Port Authority to eliminate bus stops



Port Authority will begin reducing underused bus stops to improve efficiency. (Lake Fong/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/MCT)

Port Authority of Allegheny County is hoping to speed up services by eliminating bus stops.

Pittsburgh’s transit agency is conducting a stop-by-stop analysis of its 7,020 stops, taking into account the operational safety of a stop, accessibility for people with disabilities, whether or not the stop is on a slope and several other factors. The changes are expected to begin in 2018 and continue for a few years after, Port Authority spokesperson Adam Brandolph said.

“Eliminating stops will mean faster service from the place where riders get on the bus to wherever they get off the bus because there will likely be fewer stops in between,” Brandolph said.  “For example, my bus, the 91, frequently picks up one passenger at a stop and then picks up another passenger at a stop a block away. If one of those riders walks one block to where the other person is waiting, that’s one stop for the bus instead of two.”

While it is too early on in the project to be certain which, Brandolph said it is likely some Oakland stops will be combined or eliminated.

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According to Brandolph, the project relates to the authority’s wayfinding program announced June 7, which includes adding information kiosks and new bus stops with abbreviated maps to make finding stops and public transit information easier.

“We don’t want to add new signs only to take them away in a year or two, so we won’t begin removing or moving stops until our wayfinding project has caught up to that,” Brandolph said.

For the wayfinding program, the authority will change about 80 Downtown signs this year, installing new signs along busways and railways the following year. In 2018, the wayfinding program will expand to other areas of the county.

Currently, the agency is still “taking a bird’s-eye view” of the transit system on a route-by-route basis and has not begun to inspect each bus stop.

In 2013, Port Authority eliminated about 400 stops used by very few people, but Brandolph says this project will be different.

“The upcoming project will be a holistic look at every stop on every bus route in our system,” Brandolph said. “This won’t just be about eliminating stops. This will be about placing stops at the best possible location for riders and making our system operate more efficiently.”