Pittsburgh Regional Transit’s plan to implement rapid transit could affect existing routes

PITTSBURGH — Left behind and left out, transit advocates say Pittsburgh Regional Transit’s (PRT) plan to implement rapid transit will negatively impact thousands of riders on 13 different routes, and some will completely lose their direct route to Oakland.

“There will be major changes to 61A, 71A, 71C, 71D, and the P3,” said Dan Yablonsky, the Communication Director for Pittsburghers for Public Transit.

Last summer Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT) announced a rapid transit plan to connect the city’s business district to Oakland using bus-only lanes.

But as plans have been released some riders have been left out.

“For routes like the P3 riders who use Hamnet station here, Roslyn station, and Swissvale station they are going to completely lose service and lose their direct route into Oakland.”

The P3 bus route connects Oakland and Swissvale along the East Busway. The new plan would cut all stops beyond Wilkinsburg - eliminating Hamnett, Roslyn, and Swissvalle

“That would mean that I would have to wait for two buses after a 12- or 14-hour shift,” said Amalia Tonsor.

Some of the most impacted riders are patients and healthcare workers like Amalia Tonsor who rely on the routes to get to and from hospitals.

“I did the math and I was on the P3 bus altogether for more than two weeks last year. It’s just not equitable. It’s also not functional for those of us who are dependent on these routes,” Tonsor said.

In a statement a Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT) spokesperson said:

“The current proposed changes – which have not been altered in five years – would add 5 minutes with a transfer or 12 minutes without a transfer to the commute of riders of the P3. Although this would represent a reduction in service for about 15% of P3 riders, it would mean significant improvements for many more current and, hopefully, future riders who would receive improved amenities and more reliable service as a result of the Downtown-Uptown-Oakland Bus Rapid Transit system.

“While some of the proposed changes would occur later this year, the current proposed service changes to the P3 would occur in 2025. This gives us plenty of time to modify these plans.

“Finally, we’re happy to have received so much engagement during the public comment period.”

Advocates and riders argue these cuts will cost money and time.

“This is going to add time to these routes, and for riders who are paying cash that transfer also means that there’s an additional cost,” said Yablonsky.

The public comment period ends tomorrow, February 1, and transit advocates are urging those impacted to leave a comment on PRT’s website before it closes to make their voices heard and save their routes.

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