Some commuters will have to re-route starting June 25th because of changes to 13 stops of Pittsburgh's light rail system operated by the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT).
Signs are now posted at the Traymore, Coast, Boustead, Neeld, Kelton, Martin Villa, Smith Road, Santa Barbara, Mine 3, Lindermer, Center, Latimer, and Sandy Creek "T" stops to inform riders that the rail will not stop at those locations starting the last Monday of June. The signs suggest alternate stops to use.
Originally, the Hampshire stop was due to be eliminated instead of the Coast stop, but the switch was made because of appeals by State Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) and leaders from the Beechview business community.
Jim Ritchie, PAT spokesperson, says the stops were selected due to low rider ship and the distance to nearby stops.
"Most of them have 50 people a day or less and in some cases there are 100 people a day or less," Ritchie said. "Overall these are lightly used stops and they're very close to nearby stops."
Ritchie says the most someone affected would have to walk is about a quarter of a mile, and the longest track distance between the affected stops is 650 yards. The eliminations are a part of Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald's effort, which started last month, to improve the light rail system.
"We've had a number of complaints over the years that the T is clunky and it stops too much and people, in some places, would rather ride the bus," Ritchie said.
Ritchie said no T operators are being laid off due to the stop changes.
"For drivers of the system it means that they just won't have to serve as many stops between downtown and southern communities," Ritchie said. "It should improve travel time in some cases by several minutes simply because they don't have to slow down and stop and start up again in so many locations."
Operators won't be removed, but the structures at the T-stops will be.
"All of these that are being cut are stops, they're more like a bus stop," Ritchie said. "Some of them do have a little bit of what you might call a facility at the location such as a sign or a concrete pad or even a railing of some sort, and all of that will be removed in the near future."