The Port Authority of Allegheny County makes changes to its bus schedules four times a year. The next one, coming up on June 18, will affect 15 routes.
The 91, 51 and 67 will see increased service, while the 2 Mount Royal and 14 Ohio Valley will have shortened routes. The regular changes also allow bus drivers to choose new routes.
While route adjustments are made every three months, the agency constantly monitors demand and tries to keep pace, said spokesman Adam Brandolph. Every bus has an electronic counter to keeps tabs on how full or empty a bus is at any given time.
“We can see how many people are on each trip, inbound or outbound, whether they’re getting on or off the bus,” he said. “That gives us a really good indication of how our riders are using the bus.”
But it’s not just numeric data that influences routes, said Brandolph. The agency also looks to its database of suggestions and complaints, which helps to shape service.
“We’re listening. We are taking all of that into consideration,” he said. “If we see that request, look at the data from the counters, and it makes sense and it’s not too expensive to add that service, we definitely try.”
Especially when it comes to connecting people with jobs, said Brandolph.
The 91, 51 and 67 will all see increased service, partly because they connect to employment centers, said Brandolph: the 91 serves both RIDC and the Waterworks Mall, and the route has seen increased demand as Lawrenceville grows; more frequent trips on the 51 Carrick will hopefully ease overcrowding. Adding trips to the 67 was a rider-suggested idea to provide better access to work for people who live in the William Penn Heights section of Wilkinsburg.
Of course, it’s difficult to make a change for one or two people, but the agency will look into it, said Brandolph.
“If it’s possible for us to put that service on in order for people to get to work on time, or even get to work at all, we know how important a role we play in that.”
In other words, have an idea for how bus service could make life easier? Send it in.