Wins for More Language Access on Transit

Image Description: (photo credit to Casa San Jose) selfie of three Casa San Jose members riding the T with a brightly-colored, flower-shaped sign that reads “Si Se Puede”

Casa San Jose and Pittsburghers for Public Transit Celebrate Pittsburgh Regional Transit’s Steps Toward Language Equity!

You may have noticed that starting the week of December 10th, Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT) began playing bilingual announcements in English and Spanish at select train stations along the Red Line! PRT also added Spanish language access on its Customer Service line (412-422-2000), and Spanish language information has been added to LED info boards along the Red Line.

Casa San Jose and Pittsburghers for Public Transit applaud these important steps toward a more accessible transit system for Latino residents. The changes bring us closer to a Pittsburgh region that celebrates culture, welcomes immigrants, and embraces inclusion, dignity, and respect. Spanish language announcements on public transit provide essential information for transit riders and send a city-wide message that non-native English speakers are welcome in our city. 

But this victory does not come easy. We have organized with Latino transit riders for years toward this win – congratulations to all!

Public transit is critical for Latino residents and the entire community. Latino transit riders have long been advocating to the Pittsburgh Regional Transit Board of Directors to improve language access along the T and throughout the rest of the system. Already, the Spanish-language announcements are making it easier for riders to use PRT. This will expand ridership and build a stronger transit system.

Casa San Jose has already received feedback of good customer service in Spanish. Once a Spanish interpreter was requested, the attendant said “Un momento, por favor.” The interpretation was good, and the PRT attendant seemed well-trained in using an interpreter. Casa San Jose is excited to share this customer service number with the community we serve, and we appreciate all the efforts PRT has undertaken to make this resource available to our community. 

The week of December 11th, 2023, PRT began playing the following announcement over the speakers and on the LED scroll boards in a number of T stations in downtown Pittsburgh: 

<< ¿Sabía que la información del Servicio de Atención al Cliente de PRT está disponible 24 horas al día, 7 días a la semana? Llame al cuatro-uno-dos, cuatro-cuatro-dos, dos mil y pulse dos para la traducción al español. O, durante el horario comercial normal, solicite un traductor cuando hable con un agente en vivo. >>

On Wednesday, December 14th at 8:30am, two Spanish-speakers were waiting in the Steel Plaza Station for their Red Line train to Beechview. Upon hearing the auditory announcement in Spanish, one of them jumped up and, speechless, pointed at their ear. The other recognized their native language over the loudspeaker and a big grin spread across their face. Another community member told Casa San Jose, “Lo escuché ayer y me sorprendí! Es muy excelente lo que están haciendo para nuestra comunidad, de saber que podemos llamar a ellos en español.” (I heard it yesterday and I was surprised! It’s excellent what they’re doing for our community, to know that we can call them in Spanish.) 

Casa San Jose welcomes hundreds of Spanish-speaking community members in our office each month. Most of our people do not have access to driver’s licenses and are looking to make Pittsburgh their forever home. We are so grateful to Pittsburgh Regional Transit for setting the example in how to make Pittsburgh a Welcoming City, and we look forward to working with them in the future.

Get involved in a PPT Working Committee to help make more wins like this possible for better public transit!!