Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Pittsburgh should have a few bus terminals and then back-and-forth routes

All downtown buses should be back and forth shuttles. These routes could deposit riders at terminals on the edge of downtown. The terminal could be end spots for those flowing from suburban routes to the city.

In the suburban stretches, ligher, smaller, vans could do out and back routes too. And, some of the routes could be "on demand" so you only get a lift when you call.

We're spending too much money with big buses going in circles downtown and in the far reaches of suburbia.

The back and forth line in town would be a blessing for office workers, shoppers, residents, commuters who are NOT on buses, the profitability of PAT, the terminal businesses that will be created at the edge of town, and even bike riders.

The city needs to think again on how to deliver mass transit to the city and county. This needs to occur in an open, public process with a lot of debate and input. A major overhaul should be established where all issues, both in terms of operation and capital, are put on the table.

In the end, a series of votes should occur.

Testing of the system could happen on certain days and weeks as well.

More and more of the functions should be put into 'open source' so we know the data behind the routes, the legs of the routes, the ridership, the costs, the overhead, and so much more data.

This is a big project that needs to get the support of the State Auditor General, City Controller, County Controller, elected and un-elected, users of mass transit and building owners.

For good measure, we should toss in the parking discussions as well and perhaps make this a two-way street. The Parking Authority needs the same overhaul.

Buses need to have routes on the main streets, like East Carson Street -- NOT side streets like Sarah Stree.

Bus stops need to be functional and a part of the fabric of the street, not open scabs where litter and waste is always a problem.

Auto by-passes of buses on the street for boarding should be smooth. Bus pull off lanes can be established if auto parking is managed.

I hate to see multiple buses, up to four, head into town, each with plenty of room for extra passengers, each from a different origination point. Why not have the bus riders exit and re-board. Then we'd have more frequent bus service.

I want bikes on the busways and in the tunnels (such as Wabash and under Mt. Washington with the t-line).

I want wi-fi on the length of the light-rail line such as to Overbrook.

The bike racks need to be on all the buses on certain routes, without question.

Smaller buses are needed in some spots and at some times. Our buses are too big and even damage the roads as they are too heavy. Bus lanes with heavy buses need construction that won't be a danger or wear out in months.

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