So Port Authority dropped their September changes today–nearly five weeks ahead of time, for once! Some highlights (route links go to PDFs of new schedule folders):
- As promised, 91 Butler Street‘s Old Freeport branch extends to serve RIDC’s industrial/office park above Blawnox. Though the change notes say “Select weekday trips”, in fact it’s just about half–pretty much every other run, all day long, from 6am to 1:30am.
- Similarly, the 20 Kennedy is extended to serve the Groveton/Montour Junction section of Robinson Township, near where I-79 crosses PA-51. It is unfortunate that this route does not run on weekends, as the new section is very near to mile 0 of the Montour Trail, much closer than any other route.
- Additional weekend service is added on the 12 McKnight–it now will run more (and more frequently) on Saturday and Sunday than it does during the week. (Take your bike on this one, too–it ends a mere mile from North Park’s fabulous trails…)
- Due to the impending closure and replacement of the Greenfield Bridge, massive changes on the 52L Homeville LTD & 53L Homestead Park LTD, 58 Greenfield, and the 93 Lawrenceville-Hazelwood. The 58’s bizarre looping gets even odder with an added loop due to the (I presume) lack of clearance for a turn from outbound Beechwood to Forward, and the 93 becomes another alternative to the 64 and 61s for getting between Lawrenceville or Oakland and lower Squirrel Hill.
- Service at and around Century III Mall and neighbors continues to erode, with Gabriel Brothers the latest parcel to lose service “due to a request of the property owner”. Routes affected include the 51 Carrick, 53 Homestead Park and 53L Homestead Park LTD, 55 Glassport, 59 Mon Valley, and the Y47 Curry and Y49 Prospect Flyers. Some of those routes, which formerly stopped there on the way to somewhere else, will merely bypass it on the ring road now, requiring passengers to walk the length of an oversized parking lot to reach their bus. Others, which currently terminate at Gabriel Brothers, will now end at the Walmart or elsewhere.
While the end of bus service to this one parcel is certainly not the end of the world, it is evidence of yet another large commercial entity, built and run on low-wage labor subsidized by state and federal food, housing, and health assistance, deciding that people who ride the bus aren’t in fact its customers, or at any rate aren’t people you want hanging around by the front door waiting for their ride home. Especially ironic in light of the various businesses at RIDC’s Blawnox/O’Hara business park which have been begging to have their service restored and are finally having their wish granted…