Port Authority’s June Service Adjustments, Q2 2021, with comment from @PGH_Bus_Info Hotline

Image description: two riders get off a blue Port Authority bus. One is using a wheelchair, the other is carrying a green backpack.

New quarterly adjustments bring an ever-so-slight increase in service levels. Overall Service remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Four times every year, the Port Authority adjusts its transit schedules and routes to account for construction, road closures, rider’s 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. PPT has been publishing these blogs since 2019 with the @PGH_Bus_Info Hotline to give a rider’s perspective on what these adjustments mean for our service. Some quarters bring great changes (like Q4 2020 where we won weekend service on 95% of Local routes) some quarters are lackluster.

Typically we try to get these explanations out before the changes go into effect… but this quarter we’re a little behind. The changes in this blog into effect on Sunday, June 20th, 2021. You can check Port Authority’s website to follow these quarterly service changes. Check out the upcoming changes below

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.

The @PGH_Bus_Info Hotline commentary on these changes will be italicized like this below


Rundown of Q2 2021 Service adjustments, with takeaways from the @PGH_Bus_Info Hotline – See Port Authority’s Official Update Here

Its us @PGH_Bus_Info Hotline and we’re back with some more commentary on Port Authority’s latest round of changes. Here are my top-line takeaways:

– You’ll see “service added” on many of these changes… but unfortunately that typically only translates to one or two extra runs per day. We want to be excited about these improvements, but we need to be realistic that this isn’t any large increase in service.

– Overall, our system is still down 10% from our pre-pandemic service levels

The following changes went into effect on June 20th, 2021

1-Freeport Rd – A new Saturday trip has been added to help reduce crowding.

an addition of one trip…… its a small change, but we gotta count our wins where we can.

2-Mount Royal – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed. Weekend schedules have also been adjusted and some trip times have changed to incorporate the long-term detour for the downtown outdoor dining initiative in place until further notice. Buses will continue operating via 11th Street, Ft. Duquesne Blvd., 7th Street and Liberty Avenue.

4-Troy Hill – Sunday service has been added and will run approximately every 70 minutes from 10am-6pm.

The 4 was one of the few local routes that did not receive full 7-day service when Port Authority made that major change back in December of 2020 – thanks much in part to PPT”s advocacy! So its great to see that Sunday service is now being added!. That said….it would be really nice to see later service on all days.

7-Spring Garden – Schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed; schedules have been updated to incorporate the long-term detour for the downtown outdoor dining initiative in place until further notice. Outbound buses will continue to operate via Stanwix Street.

So the 7 was also one of the few that was ignored when 7-day service was implemented last December. We need to see this route get the 7-day service these riders deserve.

….also buses being detoured and slowed to enable an outdoor dining initiatve? Doesn’t sound like transit equity to us….

13-Bellevue – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed to incorporate the long-term detour for the downtown outdoor dining initiative in place until further notice. Outbound buses will continue to operate via Stanwix Street.

15-Charles – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted, and some trip times have changed to incorporate the long-term detour routing for the downtown outdoor dining initiative in place until further notice. Outbound buses will continue to operate via Stanwix Street.

16-Brighton – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted, and some trip times have changed to incorporate the long-term detour for the downtown outdoor dining initiative in place until further notice. Outbound buses will continue to operate via Stanwix Street.

17-Shadeland – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted, and some trip times have changed to incorporate the long-term detour for the downtown outdoor dining initiative in place until further notice. Outbound buses will continue to operate via Stanwix Street.

Routes 15-16-17-13 have been updated for the downtown re-routes however it is slightly disappointing to see no extra stops temporary or otherwise in lieu of the one that’s cut

again with detouring downtown buses so that people can dine outdoors.

29-Robinson – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed to reflect new routing to accommodate the downtown dining initiative in place until further notice. Buses will use Liberty Avenue in both directions and will no longer serve stops on Penn Avenue. The downtown terminus will change from Penn Avenue at Garrison Place to Penn Station.

31-Bridgeville – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted, and some trip times have changed to reflect new routing to accommodate the downtown dining initiative in place until further notice. Buses will use Liberty Avenue in both directions and will no longer serve stops on Penn Avenue. The downtown terminus will change from Penn Avenue at Garrison Place to Penn Station.

G31-Bridgeville Flyer – Schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed to reflect new routing to accommodate the downtown dining initiative in place until further notice. Buses will use Liberty Avenue in both directions and will no longer serve stops on Penn Avenue. The downtown terminus will change from Penn Avenue at Garrison Place to Penn Station.

We like this change. Routes 31-29-G31 being rerouted to serve Penn Park Station on the bottom of the East Busway is nice in our opinion, helps with East-West or West-East connections and adds some options for movement in town which we have used and has been a small godsend.

36-Banksville – Weekend schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed.

Nothing noteworthy here, Route still continues to end service too early 

51-Carrick – Weekday and weekend trips have been added to reduce crowding.

59-Mon Valley – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed. Weekend trips have been added to reduce crowding.

When you look at the details here, we’re really not impressed. The new adjustments actually revoke some of the trips that were added in past quarters. These were badly needed. Also, the weekend trips that are “added” are miniscule aside from 1-2 hours of boosted afternoon service. And Sunday service still ends too early.

60-Walnut-Crawford Village – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed.

61D-Murray – Trips have been added to Saturday schedules to reduce crowding.

Would like to see more service throuh the rest of the day on Saturday, and Sunday service additions would be great too.

67-Monroeville – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed. Trips have been added to weekday schedules to accommodate riders of the 69-Trafford traveling between Wilkinsburg and downtown.

Changes don’t go far enough in addressing the loss of the 69 to Point Breeze and Squirrel Hill riders. Because of those changes, riders are forced to transfer. Furthermore the spacing on several trips is awkward at best and as a gesture of goodwill trips should be added on Weekends too.

69-Trafford – The layover location at Viaduct Way in Trafford Borough (Westmoreland County) has been removed. With the removal of the layover location, buses will operate between Trafford (5th St. at Cavit) and Wilkinsburg (Wilkinsburg Station) only, and will no longer serve Downtown Pittsburgh. Riders can transfer at Wilkinsburg Station on the East Busway to continue downtown, or transfer to the 67-Monroeville in Wilkinsburg. Trips have been added to the 67-Monroeville to accommodate riders. 

We continues to join the very vocal and heated opposition to this blatant service cut and reduction. Especially because this change forces riders to transfer buses, and potentially pay another fare, without a system-wide free-tranfer policy for all riders.

Almost everything is wrong with the service cut save the fact that it establishes 7 day direct service into Haymaker Village Shopping Center unfortunately that is the 1 lone small positive in a mostly shameful decision.

P69-Trafford Flyer – Due to the removal of the layover location at Viaduct Way in Trafford Borough (Westmoreland County), the inbound and outbound Viaduct Way at Terminal stops, and inbound Brinton Ave at 5th St. NS stop, will be discontinued. Service will continue to operate to Downtown Pittsburgh.

With the 69 basically being told to kiss off, we remain disapointed that the P69 can’t be expanded to run 7 day all day. At this point, why not fully replace all 69 service and use Penn Park Station in town for layovers or simply be set up similar to the 77 P78 and P68 now that operator reliefs and logistics behind the scenes have shifted? It would be viable to have drivers do a full round P69 via Haymaker then go on break or lunch or what have you.

74-Homewood-Squirrel Hill – Weekday schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed.

75-Ellsworth – Trips have been added to Saturday schedules to reduce crowding.

81-Oak Hill – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed to incorporate the recent long-term detour in Oakland. Inbound buses will continue to operate on Bellefield Avenue and will no longer operate on Bigelow Blvd.

82-Lincoln – Trips have been added to Saturday schedules to reduce crowding.

83-Bedford Hill – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed to incorporate the recent long-term detour in Oakland. Inbound buses will continue to operate on Bellefield Avenue and will no longer operate on Bigelow Blvd. Weekday and Saturday trips have been added to reduce crowding.

86-Liberty – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed to incorporate the long-term detour for the downtown outdoor dining initiative in place until further notice. Buses will continue operating via 11th Street, Ft. Duquesne Blvd., 7th Street and Liberty Avenue.

Not much to report. Still waiting on 24/7 service on this route.

87-Friendship – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed to incorporate the long-term detour for the downtown outdoor dining initiative in place until further notice. Buses will continue operating via 11th Street, Ft. Duquesne Blvd., 7th Street and Liberty Avenue.

88-Penn – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed to incorporate the long-term detour for the downtown outdoor dining initiative in place until further notice. Buses will continue operating via 11th Street, Ft. Duquesne Blvd., 7th Street and Liberty Avenue.

Not much to report. Still waiting on 24/7 service on this route and an extension to live up to its namesake 

91-Butler Street – Weekday and weekend schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed to incorporate the long-term detour for the downtown outdoor dining initiative in place until further notice. Buses will continue operating via 11th Street, Ft. Duquesne Blvd., 7th Street and Liberty Avenue.

Not much to report. Still waiting for 24/7 service too.

P2-East Busway Short – To help address bus bunching in Downtown Pittsburgh, all P2 service will end at Penn Station. During this pilot, riders traveling into downtown will need to take a P1 from the start of their trip or transfer at Penn Station onto any other inbound bus route.

This P2 “Test Pilot” or “Study” is another thing that we have concerns about. We doubt that the P2 has much effect on bus bunching downtown, especially when one of the most bunched corridors is Smithfield southbound at the superstop and the P2 doesn’t use any of those lanes. In our opinion, the better solution is clearly to revert back to the old P2 route through downtown when it used to be called the EBS (the East Busway Short) – Penn Station > left on Grant > right on Fifth > right on Liberty back to Penn Station.

O5-Thompson Run Flyer – The outbound timepoint at Nelson Run Road at Nelson Run Ramp has been removed. The bus stop will be discontinued effective June 20, 2021 due to the lack of safe pedestrian access.

When a bus stop lack safe pedestrian access, the answer is to improve safety, not cut the stop. Slow cars down, build a sidewalk, add more pedestrian protection. Port Authoirty needs a program to tackle this, and the County needs to support them. It’s also still disappointing to see this route continues to have such limited service and no reverse commutes.