About Port Authority’s “Quarterly Service Adjustments”
Four times every year, the Port Authority adjusts its transit schedules and routes to account for construction, road closures, rider/worker requests, ridership shifts, and/or all of the other unexpected changes that might affect Pittsburgh roads. These quarterly adjustments were dialed back because of the pandemic, but they seem to be back on track now that ridership is increasing.
Since 2019, PPT and the @PGH_Bus_Info Hotline have been publishing these blogs to spread the word about these changes and say what they mean for riders. Some quarters bring great changes (like Q4 2020 where we won weekend service on 95% of Local routes) some quarters are a wash, and some quarters (like this one) are overall reductions of service.
Service has been abysmal the last few months. There’s really no other way to say it. Missed buses, crowded busses, inaccurate locations on apps. These are some of the worst levels of service that transit riders have ever seen. If you are sick of putting up with this terrible service, take a minute to help advocate for change and share your story with PPT here.
About the @PGH_Bus_Info Hotline
The @PGH_Bus_Info Hotline is a volunteer-run twitter account that gives riders updates on Port Authority’s daily happenings. The Hotline has no official connection to the Port Authority (again, it is a volunteer-run twitter account) but the updates they provide are helpful nonetheless. The Hotline is a big supporter of PPT, and an enormous advocate for public transit. We’re thankful for their support and happy to collab on these rider resources. Follow @PGH_Bus_Info Hotline on twitter for more grassroots transit updates.
About how to read this blog
We’re starting a new layout for these blogs. We’re going to sort this long list of changes from Port Authority into three categories based on what they mean for riders; “The Good”, “The Bad (The Missed Opportunities)”, “The Wash”.
For each change you’ll see the text and link that the Port Authority uses to describe each change, this is copy/pasted from their website…
- … then below this text, you’ll see this italicized text. This italicized portion are comments from the @PGH_Bus_Info Hotline and PPT on what these changes mean for riders and our system. You can check Port Authority’s website to follow these quarterly service changes.
Lets get started.
Q3 Service Changes: These changes went into effect Sunday, April 23, 2022.
8-Perrysville – Two inbound and two outbound weekday trips have been added and weekday trip times were adjusted in anticipation of the return of student riders.
- Albeit a small increase, it is nice to see schedules and service get closer to “normal” pre-pandemic levels. That said, this is one of the few increases that we’re seeing this quarter.
69-Trafford – Weekdays schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed. Service from Trafford to downtown Pittsburgh will be restored.
In addition to the stops the 69-Trafford currently serves between Trafford and Wilkinsburg, this route will resume serving stops along its previous route between Wilkinsburg and downtown via Point Breeze, Squirrel Hill, Oakland, and Uptown.
Due to this change, however, the 69-Trafford will no longer serve the following stops near Wilkinsburg Station where service currently terminates: Wallace Ave at Pitt St (inbound stop # 16627), East Busway at Wilkinsburg Station D (inbound stop # 16118), East Busway at Wilkinsburg Station B (outbound stop # 16111) and East Busway at Hay St Ramp Outbound Shelter (outbound stop # 8153).
- We are beyond ecstatic to see that not only is service to downtown restored but that Port Authority finally worked out an agreement with Haymaker Villa shoppes to layover there on these 2 routes and while Trafford falls just outside county lines it’s amazing that for the 1st time in nearly 20 years (dating back to STV Mini bus routes) that riders both East and West of the shopping center will have BOTH DIRECT INBOUND AND DIRECT OUTBOUND 7-Day a week service options instead of complicated limited service options or without needing to hike where sidewalks are few.
P12-Holiday Park Flyer – Schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed. An additional outbound trip was added in the morning.
- Ok, its a small change, but it’s nice to see 1 round-trip added. Now if only more service could be restored.
P67-Monroeville Flyer – Schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed to include the future permanent location of the Monroeville Mall Park and Ride. Please note that the new Park and Ride is not yet in service, and P67 buses will remain on detour serving the temporary Park and Ride location at the mall’s West Court entrance until further notice.
- Glad to see service is now officially relocated to a stop that will serve both the park-and-ride location the P68 and 67. Having stop uniformity at the mall helps limit rider confusion and benefits everyone – Port Authority, riders, and businesses. Disappointed to see no service expansion, so let’s hope for more in the future.
The bad (the missed opportunities) – buckle up because this is a long list
2-Mount Royal – Weekend service will no longer serve the Strip District and will instead mirror weekday service. Buses will enter downtown via East Ohio Street and the 9th Street Bridge.
- This change is very disappointing. Rather than having all services go via the Strip, which has fewer service options than N Side, PAAC chose to return the route to its weekday routing via 28 and the Northside. This is a huge missed opportunity because of the increase in jobs and housing that’s happening in the Strip and the development that is happening in Millvale. If the 2 were routed through the Strip it would give riders the ability to transfer to the 93, 64, and other routes that could bring them to points East without needing to go all the way in to downtown to transfer. This change is a huge missed opportunity to make the kind of changes that PAAC says it wants to make in its NexTransit plan. We want to see future changes that restore the 2 routing over the 40th street bridge on all days and increase the frequency.
12-McKnight – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed. Weekday service has been reduced to approximately 30-45-minute frequency. Saturday service has been reduced to approximately 25-35-minute frequency. Sunday service has been reduced to approximately 30-40-minute frequency.
- This one hurts. The 12 received more service after the the start of COVID when Port Authority made its first rounds of adjustments to respond to needs. Then, a year later at the public hearings about those changes, Port Authority told riders that routes like the 12 that got more service would not be at risk of losing it. But here we are, 3-months after they said that, we’re seeing reductions like these. Saying one thing, and doing another is not how you build trust or loyalty with riders.
13-Bellevue – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed. Late-night service has been reduced to 30-60 minute frequency.
- These cuts follow the trend that began after the start of COVID. Port Authority has brought a wrecking ball to evening service after 6 pm, in this case by creating 30 to 60 min frequencies. Really!? Riders deserve more than that.
16-Brighton – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed. Midday service has been reduced to 25-minute frequency. Early morning and late-night service has been reduced to 30-35-minute frequency.
- These new schedules have really done a number on service in the early morning and post-PM rush hour. The 16-Brighton is another casualty.
20-Kennedy – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed.
- Some overall service reductions are disappointing to see.
28X-Airport Flyer – Schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed. Outbound service will return to the Boulevard of the Allies. A new variant, the 28X-Airport Flyer Direct, will provide one outbound trip (towards the airport) in the morning, and one inbound trip (towards downtown) in the afternoon, and will bypass Robinson Town Centre.
- We’re seeing a return to the old Blvd of Allies routing, which is fine. However, what we’re also seeing, is that 2 trips (one AM and one PM) are now going directly to their airport and not stopping anywhere in Robinson so Robinson workers are losing connection. This is being done under the branding of “Airport Direct” trips. Direct trips to the airport could be good, but they shouldn’t come at the expense of workers’ connections. Moreover, it was revealed at a stakeholders meeting that this change is being made almost completely at the request of the contractor who’s building the new airport terminal and needs their workers there for the start of their shift. There are lots of changes that riders have been calling for – why is it that only big businesses get their requests met?
29-Robinson – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed. Service will operate every 50 minutes throughout the day.
- The fixed frequency of 50 minutes on weekdays is a mixed bag. On the upside, it is an improvement for mid-day service and some night service. But on the downside, there are fewer overall trips AND service ends slightly earlier. These charges against the backdrop of overall lower weekend service AND reduced Robinson trips thanks to the new 28x changes aren’t the best. It needs improvement.
31-Bridgeville – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed. Service will operate every 35 minutes throughout the day.
- The shift to 35 min headway all day on weekdays is another mixed bag. On the 1 hand a consistent schedule is more predictable for riders, but on the other certain times of day will see significant reductions with this shift. Also, these changes seem to narrow the window of service for riders, starting a little later in the AM and ending slightly earlier in the PM.
67-Monroeville – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and trip times have been reduced to 30-60 minute frequency throughout the day due to the return of 69-Trafford service to downtown Pittsburgh, which shares the same route from Wilkinsburg to downtown.
- This reduction is another example of PAAC going back on its word as they the mid-day and night service that they added to the 67 after COVID’s start. That said, its nice to see the 11:35 PM weekday trip in town go back outbound for folks that might need it.
P1-East Busway-All Stops – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed. Morning rush hour frequency has been reduced to approximately every 10 minutes, and afternoon rush hour frequency has been reduced to approximately every 8 minutes.
- These are cuts, straight up, and that’s not good.
6-Spring Hill – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed. / 15-Charles – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed.
- We’ve no comments here as nothing seems particularly noteworthy.
11-Fineview – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed.
- Nothing noteworthy to say.
59-Mon Valley – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed. Service has been increased to 40-minute frequency.
- We’re gunna put this change in “The Wash” section because it really has its positives and negatives. Here’s another example of PAAC rolling back the extra service that was added after COVID. While it’s nice that weekday isn’t going entirely back to 1 hr headways like before, and that the night service does get a boost (bonus kudos to the new 1230 am trip from the Century 3 Mall to Versailles), it’s disappointing to lose 30 min frequency on weekdays and part of the weekend. These changes do add to the Port Authority Portfolio of nearly 24 hr routes, with only an 80-minute gap of zero service on weeknights…now if that could be a 7-day deal. It’s also nice that there’s 2 extra trips a day, but it would be nice if the inbound trips from Versailles to West Mifflin ran equally as late.
60-Walnut-Crawford Village – Schedules have been updated to reflect that service has been restored to the McKeesport Transportation Center effective March 20.
- Nothing noteworthy. Now the route loops into the new transit center.
61C-McKeesport-Homestead – Schedules have been updated to reflect that service has been restored to the McKeesport Transportation Center effective March 20.
- Nothing noteworthy. Now the route loops into the new transit center.
64-Lawrenceville-Waterfront – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed.
- Nothing to really say.
74-Homewood-Squirrel Hill – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed.
- The subtle adjustments aren’t too bad. While service ends earlier on Weekdays under the new schedule and Sunday is still crap, it looks like Saturday runs slightly later now.
75-Ellsworth – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed.
- The bulk of service actually looks Improved, except for nights which look slightly scaled back – especially Weeknight and Sunday/Holidays
G2-West Busway – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed. Service has been reduced to 20-minute frequency.
- The nearly all-day 20 min headways is both a curse and a blessing. It’ll help predictability and create more even night service, but at the cost of reductions in both the AM and PM “rush” – which effectively halves service at those times.
P2-East Busway Short – Schedules have been adjusted and trip times have changed. The P2 will resume serving stops in downtown Pittsburgh. Service has been reduced to 20-minute frequency.
- While it’s nice to see P2 return to downtown after a questionable “test pilot”, it’s disappointing to see both P1 & P2 getting service reductions. Additionally, it’s disappointing that the P2 continues to only have service during the morning rush.
P7-McKeesport Flyer – Schedules have been updated to reflect that service has been restored to the McKeesport Transportation Center effective March 20.
- Still sore about this route. It lost a bunch of service during the COVID changes that has never been restored. These changes don’t do much other than loop it through the new transportation center in McKeesport.
That’s it for this quarter. If you have stories of bad transit service in the last few months, take a minute to share it with PPT and help advocate for change.
Stay tuned for the next set of quarterly changes, expected in June of 2022
As these changes roll-out, be sure to give your feedback & suggestions by reaching out to Port Authority Customer Service by phone or over twitter:
Port Authority Customer service phone number: 412-442-2000
Hours: Weekdays 5a to 7p, Weekend + Holidays 8a to 430p
or via Twitter @PGHTransit or @PGHTransitCare
And if you want to get in touch with the volunteer-run @PGH_Bus_Info Hotline, you can give them a call at 412-759-3335 ONLY When PortAuthority Customer Service is Closed/unavailable or via Twitter anytime @PGH_BUS_INFO
The PGH Bus Info Hotline will be back on PPT’s blog in for the next set of changes. See ya then.