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Port Authority adjusts bus schedules

| Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, 3:46 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Trib Total Media
Riders board a mid-afternoon bus outside Century III Mall. Changes in Port Authority schedules will bring more runs to this shelter in the mall parking lot.

Changes to Port Authority of Allegheny County's schedules come Aug. 31 include more runs that stop at the bus shelter in the Century III Mall parking lot.

“It is a positive attribute,” said John A. Sabino, regional manager for Moonbeam Capital Investments LLC, owner of the mall.

The verdict is out on how more trips into the parking lot from the juncture of Route 51 and the south entrance to the mall for such runs as the 59 Mon Valley will affect a shopping complex still rebuilding under Moonbeam's year-old ownership.

“I believe it will bring more traffic into the mall,” Sabino said. “I don't know how that will translate into sales.”

Port Authority is adjusting schedules as it does at the end of each quarter. Additional runs on 23 routes will be funded by money provided under the state's Act 89 transportation plan passed last year.

“Thanks to the benefits generated from the state's approval of Act 89 last year, Port Authority is able to enhance some of its existing routes,” agency spokesman Jim Ritchie said. “(Port Authority) especially is targeting those where riders are experiencing overcrowding and on-time issues.”

Port Authority estimates that 70 weekday and 90 Saturday riders take the bus to Century III. Some of those waiting at the mall for the bus on Thursday afternoon were there for the shopping.

“I take the (Mon Valley) 59 (bus) down here,” Jocelyn Preston of Duquesne said. “I like shopping here.”

“They have different stuff down here, better variety,” said Janal Gregg, who walks to downtown Pittsburgh from the Hill District to board the Y46 Elizabeth Flyer for trips to such merchants as J.C. Penney or Victoria's Secret.

Gregg then transfers to the 59 Mon Valley run to go to the West Mifflin Wal-Mart. The 59 crisscrosses the Mon-Yough region, ending up at the North Versailles Township Wal-Mart.

“It would be good for that Mon Valley bus to come more than once an hour,” Gregg said.

“I've waited two hours for the next 59,” Preston said.

There are two Flyers or express buses from downtown Pittsburgh that utilize stops near the mall, the weekday Y1 Large, which is the only run that stops in a park-and-ride up the hill from the parking lot, and the Y46.

“The Y46 Elizabeth Flyer carries an average of 1,900 riders per weekday, 1,000 riders on Saturday and 800 riders on Sunday,” Port Authority spokeswoman Megan Anthony said.

Peak trip times are being adjusted on the Y1 and Y46 come Aug. 31 to provide better spacing for those runs.

“Adjustments are based on data, such as passenger counts by stop and time, as well as feedback from operators, riders and communities,” Ritchie said.

Sue Bothwell of Baldwin walks to the mall to get a bus to the West Mifflin Wal-Mart, but takes the Y46 home.

“It's up and down,” Bothwell said.

“We sit here a lot,” said Barbara L. Posa of McKeesport, who uses the Y46 to go to Pittsburgh and her job in Elizabeth. “In Elizabeth it seems I sit forever, waiting for the Y46.”

The website has more details about service changes scheduled on Aug. 31 for 22 bus runs across Allegheny County.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967.