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 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 lackluster.
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.
See the Q3 and Q4 changes and what they mean for riders
This italicized text below each change are comments from the @PGH_Bus_Info Hotline. We’re playing some cat-up, so this blog is a two-for-one. It covers the Q3 changes that were made back in September and the Q4 changes that were made on the 21st of November. You can check Port Authority’s website to follow these quarterly service changes.
Q3 Service Changes: These changes are effective Tuesday, September 7, 2021.
O1-Ross Flyer – Schedules have been adjusted and some trip times have changed. Trips have been added, with service increasing to 15-minute frequency during morning and afternoon peak service hours and 20-minute frequency during off-peak hours.
These are positive changes. More frequency is great. But this is a Flyer route that on runs between 6-8am in the morning and 3-6pm in the evening. This means commuting patterns are returning to a pre-pandemic level. However, we would love to see an increased service span as a higher priority in coming changes. This is a great route that would service many of these north hills communities if it were to roll more frequently.
Red Line – Two-car trains will operate during weekday morning and afternoon peak service hours. Service will continue to follow current schedules (last updated 11/22/2020).
Blue Line – Two-car trains will operate during weekday morning and afternoon peak service hours. Service will continue to follow current schedules (last updated 11/22/2020).
Both of these were positive changes when they made them, but the decision was reversed mid-way through the quarter citing cost efficiencies, low ridership, etc. We need need a proactive strategy for bringing ridership back and increased capacity will play a big part in that. And its needed! As riders who’ve have been taking to twitter will gladly tell you: this car is geting crowded during the AM and PM commute.
Current overhead infrastructure along the Silver Line-Library prevents the addition of two-car trains to Silver Line service. Work to improve this infrastructure is expected to begin in mid-2022.
Q4 Service Changes: These changes are effective Sunday, November 21, 2021.
2-Mount Royal – Detour routing at The Block Northway that first began in March, 2021, due to the closure of the access road between the upper mall parking lot and Browns Lane will become permanent. See below for stop details. Trip times will not change and riders should continue to reference current schedules.
This is a very good change for people going to the mall or the shopping center on the perimeter of the mall.
12-McKnight – Detour routing at The Block Northway that first began in March, 2021, due to the closure of the access road between the upper mall parking lot and Browns Lane will become permanent. See below for stop details. Trip times will not change and riders should continue to reference current schedules.
Similar to the 2, this is great change that adds more access to jobs and shopping at these malls.
The following stops will be discontinued effective Sunday, November 21, 2021:
- Browns Ln at Chapel Hill (stop # 22548) – Served by the outbound 2-Mount Royal and the inbound 12-McKnight.
- Browns Ln opp Chapel Hill (stop # 314) – Served by the inbound 2-Mount Royal and the outbound 12-McKnight.
- Browns Ln opp Northway Mall Dr (stop #22566) – Served by the outbound 2-Mount Royal and the inbound 12-McKnight.
Although these are three stops eliminated, we don’t think that riders will notice too much. Much of the service on Browns lane was eliminated back in 2010 during PAAC’s huge round of cuts. Service was restored on Browns lane sometime around 2016, but it was cut again just before the pandemic. So this off and on again pattern hasn’t established a consistent ridership.
The following alternate stops will become permanent effective Sunday, November 21, 2021:
- The Block at Northway at Northway Apartments (stop # 22751) – Served by the outbound 2-Mount Royal and the inbound 12-McKnight.
- The Block at Northway opp Northway Apartments (stop # 22752) – Served by the inbound 2-Mount Royal and the outbound 12-McKnight.
Again these are nice changes. They get riders closer to some of the other shopping destinations from jobs and goods access.
Stay tuned for the next set of quarterly changes, expected in March of 2022
And 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
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 September for Q3 changes and takeaways. See ya then!