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Call for change to aggressive plan for rapid bus transit

PITTSBURGH — People in the Mon Valley are calling for changes to an aggressive plan for rapid bus transit in Pittsburgh.

Some of those people say the plan will cut them off.

"Buses are packed, they will pass you right by," said Andrew Lawson, a Port Authority Bus rider. "If anything, they should probably increase services."

He rides the 61C bus from Oakland to get to and from work every day and said service needs to improve.


The Port Authority wants to create a bus rapid transit system, replacing current bus routes with new lines to focus on specifically going to Pittsburgh and Oakland where the Port Authority said the vast majority of riders are headed.

But with those changes come cuts, including routes to the Mon Valley, which includes buses 61A, B and C.

"They are isolated in that part of the area, people trying to get to downtown Pittsburgh will be heavily impacted," said Helen Gerhardt with Just Harvest, a community-based organization helping low-income families.

She told Channel 11 the organization supports improving Port Authority bus services, but she thinks the changes to the selected routes will hurt thousands in the Mon Valley communities who rely on public transportation the most.

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"We don't feel the Port Authority is counting the low income people, especially those low-income people who transfer multiple times a day," she said.

They want data released showing how service changes will impact the Mon Valley and for Port Authority to slow down its timeline.

"We are asking County Council to have hearings about the cuts to to 61ABC that would impact low-income people and seniors," Gerhardt said.

County Council heard those concerns Tuesday afternoon.

A Port Authority spokesperson told Channel 11 they are reviewing their plans and intend to work with the community to gather more information that would find something that works for everyone.

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