Port Authority of Allegheny County

Port Authority of Allegheny County
Port Authority of Allegheny County
Two 2005 Gillig Advantage buses, which makes up PAT's current fleet, near the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.
Founded March 1, 1964
Headquarters Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Service area Allegheny County and bordering portions of Beaver, Washington, Westmoreland and Armstrong counties
Service type Public Transit
Light Rail
Bus Rapid Transit
Inclined-Plane Railway (Funicular)
Routes 184
Stations 69
Fleet Urban bus: 804
Suburban bus: 40
Light rail: 83
Funicular: 2
Daily ridership 203,103 (April 2011)[1]
Fuel type Diesel, Diesel-electric Hybrid
Operator Allegheny County Government
Chief executive Stephen G. Bland
Web site Port Authority's official website

Port Authority of Allegheny County (also known as the Port Authority or sometimes by its former nickname PAT, and formerly known as PATransit) is the second-largest public transit agency in Pennsylvania and the 11th-largest in the United States.[2] When considering that its service area is the 20th largest in the U.S. in population, per person the Pittsburgh area enjoys more transit service than 9 larger metro areas. The county owned, state funded agency is based in Pittsburgh and is overseen by a CEO and a ten member board of directors, who report to the county executive.

The Port Authority's bus and light rail system covers Allegheny County. On a few of its longer-distance routes, service extends into neighboring counties such as Beaver, Washington and Westmoreland counties. Those counties also have their own transit systems, including several routes that run into downtown Pittsburgh, where riders can make connections with Port Authority service.



The Port Authority was created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1956 to allow for creation of port facilities in the Pittsburgh area.[3] Three years later, the state legislation was amended to allow the Port Authority to acquire privately owned transit companies that served the area. This included the Pittsburgh Railways Company and a total of thirty-two independent bus and incline operations.[4]

On April 19, 1963 the Board of Allegheny County Commissioners authorized the acquisition of thirty-two transit companies, including the Pittsburgh Railways Company, which had provided bus and streetcar service to the city of Pittsburgh since January 1902, and an incline plane company; these acquisitions were made at a cost of about $12 million.[3] On March 1, 1964 Port Authority Transit began service.[5]

Port Authority light rail train, Washington Junction Station, March 2005.

Shortly after the Port Authority began service, 150 new GM "Fishbowl" buses were introduced to replace aging ones acquired from its predecessors, a new route numbering convention was introduced, and the fare system was streamlined.[5] Due to urban sprawl, the transit agency introduced new routes that served new communities.[3] In the following years, additional buses were ordered and several new transit garages opened.[5] Many of the trolley lines acquired from Pittsburgh Railways were abandoned, and turned into bus lines instead; however, South Hills lines via Beechview and Overbrook were retained.[6] In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Port Authority hoped to introduce a modern rapid transit system known as Skybus with rubber-tired vehicles running on rails, but the plan fell through.[7]

In the early 1970s, the Port Authority entered what was dubbed by its fans as the "Mod" era, in which buses were repainted in various splashy paint schemes.[8] Furthermore, several new flyer routes and routes to Oakland's university core were introduced, as part of a new general marketing strategy.[8] A commuter rail line to McKeesport, the PATrain began service in 1975.[9] These new routes, coupled with the 1973 oil crisis, generated a major increase in ridership.[8] Yet, due to the poor state of the economy at the time, fares increased and there was a brief strike in 1976.[10] In spite of these setbacks, the South Busway opened in 1977 and plans for other capital investments were made.[3]

During the 1980s, with gas prices falling and population loss from the decline of the steel industry, ridership decreased and the agency actually lowered fares to attract new riders in the middle of the decade.[3] Many new buses were ordered, and the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway opened in 1983.[11] Construction of a light rail line that started in downtown and went south to traverse Beechview, with separate lines going to South Hills Village and Library progressed during the decade.[3] Part of the light rail line was an updated version of the old trolley system. In July 1985, the downtown subway opened; the Beechview line followed in 1987 and the Library line a year later.[11] In 1989, the agency celebrated its twenty-fifth year of existence. Also that year, the commuter rail service to McKeesport was discontinued.[9]

In the early part of the 1990s, the agency was rocked by a four-week strike due to a labor dispute in 1992.[10] The strike, coupled with changing demographic patterns, caused a decrease in ridership.[3] New buses that were compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 were introduced into the system early in the decade.[3] In 1993, the badly detiorated Overbrook light rail line was shut down, necessitating that all trains heading into and out of downtown to use the Beechview line.[12] Several capital projects, such as the construction of a new western busway and light rail extensions were considered.[3] In 1998, the agency rebranded itself as "Ride Gold" with new paint schemes and a new marketing campaign.[13]

In 2000, the West Busway from the shores of the Ohio River to Carnegie was opened.[14] Shortly thereafter, new bus routes to outlying communities, such as Cranberry, were established.[15] In 2003, a short extension of the East Busway was completed.[16] The following year, another rapid transit addition was made when the Overbrook light rail line was re-opened after a lengthy reconstruction.[12] Construction also started on another light rail extension to Pittsburgh's North Shore near Heinz Field, known as the North Shore Connector. Unfortunately, in spite of the capital projects expansion, the agency was in serious financial trouble by the middle of the decade. In June 2007, the agency went through with a fifteen percent service cut in order to cut the deficit.[17] Also, in order to provide a dedicated source of funding to the agency, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato introduced the controversial 10% Allegheny County Alcoholic Beverage Tax in 2008 to fund the agency.[18] Later that same year, another strike was narrowly averted.[19] The agency is currently planning a major service overhaul that will begin to go into effect in March 2010.[20]

The Port Authority pays $168,763 annually to Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney and $48,750 annually to Greenlee Partners to lobby the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[21]

Funding crisis of 2010–11

Between 2007 and 2010, the Port Authority cut its annual expenses by $52 million and raised its revenues by $14 million to help alleviate a statewide transportation funding crisis.[22] The funding crisis only grew worse, however. The state legislature assumed it would receive permission to convert Interstate 80 into a toll road to increase revenues, but the federal government denied the request, leading to a gap in the state transportation budget of $472 million.[23]

On November 24, 2010, the Port Authority's board of directors approved a massive service cut and fare hike to go into effect in March 2011. The service cut would reduce total service hours by approximately 35 percent, including the elimination of 45 routes.[22] The Port Authority's budget from the state is to be substantially reduced for 2011, and as chairperson Joan Ellenbogen noted, the Port Authority is legally required to adopt a balanced budget.[24] Chairperson Guy Mattola stated that "Unfortunately, we are now at the point that all options have been exhausted...It is necessary to move forward with this service reduction plan recognizing the devastating consequences for riders and non-riders alike."[25]

On December 13, 2010, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission approved a plan by governor Ed Rendell to allocate $45 million in temporary funding for the Port Authority to help reduce the magnitude of these service cuts.[23] Many details of the emergency funding, including how long the Port Authority must make the $45 million last and exactly how many routes slated to be cut could be saved, were not settled by the end of 2010.

The Port Authority brand

Although Port Authority is part of the local fans' folklore, its off-beat imaging is more notorious. Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s the bus fleet was very recognizable with its fleet of air-conditioned GM "Fishbowls" (from their 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1971 orders) sporting a white top with small red strip.[5] Other noticeable features included side destination signs placed near the exit door and an unusual seating arrangement with one side facing forward and the other lining up to match the seating placed on the wheel well.[5] PAT would continue ordering buses in that specification until 1995 when they ordered buses with both seating sides facing front except when on wheel wells. The side destination signs were moved immediately to the left of the front door starting with the 1998 Neoplan AN-460 (articulated bus) order. This continued with the Neoplan Metroliner order but skipped the Neoplan AN-440LF order in 1999. The 2003 order of Gillig Advantage low-floors and all subsequent orders have conformed with the side sign next to front door configuration. It is worth noting that the 1980 GM's RTS buses acquired were specified with the current side sign configuration.

By 1972 it entered what was dubbed by fans the "Mod" era, as buses were given flashy new paint schemes. Buses were painted with color at the front and rear, slanted to line up with the windows), and a large white portion in between.[8]

In the 1980s that scheme gave way to one that featured an updated version of its white with red strip look from the 1960s. The red strip was larger, a black strip was painted around the window area, and the white background covered most of the bus exterior.[11] That look was seen around the area [via the Flxible and NovaBus 'classics' series], although these buses were later repainted and refurbished into the uniform color livery up until their retirements.

In 1998 Port Authority rebranded itself as "Ride Gold" to coincide with its 35th anniversary.[13] Today, some of Port Authority's bus fleet is in various colors with a splatter of gold "G"s adorning the exterior.

More recently, Port Authority's buses have included various transportation-related words and phrases repeated across the exterior, such as the words "move", "go" "ride" or "connect", combinations of "rockin'" and "rollin'", "ziggin'" and "zaggin'", or "here" and "there".[26] Newer articulated buses feature Burma-Shave-style poetry such as "Parking got you down / Don't make Faces / Hop on the bus / There's plenty of spaces", "This big shiny bus / Is really no riddle / But it sure is odd / How it bends in the middle", "Getting to work / Is no trouble / When you ride / The daily double", "There's the church / There's the steeple / And here's the bus / With all the people", and "If you're tired of all the traffic / And could use an assist / Hop aboard a bus / With a bit of a twist".

On September 21, 2006, the Port Authority announced that it was retiring the "Ride Gold" campaign and that the current and future bus and light rail fleet will follow the standard design and uniform colors of its Gillig bus fleet.[13] The reason was the system's decision to return to a back-to-basics approach and to save costs on wholesale repainting and refurbishing. Even its updated website has dropped the gold "G" and is now going with the simple "PORT AUTHORITY" fonts, which will now be used on the entire fleets. These include the aforementioned poetry on their more recent articulated buses. As of today, some of the Port Authority's buses and light rail vehicles have been repainted with the standard "Port Authority" font that is used by the agency today.

Fare structure

Port Authority currently uses a fare structure based on four main zones (1, 1A, and 2). The downtown area is an unnumbered zone, named the Free Fare Zone, which was established in 1985 to encourage transit use in downtown and reduce stop "dwell" times (the amount of time a transit vehicle must remain stopped for passengers to board or alight). All rides taken solely within the downtown zone are free, at all times on the light rail system (called the "T") and until 7 p.m. on buses, seven days a week.[27] Originally, the free-fare zone applied only until 7 p.m. on both buses and light rail, but it was expanded to 24 hours on the latter in 1989.

Zone 1 is the zone closest to downtown Pittsburgh, and Zone 2 comprises the outer half of Allegheny County and all stops outside of Allegheny County. A few routes cross briefly into neighboring counties.

When passing from one zone to another, the fare increases. The 1A zone is an exception. Zone 1A is a "transition zone" from Zone 1 to Zone 2, and if traveling from Zone 1 to 1A or from 2 to 1A, one pays no increase in fare. See this fare structure table for specific zone boundaries and definitions.

The system usually uses an "outbound" pay system for daytime transit to and from downtown. Fare is paid when boarding on the "outbound" part of the route. For example, if the bus or light rail vehicle is headed towards downtown, the rider pays when boarding. However, if the bus or light rail vehicle is headed out of downtown, the rider pays upon exiting.[28] However, this system only applies on buses that serve downtown; on most of the bus routes that do not serve downtown, the rider always pays upon entry.[28] During the evening, on buses serving downtown, the method changes on many routes to "pay when boarding" (also known as "pay enter"), due to the possibility of riders trying to avoid paying the fare. In combination with the downtown Free Fare Zone, this fare collection system permits boarding to take place via all doors concurrently in downtown (except evenings), greatly reducing loading delays in the part of the system with the heaviest concentration of transit routes and passenger boarding per stop.[29]

However, this system also creates a noticeable problem with people bunching up near the front of the bus during times when customers pay on exit. People are reluctant to move to the rear of the bus for fear they will have difficulty getting out, as only the front door is used as both entry and exit during these times. This issue is exacerbated by overcrowding and drivers who leave the stop too quickly, resulting in much yelling and pushing as people try to get off. This also leads to drivers unnecessarily skipping pickups, as they believe their bus is too full to allow further people to board, when really it is just crowded in the front.

The Port Authority also sells non-discounted single-use tickets, and discounted weekly, monthly and annual passes.[30] Each carries a small discount over earlier time-based passes and is valid for an unlimited number of trips/transfers in the specified zone(s) for that time period. For example, for a zone 1 pass, the cost of a weekly is the equivalent of 9.5 one-way trips, a monthly is equivalent to 34 trips, and an annual is equivalent to 377 trips. An annual pass is a 12-month subscription to monthly passes, which can be either mailed or picked up at the Downtown Service Center on Smithfield Street.

Students and staff of several colleges in the area, most notably Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, ride the bus at a discounted yearly rate, via a program whereby the students pay a fee each semester to the Port Authority to provide transit.[31]

Port Authority has installed new fareboxes on all its buses and will complete the install on its 83 "T" vehicles by May 2011[32] to prepare to convert to a smart card fare collection system marketed as "CollectCard"[33][34][35] starting in early 2012[32]. The University of Pittsburgh has already begun using the new farebox system by equipping its ID cards with a chip the farebox can scan and recognize. However, because individuals affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh ride for free, the system serves only to authenticate the validity of the ID card, and no fares are actually calculated or assessed.

Light rail

The logo for Pittsburgh's light rail system.

The Port Authority operates a 25-mile (40 km) light rail system called "The T", which provides service from downtown Pittsburgh's subway to a number of neighborhoods and suburbs south of the city on a surface light rail right-of-way.

The system comprises three lines:

  • Red Line
  • Blue Line – Library
  • Blue Line – South Hills Village


Pittsburgh's mass transit system also includes two unique funiculars (called "inclines" locally) which transport passengers from the top of Mt. Washington to its base along the Monongahela River, just across from Downtown Pittsburgh.

Both the Duquesne Incline and the Monongahela Incline have stations along Grandview Avenue atop Mt. Washington and in the Station Square area at the base.

The Duquesne Incline is owned but not operated by the Port Authority. The Society for the Preservation of the Duquesne Heights Incline operates the latter, and does so as a non-profit organization. It has the original cars and the original stations.


The Port Authority operates 844 buses on in Allegheny County, and also service extends into neighboring Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties. Most of the bus routes operate seven days a week between the hours of 4:00 am to 2:00 am, some routes do not operate on Sundays or the weekends and holidays.

Bus rapid transit

In December 1977 Port Authority unveiled its first dedicated busway, the 4.3-mile South Busway, which combined bus and light rail routes into an efficient and quicker connection between downtown Pittsburgh and the South Hills area. The Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway, which used express routes to connect downtown with nearby east side communities like Swissvale, Wilkinsburg and Homewood followed in February 1983. On Sunday, September 10, 2000 Port Authority opened its West Busway, which provides service from downtown Pittsburgh to Carnegie. In 2003, the East Busway was expanded by a few miles to its current terminus in Swissvale and Rankin.

On July 22, 2011, the Port Authority of Allegheny County approved spending at least one million dollars, including $837,993 in federal funding and $209,498 in county money, to study developing a rapid bus line from Downtown to the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.

Bus rapid transit, or BRT, provides bus service that resembles light rail, with higher frequency of service, fewer stops and, in several cities where it's running, buses that look like trains or trolleys. It doesn't come with the same costs, however, because no rail lines need to be built or kept up.

The study should take up to 18 months to be completed and will use no money from the Port Authority's operating budget.


Bus fleet


Order Year Builder Model Fleet/(Qty.) Engine/Transmission Fuel Propulsion
<<< 35 Feet >>>
2003 Gillig Phantom 1501-1560
<<< 40 Feet >>>
1996 NovaBUS TC40-102A 2600-2770
  • DDS 50G
  • Allison B400R
1999 Neoplan USA AN440LF 5001-5160
  • DDS 50G
  • Allison B400R
2003 Gillig Advantage 5201-5365
  • DDS 50G
  • Allison B400R
2005 Gillig Advantage 5371-5376
Diesel-electric Hybrid
2005 Gillig Advantage 5401-5460
2006 Gillig Advantage 5501-5587, 5589-5590
2006 Gillig Advantage 5588
2009 Gillig Advantage 5600-5679
  • Cummins ISL
  • Voith D863.4
2009 Gillig Advantage 5701-5720
  • Cummins ISB
  • Allison EP-40 HybriDrive
Diesel-electric Hybrid
2010 Gillig Advantage 5721-5722
  • Cummins ISB
  • Allison EP-40 HybriDrive
Diesel-electric Hybrid
2011 Gillig Advantage 5730-5733
  • Cummins ISB
  • Allison EP-40 HybriDrive
Diesel-electric Hybrid
2011 Gillig Advantage 5801-5824
  • Cummins ISL
  • Voith D863.4
<<< 45 Feet >>>
2000 Neoplan USA AN445 Metroliner 1901-1940
  • Detroit Diesel Series 60
  • Allison B500R
<<< 60 Feet >>>
1998 Neoplan USA AN460F 3051-3075
  • Detroit Diesel Seirs 50
  • Allison B400R
2005-2006 Neoplan USA AN462F 3101-3125
  • DDS 60G
  • Allison B500R
2011 New Flyer D60LFR 3200-3258


  • Most NovaBUS Classics have been retired, however nearly a dozen remain and the model is still active in the fleet.
  • 5201, 5203, 5204, 5205, 5231, 5234, 5236, 5329 and 5330 are repowered by the Cummins ISL and are EPA-10 compliant
  • 3068, 2625, 2719, 3068 and 5019 caught fire and were destroyed.
  • 5035, 5062, 5072, 5073 are retired as of 10/2011.
  • The 3100s are two-feet longer than the 3000s.
  • 2005-2006 are the last Neoplan USA buses to be manufactured.
  • 3226, 3229, 3244-46, 3253-58 have been received as of 10/2011

Reserve fleet

96 NovaBus Classics (last transit system in the United States to receive Classics)

    • 2600–2770 1996 (Detroit Diesel Series 50/ Allison B400R)
      • PAT is keeping some Classics in service until 2012, although a handful had been retired or sold.

Future fleet

  • An unknown number of New Flyer D60LFR are still being received at random.

Retired fleet

This list featured buses models that were the most used on PAT routes. The companies listed are in the order that they made their debut in the PAT fleet.

GMC Old Look series

  • Pre-PAT:
    • 200-375 (1952 to 1959; 200-317 were Pittsburgh Railways Co.)
    • 400-410; 425-459 (1953–1955; Single-door transit)
    • 475-496; 700-766; 770-790; 800-902 (1947–1959; Suburban configuration)
  • Post-PAT:
    • 1800-1844 (1965; rebuilt prior to purchase)

GMC New Look (Fishbowl) series

  • 35 ft Transit:
    • Pre-PAT (prior to acquisition in 1964)
      • 500-545 (1959/60; 96 in version. 501-520 were former PRC buses)
      • 550-554 (1961; 96 in version, air-conditioned)
      • 570-572 (1960; 96 in version, single front-door transit)
      • 580-584 (1960; 96 in version, suburban configuration)
    • Purchased by PAT (1964 onward)
      • 1000-1049 (1964; 102 inch version, air-conditioned)
      • 1100-1174 (1966; 96 inch version, air-conditioned)
  • 40 ft Suburban (all air-conditioned):
    • 1910-1924 (1971)
    • 1970-1979 (1966)
    • 1980-1987 (1970)
  • 40 ft Transit (The 2000s on up were air-conditioned):
    • 1959 (Built 1961, purchased 1964; was rebuilt as a prototype)
    • 1963 (Built 1963, purchased 1964; later used as mobile display/info center vehicle)
    • 2000-2099 (1964)
    • 2013 (1964; replacement for original 2013 that was destroyed en route to Pittsburgh and the only GM-built bus to have a bus number match its serial number)
    • 2100-2234 (1965)
    • 2250-2264 (1965)
    • 2300-2399 (1966)
    • 2265-2266 (1967)
    • 2400-2584 (1971)

Flxible New Looks (All air-conditioned)

  • 1200-1249 (1975; 35 ft/102 in. version)
  • 1500-1522 (1977/1978; 30 ft/96 in. version)
  • 2600-2619 (1975; 40 ft/102 in version)
  • 245 Flxible Metros All Metros have been decommissioned.

Original order:
2300–2449 1993
Option order:
2450–2459 1994
2460–2496 1995
2505–2515 1994
2516–2524 1995
2541–2550 1994
2551–2560 1995
2575–2584 1994
2585–2594 1995

• The original order had a Voith 3-speed transmission, while the option order had Allison 3-speed. • Originally ordered 150, but Flxible ceased operations, thus the gaps in the 1995 order.

AM General (All air-conditioned)

  • 1260-1299 (1978; 35 ft/102 in. version)
  • 2650-2789 (1978; 40 ft/102 in. version)

MAN/AM General Articulated

  • 3000-3019 (1979; Built as MAN/AMG vehicle)
  • 3050-3079 (1983; Built as MAN vehicle)

GMC RTSII series

  • 1400-1454 (1980; 35 ft/96 in. version)
  • 2800-2870 (1980; 40 ft/102 in. version)

Motor Coach Industries MC-9 series

  • 1930-1945 (1980; carried MCI tag)
  • 1950-1969 (1984; carried TMC tag)

Neoplan Pennliners

  • 35 ft versions:
    • 1600-1644 (1983)
  • 40 ft versions:
    • 3500-3864 (1982/83)
    • 3900-3959 (1986)

Orion Bus Industries

  • 35 ft versions:
    • 1650-1687 (1992)
  • 40 ft versions:
    • 2000-2119 (1990)
    • 2120-2124 (1990; CNG fueled)
    • 2200-2289 (1992)
    • 2290-2299 (1993)

Ikarus (Now NABI) Articulated

  • 3020-3044 (1991)

Mid Bus Shuttle Transit Vehicles

  • 8510–8589 (1998)

NovaBus Classics (last transit system in the United States to receive Classics, will retire by the end of 2010 or early 2011)

    • 2600–2770 1996 (Detroit Diesel Series 50/ Allison B400R)

80 Mid Bus Shuttle Transit Vehicles (STV) (mostly used on crosstown or feeder routes)

  • 8590–8599 2002-Retired 2011
  • 8601–8670 2003-Retired 2011

Other services

Port Authority operates more than 60 park-and-ride lots in Allegheny County. The Port Authority also owns sixty-six transit bridges, eleven highway bridges and four tunnels.[37]

Under the Port Authority-sponsored ACCESS program, a private contractor provides door-to-door service to elderly and disabled passengers throughout the county, seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight. Reservations are placed one day in advance.

Between 2001 and 2004 the Port Authority worked with the local community group Ground Zero to create and operate the "Ultra Violet Loop"; known to some as the "party bus", the UV Loop bus was special service operated on Friday and Saturday nights through the early morning, serving city nightlife and university centers.[38] The UV Loop bus was part of special evaluative service supported in part by local foundations & businesses. While it was well regarded in the abstract, it never achieved the ridership and consistent service needed to continue without external support. The "Ultra Violet Loop" name is a play on the Pittsburgh/Allegheny County Belt System.[39]

Park and Ride Locations

  • *Franklin Park Borough permit required to use the facility.
  • **Fee required. $2 per day at Memorial Hall and South Hills Village. $5 per day at Wabash.

Future of the Port Authority

The Port Authority is currently in the midst of a major service overhaul called the Transit Development Plan in which the fare structure is to be changed, routing and timing is to be altered to make service simpler, and route number conventions will be altered.

Transit Development Plan

The Transit Development Plan (TDP) was approved by the Port Authority Board of Directors on October 23, 2009, and seeks vast and dramatic improvements of the Port Authority's service.[40] Many of the changes are drastic, and virtually every aspect of the system is to be modified in some way.[20] A major rationale behind the service redesign is to better meet demand due to population shifts in the area.[41] The Transit Development Plan is also expected to make service easier to understand, eliminate route variants, consolidate stops, run buses and light rail vehicles on clockface headways, and reduce the number of non-revenue bus and light rail trips.[42][43]

The fare system is to be simplified under the Transit Development Plan. The previous system of (not counting the downtown Free Fare Zone) three main zones and two transition zones was simplified into two fare-paying zones with the downtown Free Fare Zone left intact.[43] The 2B transition zone and Zone Three merged into Zone Two on January 1, 2010.[43] Furthermore, the Port Authority plans on introducing smart cards for fare payment in the near future.[44] This plan is proceeding; a pilot plan, testing the smart cards with the new fareboxes used by Port Authority employees was completed successfully. University of Pittsburgh students began using their smart card university IDs August 1, 2011.[45] The Port Authority will begin transitioning customers using its regular fare products to smart cards in early 2012. A slight fare increase was the first change undertaken as a part of the TDP, as the Zone Two fare increased by fifteen cents and transfers increased by quarter on January 1, 2010; however, the Zone One fare remained at $2.[40]

The route system used by the Port Authority will be radically altered by the TDP. The number of active routes used by the Port Authority will be reduced from 186 routes to 124 routes; however, transit service levels of will remain the same or actually increase for the vast majority of Port Authority riders under the plan.[43][46] Many routes that duplicate service will be consolidated, and systemwide service levels will actually increase by eight percent.[40]

The current numbering conventions are also slated to changed dramatically. Light rail lines, bus routes that travel solely on one of the busways, and bus routes that spend part of their route on a busway are to be renumbered according to a color-coded system.[46] Light rail lines via Beechview are to be a part of the Red Line, light rail lines via Overbrook are to be a part of the Blue Line, and the light rail line via Allentown is to be a part of the Brown Line. For the busway system, all routes using the East Busway are to get a purple designation, all routes using the West Busway are to get a green designation, all routes using the South Busway are to get a yellow designation, and all routes using the Interstate 279 HOV Lane are to get an orange designation.[46] For example, the AV Allegheny Valley Flyer, which spends part of its route on the East Busway, is re-designated the P10 Allegheny Valley under this system (with the P standing for purple).[47] Local bus routes, which are almost always designated by a number followed by a letter, are to simply become numbers under the TDP; however, the counterclockwise numbering system is to be retained.[46] For example, the 51C Carrick is slated to be re-designated as the 51 Carrick.[48]

Another key service change that may be implemented as a part of the Transit Development Plan is bus rapid transit that runs through Oakland and several other regions apart from its three currently existing busways.[49] According to this plan, the agency seeks to purchase specialized buses that run on natural gas, have off-vehicle fare collection and traffic signal priority to reduce travel times.[50] The agency is currently seeking around $80 million of financial aid from the Federal government under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to help fund the new bus rapid transit system.[49]

Potential capital expansions

Several capital expansions in the future have been proposed from various sources. The construction of a light rail line from Oakland to Pittsburgh International Airport has been proposed by County Executive Dan Onorato and Congressman Mike Doyle, and would be projected to cost about $3.5 billion.[51] Doyle has recently submitted a request to the Federal government to study the feasibility of the project. In addition to the proposed light rail line, the studies for the establishment of a commuter rail line from downtown to Arnold along the right-of-way of the Allegheny Valley Railroad and from downtown to Greensburg along the right-of-way of Norfolk Southern railroad tracks are also underway.[52] According to the feasibility study, it is unclear whether the Port Authority, the Westmoreland County Transit Authority, or an as-yet created independent agency would operate the railway if it was constructed.[53] Congressman Jason Altmire has been a key proponent of the commuter rail project.


See also


  1. ^ Tom Fontaine, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Thursday, June 16, 2011) Read more: Port Authority: No more service, job cuts - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_742362.html#ixzz1T6e4i2MA
  2. ^ APTA: 20 Largest Bus and Trolleybus Agencies
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Port Authority History
  4. ^ Onorato, Bland Announce Proposed Port Authority Fare and Service Changes, Request Public Input and Comment -- January 3, 2007. Allegheny County government release.
  5. ^ a b c d e The Early Years 1964-1972. Antique Motor Coach Association of Pennsylvania. Retrieved May 26, 2009.
  6. ^ Potter, Chris (November 20, 2008). You Had to Ask. Pittsburgh City Paper.
  7. ^ Steigerwald, Bill. (November 27, 2005). True tales of transit folley. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  8. ^ a b c d The MOD Years, 1972-1980. Antique Motor Coach Association of Pennsylvania. Retrieved May 26, 2009.
  9. ^ a b Chessie System -- PATrain. Retrieved May 26, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Silver, Jonathan D (November 23, 2008). How '92 transit strike ended. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  11. ^ a b c The 80's at PAT. Antique Motor Coach Association of Pennsylvania. Retrieved May 26, 2009.
  12. ^ a b Brown, David M (June 2, 2004). Rebuilt Overbrook line takes passengers back to the future. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
  13. ^ a b c Grata, Joe (September 21, 2006). At Port Authority, 'gold standard' is old standard. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  14. ^ American Public Transit Association -- Bus Rapid Transit. Retrieved May 26, 2009.[dead link]
  15. ^ Cranberry Township Newsletter. August 2000.
  16. ^ Grata, Joe (June 7, 2003). East Busway addition nearly completed. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  17. ^ Silver, Jonathan D (June 17, 2007). Cutbacks at strapped Port Authority take effect today. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  18. ^ Bumstead, Brad and Mike Wereschagin (January 12, 2008). For politicians, the pour tax tasted smooth. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  19. ^ (November 25, 2008). Port Authority, union reach tentative agreement on new pact. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  20. ^ a b Schmitz, Jon (October 24, 2009). Port Authority fare hikes, overhaul of service due in new year. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  21. ^ Bumsted, Brad; Mike Wereschagin (November 29, 2009). "Lobbyist expenses wasteful, critics say". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_655376.html. 
  22. ^ a b "Authority to Cut Routes Due to Collapse of State Funding". TransitBlog. Port Authority of Allegheny County. 24 November 2010. http://transitpgh.blogspot.com/2010/11/authority-to-cut-routes-due-to-collapse.html. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  23. ^ a b Schmitz, Jon (11 November 2010). "State facing transportation crisis". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10315/1102464-147.stm. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  24. ^ Ellenbogen, Joan (24 November 2010). "Stakeholder Relations Committee Report". Port Authority of Allegheny County. http://www.portauthority.org/paac/portals/0/board/Board_EllenbogenRemarks_Nov2010.pdf. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  25. ^ Mattola, Guy (24 November 2010). "Planning and Development Committee Report". Port Authority of Allegheny County. http://www.portauthority.org/paac/portals/0/board/Board_MattolaRemarks_Nov2010.pdf. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  26. ^ Green, Elwin (January 24, 2006). New Port Authority buses become poetry in motion. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  27. ^ Port Authority Zone Fare Structure
  28. ^ a b How to Pay Fares -- Port Authority.
  29. ^ "CRCOG Northwest Corridor Study – Free Fare Zone Analysis" (PDF). Capitol Region Council of Governments (Hartford, CT). January 25, 2008. http://www.crcog.org/publications/TransportationDocs/NW/NW_FreeFareZoneReport.pdf. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  30. ^ Port Authority Fares and Passes
  31. ^ Hart, Peter (June 28, 2007). Pitt, Port Authority far apart on transit deal. The University of Pittsburgh Times.
  32. ^ a b "New Fareboxes Being Installed on the T". Pittsburgh: Port Authority of Allegheny County. 2011-05-12. http://www.portauthority.org/PAAC/Home/tabid/171/Default.aspx. Retrieved 2011-05-12. 
  33. ^ "State Commission to Address Transportation Funding Crisis". Pittsburgh: Port Authority of Allegheny County. 2011-04-29. http://transitpgh.blogspot.com/2011/04/state-commission-to-address.html. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  34. ^ "Headlines: Port Authority's T cars get new fareboxes". Pittsburgh: Port Authority of Allegheny County. 2011-04-20. http://transitpgh.blogspot.com/2011/04/headlines-port-authoritys-t-cars-get.html. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  35. ^ Schmitz, Jon (2011-04-20). "Port Authority's 'T' cars get new fareboxes". Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11110/1140534-147.stm. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  36. ^ (July 23, 2011) Port Authority rapid-bus line study gets OK, Tom Fontaine, Pittsburgh Tribune Review
  37. ^ Grata, Joe (December 4, 2005). Getting Around, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  38. ^ (September 3, 2004). Port Authority's UltraViolet loop route to end, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  39. ^ Allegheny County's belt system. PennsylvaniaHighways.com
  40. ^ a b c Santoni, Matthew (October 24, 2009).Port Authority approves overhaul, fare increase. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  41. ^ Schmitz, Jon (January 24, 2009). Port Authority riders face turbulent year. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  42. ^ Schmitz, Jon (May 4, 2009). Port Authority to overhaul transit service. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  43. ^ a b c d (September 6, 2009). Ride smart: The Port Authority attempts a brave new overhaul. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  44. ^ Schmitz, Jon (March 21, 2009). Port Authority delays overhaul of bus routes. The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette.
  45. ^ http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11206/1162761-147.stm
  46. ^ a b c d TDP Proposed Route Maps. Port Authority of Allegheny County.
  47. ^ AV-P10 TDP proposed route map. Port Authority of Allegheny County.
  48. ^ 51C-51 proposed route map. Port Authority of Allegheny County.
  49. ^ a b Schmitz, Jon (November 23, 2009). $80.7 M sought for bus network. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  50. ^ (November 23, 2009). Port Authority of Allegheny County Seeks Federal Stimulus Money for 'Rapid Bus'. KDKA-TV.
  51. ^ Schmitz, Jon (May 18, 2009). Congress members submit wish lists for transit, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  52. ^ Cholodofsky, Rich (June 20, 2009). Cost of rail line linking Greensburg, Arnold with Pittsburgh lower than expected. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  53. ^ Westmoreland Transit Commuter Rail Feasibility Study

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