Sunday, April 15, 2018

New PAT CEO Promises No Cuts in Mon Valley Bus Service

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for TransportWatchtower

New Port Authority Transit of Allegheny County (PAT - Pittsburgh's public tranist agency) Chief Executive Officer Katherine Eagan Kelleman presented a revised plan for the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project to a meeting of Monongahela Valley transit riders on Thursday Evening, April 12 at the Rankin Christian Center. The “Frequency Preservation Plan” keeps Mon Valley bus service intact, while saving $7 million per year by minimizing “bus-bunching” in the Downtown – Oakland corridor.

Internet link to PAT's Frequency Preservation Plan is located near the end of this blog-post.

This revised plan comes almost a year after the original BRT plan included cutting nearly half of the existing Mon Valley bus service. The Mon Valley bus route service cuts would be the greatest cuts in public transit service in the Mon Valley since 1989 April 28, when PAT eliminated Monongahela Valley Commuter Rail / “PATrain” service.

Operated by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, mostly on track owned by the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, PAT funded the heavy-rail commuter service, which served Hazelwood (neighborhood in the City of Pittsburgh), Braddock, McKeesport, Port Vue and Liberty, and Versailles. PATrain service was replaced by express bus service, but still did not match the speed of the PATrain.

Mon Valley residents and other public transit advocates immediately started protesting the original plan for the proposed BRT project. The pro lotests culminated in a January 26 street protest outside of the Wood Street Subway Station, just ahead of the first PAT Board of Trustees meeting attended by the new PAT CEO, Ms. Kelleman. And, at the January 26 Board meeting, of the 28 scheduled public speakers, only 7 were not specifically identified as commenting on the proposed BRT project.

One of the January 26 speakers was Glenn A. Walsh, a long-time public transit advocate, who emphasized, “Rapid Transit implies greater efficiency, which means PAT should be able to afford more bus service, not less!” The following is the transcript of Mr. Walsh's comments:

Statement before             Glenn A. Walsh
Board of Directors,         P.O. Box 1041
Port Authority of             Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.
Allegheny County:         Telephone: 412-561-7876
Maintain Mon Valley     Electronic Mail: < >
       Bus Service !             Internet Web Site: < >
                                               Space Blog: < >
                                                         2018 January 26
Good morning. I am Glenn Walsh, 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon, a regular Light Rail and bus rider who has chosen not to drive a motor vehicle since 1985, to help save energy, protect the environment, and reduce city traffic congestion. I have been an active transit advocate for 40 years, including 3 terms on the Allegheny County Transit Council as a Charter Member. My comments today are my own and do not reflect those of any organization.

First, I want to welcome Katharine Eagan Kelleman to Pittsburgh and the Port Authority. Ms. Kelleman, you certainly have your work cut-out for you!

I address you today in complete disbelief that the Port Authority would even consider cutting Mon Valley bus service in half, to implement a so-called Bus Rapid Transit project. Rapid Transit implies greater efficiency, which means PAT should be able to afford more bus service, not less!

Terminating Mon Valley bus service in Oakland means these buses will not have to waste time traveling the most congested part of the city: Oakland to Downtown and back to Oakland. Hence, these buses can turn around and provide additional bus service in the Mon Valley!

If PAT cannot afford to, at least, maintain the same level of bus service in the Mon Valley, then this so-called BRT project should be canceled!

Thank you.


Internet Links to Additional Information ---

“Frequency Preservation Plan” - “Bus Rapid Transit Project – Downtown, Uptown, Oakland, East End – BRT Service Infrastructure Updates, Spring 2018”
Link >>>

Krauss, Margaret J. "Starting from Scratch: BRT Proposal Quells Fears About Service."
WESA-FM 90.5, Pittsburgh 2018 April 13.
Link >>>

Clift, Theresa. "Mon Valley bus riders cheer Port Authority decision not to cut routes when BRT is built." Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh 2018 April 13.
Link >>>

Gough, Paul J. "Cover story: New Port Authority CEO taking a community approach."
Pittsburgh Business Times 2018 April 12.
Link >>>

Clift, Theresa. "New Port Authority CEO open to tweaking Bus Rapid Transit plans for Mon Valley riders." Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh 2018 Jan. 26.
Among the public speakers urging the authority to keep the nonstop service were Debra Green, a blind woman who moved to Swissvale because of its bus access to Downtown; Glenn Walsh, who stopped driving in 1985 because of environmental concerns; and Jim Bonner, a Port Authority bus driver on the 61C route.
Link >>>

Walsh, Glenn A. "Monongahela Valley Commuter Rail Service - The PATrain"
History of Pittsburgh Commuter Rail Service 2009 Jan. 7.
Link >>>

Related Blog Posts ---

"Pittsburgh BRT: Testimony Before PAT Board Regarding Need for Public Hearing on Proposed Project."

2017 May 5.

Link >>>


"Pittsburgh BRT: Flawed Public Process of Proposed Public Transit Project."

2017 April 9.

Link >>>

Source: Glenn A. Walsh, 40- year public transit advocate and a Charter Member of the Port
             Authority of Allegheny County's citizens advisory committee (member of Allegheny
             County Transit Council: 1984 to 1989).
             2018 April 15

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