Riders upset over new bus rapid transit system plan

The Port Authority is proposing a new bus rapid transit system, which would replace existing bus lines with new lines.

Specifically, going to Pittsburgh and Oakland, where the Port Authority says, the vast majority of riders are headed.

That means some lines, like the 61c in McKeesport, will run less often; Every 30 minutes instead of every 15.

Laura Wiens with the Pittsburghers for Public Transit is being a voice for Mon Valley riders.

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“I think it would be devastating to a lot of these communities. Imagine if a bus line only runs once an hour -- people need to get to work, to doctors,churches,” Wiens said.

The new line wouldn’t go straight downtown. It would make a stop in Oakland, where riders will board another bus.

So far, no decision if riders will have to pay another fare.

“So far the Port Authority and the county hasn't committed to ensuring the transfer would also be free so residents paying with cash would also be paying a second 1.75 in order to get downtown,” Wiens said.

The Port Authority says it’s necessary because of overcrowding, traffic backups, and timeliness.

The project will cost nearly $200 million, and the authority is applying for federal grants.

Customers will be able to weigh in at a series of public hearings.

“We are strongly encouraging the port to take this opportunity to improve transportation for all riders and certainly not serve a portion of riders while undermining transit for so many in need of service,” Wiens said.

The authority is in the beginning phase, and if they get the federal dollars, it will take a few years for construction Downtown.