Tell Port Authority what you think about their fare proposal!

Port Authority proposed a new fare policy that includes reducing the Zone 2 fare from 3.75 to 2.50. This is great news! Other details of the proposal are here.

Please complete this survey to let them know what you think!

Attend the next  hearing to learn more and deliver your comments (no need to sign up in advance):

Tuesday, March 8

Connolly Ballroom
Alumni Hall
University of Pittsburgh
4227 Fifth Avenue
3 pm to 7 pm

Here is TV coverage from the first hearing:

Here is PPT’s position:

February 23, 2016

PPT position on Port Authority fare proposal

The Pittsburgh metro region has one of the highest base fares in the country, and public transit riders should not pay any more for transit than we currently do. If anything, we should pay less.

PPT wholeheartedly supports reducing the Zone 2 fare from 3.75 to 2.50, especially for the benefit of low-income suburban riders. This is a very significant step for the Port Authority to take, and we commend it. We regularly talk to riders in Zone 2 who have trouble paying the current high fares. And folks who live in the city have trouble paying to get to job centers in Zone 2. McKeesport, Duquesne, Clairton, Monroeville, Groveton, Coraopolis, Robinson, and Penn Hills are just some of the communities that will benefit from this reduction. Many of these residents struggle to make ends meet financially, and this fare change will make getting to their destinations less of a burden.

PPT is opposed to cash surcharges, and do not believe cash users should be punished. We appreciate the operational reasons to incentivize connect card use, but we think Port Authority needs to provide much more education and infrastructure to ensure that all riders have better access to cards. The cards need to be available at more locations and near more bus stops that are not along the fixed guideways.

If Port Authority has to enact a fee for connect cards in order to put them in the ticket vending machines, the charge should be as low as possible. But the cards should still be free at the service center downtown, Giant Eagle locations, for human service agencies and community organizations, etc.

Routes designed as feeders (for example, the 79 and the 89) should have free transfers to the main routes. It is unfair to expect riders on these routes, which are designed to feed into another route, to pay an extra dollar to get to their destination.

We strongly support having weekly and monthly passes for those who are eligible for the half-fare. These riders currently have to pay for each ride to get the reduced fare, and they deserve the discounted rate of weekly and monthly passes.

Proof of payment on the rail involves having more police on the trains, and we are very concerned about how the policing and enforcement will happen. Measures would need to be in place to ensure that the enforcement does not target or profile certain routes or populations of riders. We know this has been an issue in other cities, and expect a detailed and thorough plan—along with extensive training for the police (including implicit bias training)—to make sure that does not happen in Pittsburgh.

We understand the Port Authority’s interest in simplifying the system by changing to pay-on-enter. We know many riders have asked for that to deter confusion and allow for people to exit off the back door outbound. We do think that more studies need to be conducted to assess the impact of getting rid of the free fare zone. Which riders currently use this zone? What negative impact would there be to get rid of it? And, what are the consequences for operations and service planning? How would paying on enter during downtown rush increase boarding time and cause congestion? What plans are there to mitigate this?

Thank you for your time, and we want to re-iterate how welcomed the Zone 2 fare reduction is and how much we support this change to our transit system.


PPT supports Port Authority’s proposed fare reduction!

Port Authority proposed a new fare policy that includes reducing the Zone 2 fare from 3.75 to 2.50. This is great news! Other details of the proposal are here.

These are our responses. The public comment period lasts for 60 days and we hope riders come out to tell Port Authority what they think! More details on dates and times to follow.

We have one of the highest base fares in the country, and public transit riders should not pay any more for transit than we currently do. If anything, we should pay less.

  • We support reducing the zone 2 fare from 3.75 to 2.50, especially for the benefit of low-income suburban riders.
  • We are opposed to cash surcharges, but we do encourage riders to use connect cards. However, we believe that Port Authority needs to provide more education and infrastructure to ensure that all riders have access to cards.
  • Routes designed as feeders (for example, the 79 and the 89) should have free transfers to the main routes.
  • If Port Authority has to enact a fee for connect cards in order to put them in the ticket vending machines, the charge should be as low as possible. But the cards should still be free at the service center downtown, Giant Eagle locations, etc.
  • We support weekly and monthly passes for those who are eligible for the half-fare. These riders currently have to pay for each ride to get the reduced fare.

Tell Port Authority what you think!

Concerns about proposed transit connector between Hazelwood and Oakland

Pittsburghers for Public Transit has many questions about the proposed transit project, which would provide a connection between Oakland and Hazelwood. Jonah McAllister-Erickson, along with a few other PPT members, attended the public meeting about the project on December 7th. Here is his report of the evening, along with the questions we posed:

A standing room only crowd of at least 100 community members questioned city planning officials and councilperson Corey O’Connor about the proposed transit link between the ALMONO development in Hazelwood and Oakland, which would run through the neighborhoods of Four Mile Run and Panther Hollow, including the Junction Hollow Trail and park lands that connect the two communities.  Much of the initial outcry from both the community and Councilperson O’Connor was about the lack of previous communication about the proposed project. Attendees, both elected officials and community members, were outraged that they first heard about the project through a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The evening started with a presentation from city planning director Ray Gastil that laid out a few different possible configurations for the proposed transit connector, with either a 12’ or 24’ right of way through Junction Hollow, which would use the current bike and pedestrian trail, and would therefore require bike and pedestrian paths to be shifted to the other side of the park next to the railroad tracks.

Possible benefits of the project include the construction of a pedestrian and bike bridge across the railroad tracks connecting the Junction Hollow trail to Panther Hollow lake, the restoration of the stream that historically ran through the park, and other storm water runoff management measures intended to prevent flooding that periodically inundates the Run. In one of the scenarios presented, an extension of the bike and transit only right-of-ways went all the way through Panther Hollow to (or at least near) the intersection of South Neville and 5th Avenue in Oakland.

Virtually all of the community members who spoke at the meeting opposed the proposed plan. The number one concern raised was the need for a permanent solution to storm water runoff and flooding, something the neighborhoods of Four Mile Run and Panther Hollow have been advocating for several years.

The next biggest concern raised was changing the character of the Junction Hollow Trail and park lands–from a quite green space to a much busier thoroughfare to Oakland. Community members mentioned the crumbling infrastructure in Panther Hollow and the Run, and the concern that running as many as 96 mini-buses through the neighborhood would only exacerbate existing problems. Others worried the connection would turn the neighborhood into a virtual park and ride for commuters working in Oakland.

Pittsburghers for Public Transit asked the following questions about the project.

Question: Private Road? What does that mean? Would the city actually own the road, and does private access mean it is a limited access road?

Is this going to be a private transit service?  And was the Port Authority asked about ways to provide additional or enhanced service between the 2nd avenue corridor that the proposed connection would serve? If yes, what did they say?  If no, why not?

Answer: The road would be a public right of way, and by private we mean limited access.  Who would provide the eventual service is an open question; it could be a private entity, or a non-profit, or the Port Authority.

Q: Have the labor market implications of using autonomous vehicles been studied? If so, what were the results. The grant application mentioned job creation as one of its benefits; it seems to me that having driver-less vehicles is the opposite of job creation.

A: No answer.

Q: Why is the projected ridership so small; 250 people/day is low for a transit project. For comparison, the 93 carries over 1,000 people a day, and a similar connector route the 89 hauls 400 passengers a day. It seems like a very large infrastructure expenditure to provide very little service.

A: They hope that as the service exists they will see increased ridership.

Q: How will the service be paid for

A: We are studying various options, but how the service would be paid for has yet to be determined.

PPT is also concerned about any development that happens near quality transit options. We insist that residential development include adequate affordable housing for both current residents in a neighborhood as well as low-income residents who would like to live in a place with good transit options.

Additional coverage of the proposed Hazelwood connector can be found here:

Make My Trip Count survey

The city and other partners are conducting a survey on commuting in Pittsburgh. Let’s make sure that transit riders’ voices are heard! The survey is focused on those who commute to downtown and Oakland, but everyone can take it!

Please take the survey here:

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More information from Make My Trip Count:

Most days of the week, you travel to work or school. How many days? Where do you start and where are you going? Most importantly, how do you get there? We’re interested in your answers.

Make My Trip Count is a survey of Pittsburgh region commuters to figure out how Pittsburghers regularly travel to work or school – and how that commute could be improved. Whether you’re on a bus, in your car, riding a bike, using your own two feet, or traveling by other means, you’re making commute trips multiple times per day – and we’re interested in improving your options and access.

Especially if you make regular trips into Downtown, Oakland, and the North Shore, we need your input. Aggregate results will inform transportation and commute improvements across the Pittsburgh region to reduce traffic, delay, and environmental impacts.

Along with providing more complete information behind regional transportation system decision-making, this survey is also the 2015 transportation reporting mechanism for Pittsburgh 2030 District Property Partners.

Join us for Stand Up for Transportation Day!

Join us on Thursday April 9th as we Stand Up for Transportation!

Groups from across the country are calling on Congress to pass a federal transportation bill, with adequate funding for public transit, biking, and walking. If we do not act now, the funding will run out at the end of May.

On April 9th, we encourage you to:

1) Call and/or write your elected officials. Click here to get the info

2) When you’re on the bus or T, or waiting at a stop, take pictures, and post them on social media. #SU4T #StandUp4Transportation

3) Sign this petition:

PPT is helping to host a press conference on Thursday April 9th at 10 am, Wood St T station lobby, 601 Wood St.

Volunteers will then go to bus stops to encourage riders to call their federal elected officials: Sen. Casey, Sen. Toomey, Rep. Doyle, Rep. Murphy, and Rep. Rothfus. We need to tell those in Washington how crucial public transit is to us. We expect our legislators to act NOW to pass a federal bill that provides adequate funding for public transit, biking, and walking.

If you’d like to volunteer, to help get the word out to riders, contact:

For more info see below.


Local advocates from community development, public transit, ped/bike, labor, and business sectors join with communities nationwide to emphasize need for long-term investment in US transportation infrastructure before funding evaporates on May 31

WHO: Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, Pittsburghers for Public Transit, Bike Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Allegheny Conference on Community Development

WHAT: Stand Up for Transportation Day –Pittsburgh area leaders are joining with their counterparts nationwide, April 9, 2015 to draw attention and awareness to the looming federal transportation funding crisis and call on Congress to follow Pennsylvania’s lead by passing a comprehensive, sustainable transportation funding package. Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), with support from national and local partners from transportation, business, labor and community oriented interests, Stand Up for Transportation Day will unite the voices of 200+ participating organizations in over 140 communities nationwide to focus on the federal transportation funding crisis’s urgency and provide a Pittsburgh-region context.

WHY: Whether you ride a train, bus or bike, walk or drive, the expiration of the federal funding bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), has a direct impact on southwestern Pennsylvania’s economy and quality of life. On May 31, 2015, the nation’s transportation funding mechanism – the Highway Trust Fund – becomes literally insolvent. It also threatens to wipe out the leadership Pennsylvania showed in passing its own transportation funding bill, Act 89 of 2013. Without a long-term federal transportation funding bill, ours and communities across the country will face tremendous economic and employment uncertainty. Transportation is the backbone of our local and national economy. A long-term transportation bill is needed to reinforce and expand transportation choices, and to continue to grow our economy – locally and nationally.


Transit Worker Appreciation Day a Success!!

Thanks to over a dozen PPT volunteers, we distributed close to 2000 cards for riders to give to their operators! We also delivered cards to over 100 maintenance workers. Many riders were enthusiastic to thank their drivers, who were often thrilled to be acknowledged. Thanks to all who helped spread the word, including GoBurgh, Bike Pittsburgh, ACTC, Port Authority, and WESA.
Let’s continue to thank these transit workers every day…for keeping us moving!

March 18 is Transit Worker Appreciation Day!


Transit Worker Appreciation Day

Wednesday March 18th is National Transit Worker Appreciation Day. Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT) encourages riders and residents to thank our Port Authority bus and rail operators and maintenance workers for keeping us moving.

Pittsburghers for Public Transit is coordinating over a dozen volunteers to distribute thank you cards to transit riders, who can deliver them to their bus operators. We will also be distributing cards to maintenance workers. These cards say: “Because you rock, I roll,” and “Thanks for keeping us moving.”

On March 18th, cards will be available between 12 and 1 and between 3 and 5 at both of the following locations:
-Outside Wood St station downtown
-Forbes and Bigelow in Oakland.

Riders can print out their own cards at this website

We appreciate the opportunity to thank and honor the over 2,000 public transit workers in Allegheny County who get riders to our destinations safely. These workers are out 365 days a year in rain, snow, ice, and frigid temperatures, as well as our hot summers. Bus operators collect fares, help riders find their way, handle safety issues, keep to a strict route schedule, and manage their way through traffic—along the steep and winding streets of our region. Maintenance workers maintain, repair, and clean the rails, buses, busways, stations, etc.  These workers are the backbone of our transit system, and we are grateful for the work they do each day to keep Allegheny County moving.

“The drivers deal with all the traffic so that I don’t have to.” –James Keener.

“I appreciate transit workers because they drive me to all of the places I need to go safely and stress free.” –Daisha Bernal

Social media tags: #pghlovestransitworkers, #transitworkerday, #twd, #thankyoutransitworkers, #Pgh4Pubtransit

Facebook event 


Contact: Molly Nichols
(412) 216-9659

Residents speak to Port Authority Board about getting service to transit deserts

On Feb 27, residents from Moon and Robinson delivered public comments about the need for transit in their communities.

Here are Groveton Village residents after addressing the board. They currently face a cold 1.5 mile walk to the bus in Coraopolis:

Rebecca Kiernan, Sustainability Coordinator for the Township of Moon, also addressed the board with the following comments:

Moon is located 17 miles west of Pittsburgh off I-376. A typical suburban community, the Township developed with the automobile in mind; neighborhoods of cul-de-sacs make for a lack of connectivity, sidewalks are sporadic, and stores and amenities are not in residential zones.

In the Mooncrest community of Moon, the loss of transit service has had devastating effects for the geographically isolated and predominantly low-income neighborhood. When buses were cut in 2011, residents lost mobility and employment. Residents without vehicles walk two miles to the closest bus stop and three miles to the closest grocery store- down a steep hill and along a busy, dangerous four lane road as seen in photos below.

Roughly 20% of residents in the Township are over the age of 60, and planning for the aging population is a major theme in the Township’s proposed Comprehensive Plan. Seniors who want to age in place, and no longer drive are severely limited in access to basic resources. The Moon Area Senior Citizens Association regularly battles lack of transit in their meetings.

Robert Morris University, which has expanded its campus and enrollment has difficulty attracting commuting students. Students who live on campus have limited mobility to leave campus to explore and participate in internships and opportunities throughout the Township and the region. RMU representatives are both supportive and fully active in the Township’s efforts to enhance mobility, and participate in existing bike/ped, public transit and economic development committees.

Commuters to Moon such as myself, total more than 21,000 per day, heading to large companies like FedEx and Eaton, located in Moon’s business parks. The sheer amount of commuters redefines the lack of public transit to and around Moon as a regional issue. The University Boulevard Park-and-Ride is located half a mile from Airside Business Park, which houses Michael Baker Int’l. and other major offices, employing a substantial portion of the commuters- this stop is also one mile from RMU. The stop serves the G3 Moon Flyer, which takes people from Moon to Downtown on weekday mornings, returning empty between trips because there is not a return trip option from Downtown to Moon- it does the reverse in the afternoon. I pass the G3 daily on my way to and from work- completely empty because there is no reverse commute line.

Public transportation would reduce the more than 18,000 single occupancy vehicles commuting to Moon, easing traffic, improving regional air quality and reducing carbon emissions. Traffic on I-376 West is nearly, if not as bad as, inbound traffic to the City. Easier commutes would prevent suburban sprawl and reduce blight in the City as commuters wouldn’t need to move to the suburbs for work.

While it does not address the needs of most Township residents, opening the doors to the G3 Moon Flyer and allowing ridership on the existing trip of the reverse commute seems like an easy tweak in service that would have great regional benefits.

As Moon strives to improve its livability, we know that the Port Authority is a crucial player in enhancing mobility.

PPT speaks at Port Authority Board meeting emphasizing the importance of public input

Here are excerpts from PPT’s comments delivered by Molly Nichols and Jonah McAllister-Erickson on January 30, 2015:
We want to thank the Port Authority for being open to hearing PPT’s concerns and questions and to meeting with residents who have particular service requests. PPT and the residents appreciate the open dialogue, and as you know, we will continue to push for adequate service.
Over the next few months, as the Board works on next year’s budget and considers the new criteria for adding service and responding to service requests, we hope you keep the following in mind: The state funding formula may primarily be based on ridership and performance, but we hope you keep residents’ needs and issues of equityfront and center. There are some legal protections for residents, including civil rights legislation, and there is a recognition of the value of senior citizen ridership in the state funding formula, but otherwise, it is up to individual regions to ensure that those who most need the system get adequate service in their communities, especially those living in transit deserts.
We commend the establishment of this criteria, along with a transparent process for responding to service requests, and we ask that transit riders, workers, and residents have an adequate voice in determiningthe service priorities and process.
We also know that Port Authority is working on changing their fare policy. We anticipate that the staff and board will create the space for public input before a legally required hearing, when all the decisions have already been made. Talking to riders and workers about their experiences should inform whatever new policy is developed. And while we know that Act 89 mandated for the fares to go up this year, we commend Port Authority for insisting that that could not happen (based on how quickly the fares had risen over the past few years). But we are still concerned that the base fare is slated to rise in 2017. As you know, we currently have one of the highest base fares in the country, at 2.50. Not only does raising the fare disproportionately impact transit reliant and often low-income riders, it also discourages ridership. We understand a lot of complex factors go into a policy like this, and we hope that all stakeholders can work together to find the most equitable solutions.
In the spirit of public process, we also hope that Port Authority continues to work on making its data available to the public, so that we can all be better informed about our system and its possibilities. This request is aligned with a national movement for open data.

Finally, as the board and staff work on these fundamental decisions about our transit system, we encourage you to be regular riders of our transit system. There is certainly no better way to fully understand its needs and potential.

And Port Authority announced they will soon be selling system maps for 2 dollars: