transit riders in those communities to identify what improvements transit riders needed to make buses and their streets safer, their buses faster and their trips more dignified…when we organize, we win!

Read the plan, and give your comments! There’s lot’s you can weigh in on. If you also want to weigh in about a need for service restoration and expansion, it’d be good to share how the transit service cuts have impacted you and your community, and how transit service expansion would benefit your life.

Thursday, June 8th at 6:00 pm, SPC Long Range Plan Public Meeting:

 Register here to attend

Email your feedback: or click here SPC Public Input Form Survey ( 

Below is PPT’s feedback letter to the Southwestern PA Commission on the 2023 SPC SmartMoves: Long Range Transportation Plan and Transportation Improvement Programs Draft


Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT)’s Public Comment on the 2023 SPC SmartMoves: Long Range Transportation Plan and Transportation Improvement Programs Draft

Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT) is a grassroots union of transit riders and transit workers, organizing for a more expanded, affordable, equitable and accessible transit system in Allegheny County. Our region and our communities thrive with strong and stable investment into our public transit system. As such, we support the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission (SPC)’s Long Range Transportation Plan’s call to increase capital funding directed towards public transit capital needs like building a fifth bus garage, replacing the light rail fleet, and addressing PRT’s state of good repair needs. We support the need to expand local funding options to supplement state transit funding, and the holistic, equitable land use and TDM policies to make transit accessible to low income and other marginalized communities, and incentivize transit use over single occupancy vehicles. 

We particularly applaud the progress towards the visionary public transit projects being planned: of the North-South connector spanning neighborhoods like Allentown, Hazelwood, Oakland and the Hill District, and the extension of dedicated BRT corridors to Monroeville and Mon Valley. The latter project has been a central goal of our organization over the last several years, stemming from an extensive PPT participatory planning effort with local leaders in the Eastern Suburbs and the Mon Valley to identify priority transit corridors and infrastructure needs that would best serve those communities.

However, while capital improvements and investments can make transit more accessible, safer and more efficient, there is a major omission in the current Long Range Transportation Plan draft. Over the last several years of the pandemic, communities across the 10 county SW-PA region have all been devastated by deep and lingering service cuts. In Allegheny County alone, total Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT) revenue operating hours have been cut by at least 10%, through incremental reductions every quarterly service change over these last several years.  For smaller transit agencies, service cuts can have an even more drastic impact with riders left stranded for hours. When transit service is reduced, so too is resident access to high paying jobs, healthcare networks, schools, childcare and community services. Without reliable, frequent transit service, our regional goals– for a robust economy, for clean air and lower congestion, for mobility for all– simply cannot be met, because electric buses that only run once an hour, or upgraded station areas that have limited transit service don’t actually meet resident needs. 

And there is no end in sight for transit service reductions. At PRT, the transit operator shortfall is a primary catalyst for these cuts, and this is mirrored in counties across the SPC footprint. Allegheny County fixed route transit now has a deficit of over 200 frontline transit employees, and the labor crisis is growing every day because of worker attrition and the hundreds of frontline workers anticipated to hit retirement age this year and next year. At this point, PRT does not even have the capacity to train new employees quickly enough to just replace those that are outgoing each quarter, let alone to close the frontline worker gap. Without ambitious worker recruitment and retention plans, without dedicated operating funding for these purposes, and without a focus on transit operators and transit service restoration and expansion in the SPC Long- Range Plan, our communities will not thrive.

Fortunately, there is a blueprint for addressing the transit worker shortfall. TransitCenter, a national transit think tank and foundation, published a heavily-researched guide to addressing the labor shortfall entitled “Bus Operators in Crisis” last year with specific policy recommendations for transit agencies, municipalities, states and the federal government. More specifically for our region, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 President Ross Nicotero wrote an op-ed published in TRIBLive that offered a number of suggestions around hiring and retention that takes into account the experiences of the thousands of current and former operators that he represents. These recommendations could expand upon the Workforce for Change portion of the SPC long-range plan, to highlight the workforce needs to specifically provide the transit service quality our communities deserve. Transit operator jobs are the jobs of today and the future.

In order to have an effective, connected regional transportation network, the restoration and the expansion of fixed route transit service across all ten counties must be a central focus. The SPC should be a leader in visioning what a frequent and reliable transit service network across our 10 county region would look like. Sister municipal planning organizations to the SPC like METRO in greater Portland, Oregon centered the need for expanded service frequency and affordable fares in their long-range plan, and the San Francisco area Metropolitan Transportation Commission explicitly named goals and the cost to reverse pandemic-related cuts to total transit service hours as well as the funding needed to expand local transit frequency and reliability.

At a minimum:

  • The SPC must measure and report upon total transit operating hours currently provided by each of the fixed route transit service providers in the region, compared to 2019 pre-pandemic levels. The SPC should also assess transit service reliability for each of the fixed route transit providers, because poor reliability is often an indication of a mismatch between available labor and scheduled service hours, and can reveal deeper service cuts than what is visible on the published schedule.
  • The SPC should identify near and long-term goals for transit ridership growth across the 10 counties, and the transit service frequency increases that would be required to achieve that ridership growth. 
  • The SPC should track and report the shortfall in transit operators and maintenance employees needed to provide pre-pandemic levels of service, and identify how many new frontline employees would be needed in each region to expand transit service frequency to meet near and long term goals. 
  • The SPC’s long-range transportation plan should budget for the increase of transit workers (including the operating cost increases needed to support expanded recruitment and improve retention) to meet service restoration and expansion goals, and not merely identify what funding would be needed to maintain this diminished status quo.   

Without a long-term plan to restore service to pre-pandemic levels and both budget and plan for the expansion of service, it will be impossible to meet the mobility and climate goals of the long-range plan. If public transportation continues on the path of fewer operators, reduced service hours, and shrunken route coverage, local economies will continue to be left behind. We are hopeful that the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission can be a compelling force towards reversing this trend, by centering the need for restored and expanded transit service and a strong plan for transit operator hiring and retention in the 2023 SmartMoves: Long Range Transportation Plan.