BikePGH joins Pittsburghers for Public Transit in opposing cash surcharge & applauding $2.50 flat fare
Bike Pittsburgh position on Port Authority Fare Proposal
A reliable, affordable, easy-to-use transit system is a boon to any urban community, and is especially important for those of us who bike and walk.
The $2.50 proposed flat fare will create a fare reduction for those currently paying $3.75 for Zone 2 rides. This would be the first fare reduction in decades for Port Authority and is an excellent move. This single zone system will help residents and workers in the nearby suburbs make more affordable, car-free trips to and from Pittsburgh.
Conversely, there are a number of measures within the proposal that would increase the cost of ridership for those paying with cash. Those proposed measures – a $.25 cash surcharge and the elimination of paper transfers – are, at best, premature.
While incentivizing the use of the Connect Card is important for shortening the boarding times, currently there is not enough infrastructure for transit users to easily purchase and refill those cards.
Furthermore, there is no published plan to increase the number of available kiosks. For example, the nearest place where Lawrenceville residents can buy or refill a Connect Card is up the hill at the gift shop at Children’s Hospital. And those Lawrenceville residents are more fortunate than many of the residents of the Northside neighborhoods, many of whom are one and a half miles (and more) away from Connect Card refill locations.
The very limited availability of kiosks makes keeping a card with a full balance challenging for all transit users, but especially those who get around using a mix of transit and active transportation modes. Adding fares online is an option, but not to those without access to the Internet, and there is an issue that the fare one adds might not show up on the card for up to three days.
We applaud the Port Authority for its determination to streamline the boarding and fare collection process, but Bike Pittsburgh has some reservations. The proposed pay as you enter system for busses would make the procedure much more clear. We do fear, on the other hand, that it may cause a marked increase in boarding times and recommend that a study be conducted so that the potential issues are known and recommendations might be made to address them.
Finally, the proposed $7 all-day pass aimed at visitors is another great move. It will serve as a straightforward, accessible option for people who want to explore Pittsburgh without a car.
The public only has until March 31st to comment on the proposal. Please complete this survey to tell Port Authority what you think.
Join us at the Women & Biking Forum on Saturday, April 2nd! Hosted by BikePGH’s Spinnsters, this forum aims to bring women together to celebrate bicycling, and to develop strategies to break down the barriers to bicycling that specifically affect women. Women and trans* identified people welcome to this day of workshops, keynote speakers, luncheon and more!