Posts Tagged ‘PAT’

PATransit Tuesday: T Plus

The new T stations and the North Shore connector opened this weekend.  I’m super excited actually, I haven’t ridden the T in probably close to 15 years (damn you for not going East or to places like the Waterfront, South Side, Oakland, Water Works, etc).

But I’m going to a Pirates game in April, and I plan on taking the T over to the North Shore.

In the meantime though, you can find out more information and see pictures of the new stations here.  I’d love to hear if anyone has taken advantage of it yet, sound off in the comments below.

Update: Benstonium hits it out of the park with this new video.

PATransit Tuesday: The beginning of The End

As you’ve probably heard by now, unless some last minute funding appears, PAT will be making huge cuts (again).  PAT outlines the situation here on their blog.

But here’s another facet of the funding problem, it’s not just public transportation that is struggling, but all transportation funding, meaning loss of money for road repairs, construction and upkeep (think, bridge repair, pothole filling, etc).  The Roundabout, a blog from the Post Gazette covers some of the reaction to that news here.  And here, the Walkabout makes the economical case for funding public transportation.

These are major cuts, and thinking about PAT not operating a lot of these routes is strange.  ACCESS, the largest system of its kind in the country will also see major cuts and fare increases.  The “Death Spiral” of public transportation is talked about frequently: prices go up, ridership goes down, forcing fares to go up and cuts to be made, and it continues the cycle over and over again.

Has PAT been in a death spiral for a while now?  Probably, but I’ve been able to think happy thoughts and deal with changes.  The former Governor came in at the last moment and found funding, keeping these current cuts at bay, but come June 1, the new fiscal year starts, plunging the system into crisis once more.  And let us not forget, the loss of public transportation affects everyone, Parkways will be more congested, parking even more scarce.

This all comes at a very strange time as well.  Gov. Corbett has promised to look at transportation funding soon (maybe February), and if there is some money that can be found (unless it’s going to tax breaks for Marcellus Shale drillers of course), the whole situation can be avoided.   Additionally, we are on the verge of the North Shore Connector opening (funded by Capital money, which can’t go to operational).

While I know it can’t happen, nor do I understand why, if PAT could operate on a deficit, I think they may have some time to get back on their feet.  I think that funding is in place to offer free rides to the North Shore (just to the first station I think), and I think that that will begin to open people’s eyes to transit, riding the bus has for me.

I started riding the bus because I hated dealing with the Parkway East.  But now, I always consider transit when I am leaving the house, or going someplace after work.  If I can do it via transit, I do.  And I think that more and more people are getting into that mindset, at least slowly.  And it will be a shame to see the Busways and T tracks go dark and unused with the death of PAT.

PATransit Tuesday: Shelters going green

 

Bus Shelters in East Liberty are turning green: much like some of the skyscrapers in downtown.  Plants were put onto the roof of a bus shelter on Penn Avenue:

At the time, Loralyn called the concept “putting little hubs of biodiversity” right where people can see what a green roof does, from reducing storm water runoff to attracting butterflies.

Last month, the green roof was installed, with educational signage encouraging you to look up

A workshop is scheduled for January 26th if you would like to learn more.

PATransit Tuesday: Push for BRT

PAT has been building up to its new expansion into Bus Rapid Transit, and they’ve launched a new website to promote and explain the concept.

The new website talks about the benefits, although it does not have many concrete plans yet, but hopefully it will be fleshed out soon.  Although it does mention that they are looking at first taking BRT to Oakland via the Forbes/Fifth Corridor.

I’ve been skeptical about the BRT in the past, and I’m still not sold on the fact that we’ll be able to get it to effectively work.  But here’s hoping.

PATransit Tuesday: Cutting in line

Times are tough for PAT riders.  Out east, a giant sinkhole swallowed up a Park-n-Ride and the owners of the land (not Giant Eagle who leases, mind you), decided that after a short time allowing a temporary Park-n-Ride, that they were going to end that agreement.  Combine that with the annual closure of another lot for a Christmas Tree sale, and about 350 Park-n-Ride spaces have been lost.

However, my route has been happy to take up the slack (although, hey PAT, we need bigger busses for December for our route!).  My dream has been that we are kind and considerate hosts.  I’ve been told that we have funny and engaging conversations (I’m normally asleep, so I can’t speak to that).

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From Occupy Pittsburgh

Courtesy of @PennStationFan on Twitter, I find this:

 .@bankofamerica is it true that you screwed @PGHtransit out o... on Twitpic

Here’s the text, from OccupyPittsburgh.org:

Did you know that Bank of America just made $39 million off of our Port Authority while the rest of us are dealing with fare hikes and cuts in service year after year? It’s true! Here’s how it worked:

In 2004, Merrill Lynch sold a risky financial deal called a “swaption” to the Port Authority of Allegheny County . . .

Then Merrill Lynch nearly went bankrupt, so Bank of America bought them. We bailed out Bank of America with $45 billion. It would take the average family nearly a million years to make that much money!

Bank of America used that money to pay $3.6 billion in bonuses to Merrill Lynch officials, and buy an $87,000 area rug for the former CEO…
And the financial deal with the Port Authority went bad . . .

So the Port Authority had to pay $39 million more to Bank of America to get out of the deal, even after we all bailed them out!

I have no idea why TwitPic is being so dumb, anyway, Bank of America should get around to paying back the Port Authority.  That way maybe we could have some service restored.  What a novel concept.

PATransit Tuesday: Stupidity or lies

I was hoping to write this week about the new website that PAT rolled out.  I don’t go to the site very often as Google Maps does a better job when I need to find a bus, but I clicked over there and was very pleasantly surprised with the redesign.  I have to poke around a bit, but generally I like it.  More about that another time though.

Let’s talk about the restructuring of all the routes.  And of course, the massive service cuts.  Paired together, my neighborhood lost service.  Instead, it, and several other neighborhoods now go to a local park ‘n ride.  And honestly, it’s not as bad as I imagined.  Yes, it’s more of a pain than walking four houses up the street to my old stop, but sometimes, at the end of the day, it’s nice that I’m already in my car so I can force myself to run the errands I have to before going home.

Another nice feature, was the creation of a transportation hub.  Multiple bus routes all coming together at one stop: one location where riders could transfer if they needed to and get where they had to go.

Well that was too good to be true.

Last Thursday, signs went up that Friday would be the last day for three of stops, they would be detoured to another area of the mall.  Let’s be honest, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a long walk, but I just don’t understand why the change.  And there could be other factors at work (I have no idea if the mall was somehow pushing for this change), but it makes no sense to have four routes run so close together, and at one point create a shared hub, to then rip it apart.

Either it’s a stuipd plan, or the tranpsoration hub was a lie all along.  Just like the cake (sorry, couldn’t resis the Portal joke).

PATransit Tuesday: Seattle does Rapid

Part of PAT’s grand plan has been the inclusion of RapidTransit, dedicated buses (which look different in design and paint to differentiate), which make fewer stops at dedicated shelters and get you quickly from one dense area to another.

I’ve been a bit skeptical of this plan, mostly because I haven’t heard of another city pulling it off successfully.  And it also seems very much like the East Busway, which works, because it is a dedicated road.  This would take the busway concept and make it travel through normal roads, with traffic and everything, even if it would get priority at lights.

Well, Seattle is rolling out their Rapid transit, and it doesn’t look good:

[It] really tests the definition of the word “rapid.”

While I appreciate the re-envisioning of bus service to make the details run more smoothly—I wish every bus line in the city could be replaced with RapidRide buses and bus stops—this isn’t anything revolutionary.

Read the whole thing here.

PATransit Tuesday: Bike Racks

Last week, the Port Authority and Bike Pittsburgh announced that now 100% of the fleet of PAT buses have bike racks.  Pretty cool.  I see a lot of use from the racks on the East Busway Routes (not so much on the suburban flyers, but that might pick up).  City Walkabout has the story here.

I also seem to remember hearing something about now being able to take bikes on the T during all hours.  I can’t find any mention of that, and I don’t ride the T, but if you’ve heard anything about that, let me know in the comments.

PATransit Tuesday: POPT

People of Public Transportation is one of my favorite blogs.  They recently released some statistics, and Pittsburgh shows up as having the second worst fashion.  But hey, at least we didn’t end up on one of the funniest categories: Cities where people refuse to use U-Haul.

Check out the list of “awards” here.

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