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Several PRT bus routes changing; some riders aren’t happy

Changes are coming to several Pittsburgh bus routes on Sunday, and some bus riders are upset and speaking out.

Kathleen Lynch is a Duquesne University student. She joined other bus riders Friday to make one last-ditch effort to voice concerns about the changes.

“We have a university bus pass. We get discounted bus fare, but we have to pay for our transfers. So, now the university students are gonna have to pay twice,” said Lynch.

Nicole Gallagher is the community organizer for Pittsburghers for Public Transit.

“The 71 A, C, D and 61 D are gonna be cut in Oakland, which is gonna cut riders off to almost half of their transit options, off to critical destinations in Uptown,” said Gallagher.

Pittsburgh Regional Transit adjusts bus schedules three times a year. It’s based on ridership and reliability.

Most of the newest changes deal with the 61 and 71 routes.

Protesters are concerned about the impact on certain bus riders during the colder months.

“If you haven’t read the Farmers’ Almanac, we’re gonna get hit pretty bad in the weather. So how are you gonna do that with the elderly and wheelchair people? They’re not gonna stay out in the weather waiting for a transfer. They’re gonna Uber it,” said bus rider, Kathleen Lynch.

The Transit union President Ross Nicotero says cutting service is not good for drivers or riders. He spoke on behalf of 2,100 transit workers at the protest.

Currently, eight buses go between the outer communities, Oakland, uptown and downtown.

Half will be labeled short and will turn around at Robinson Street and Fifth.

PRT says this will help with construction and delays, and also prepare for the construction of the university line.

“There are a lot of Duquesne University students who use the 71 buses who are now gonna have to transfer, who are gonna have to walk longer to get a direct route,’ said Lynch.

PRT had several meetings and a public hearing Friday to listen to testimony and answer questions from riders. The changes are set to go into effect Oct. 1.

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