Bus Error

It’s a good thing that Pittsburgh’s hockey team is better than its public transit system, because otherwise I’d be in a mood.


Things I won't miss about the Port Authority:
  • Bus trunking. I don't know if this is what this is actually called, but if you have, say, three different routes to the suburbs that share the same route through the city, each with a thirty-minute frequency, you can schedule them in a couple of different ways. The smart way would be to stagger arrivals, thereby providing a ten-minute service frequency through the common routing area (i.e., the city, which is the bit of the route that actually has the density required to support public transit). The not-smart way would be to have three buses come along one minute after each other (or, better yet, following each other), thereby providing a thirty-minute service. Ten-minute service is almost frequent enough to be dependable even without precise timing. Thirty-minute service is not. Guess which one the Port Authority uses?
  • Bus packing. Yeah, thirty minute service. I suspect they do this because, at least on the 61 routes through the southern bit of the East End, they don't have enough space on the buses for all the people (largely students and staff at the Oakland universities; people like me) who want to ride them, so frequently a full bus will pass you. Then another full bus will pass you. Hopefully a third full bus won't pass you, because then you're waiting thirty minutes for another full bus. You are, anyway. I'm not. I'm walking.
  • That one driver on the 67H who doesn't know where the Schenley Pool stop is and for some reason wants to fight me about it. I should not have a blogworthy feud with a bus driver. And yet I do.

Anyway, a lot of this is not really the Port Authority's fault. They don't have any money, because they are an American public transit authority, and we pretty much decided public transit was for other people half a century ago. Mind you, this not having any money doesn't keep them from digging a half-billion dollar tunnel under the Allegheny River to carry the seventeenth-largest light rail system in the United States the distance of a fifteen minute walk. But it does serve Heinz Field, and this town loses its senses when it comes to da Stillers, so this is two rants for a later date, and one argument I'll lose by fiat. Moving on.

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Brian Trammell
Bike Dad, Photographer, Management Trainee