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Survey to focus on public transportation in Whitehall area

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

A Whitehall councilwoman is hoping data she collects from South Hills residents will help to improve public transportation in the region.

Councilwoman Linda Book drafted a survey that is being distributed in the Whitehall spring newsletter to the borough's nearly 6,600 homes, asking for input on their public transportation use and how recent Port Authority cuts have affected their daily activities. The survey also will be posted on the borough's website and available at the Whitehall Public Library.

“A lot of parts of Whitehall do have public transportation, but there's a lot of folks that do not, as well,” Book said. “It's not right how they're not going to be able to get to work or to the grocery store.”

A change in the route of the 51-C bus — that no longer goes along Baptist Road to Caste Village Shoppes — left many people along the Baptist and Weyman road area without public transportation, Book said.

“I see people walking up and down Baptist Road and I feel terrible,” said Book, who takes the Y45 to and from work five days a week.

Many Whitehall residents only have limited bus service nearby and would have to walk several miles if they wanted to take the T, Book said.

Book said she hopes the data collected from the survey will help to convince Port Authority representatives and state leaders to reinstate abandoned bus routes in the Whitehall and South Hills areas.

“I need to bring it to the attention of these people,” she said. “But I need data. I want to try to get the most exact information to present to Port Authority.”

If the data is not enough to convince Port Authority representatives to reinstate cut routes in the South Hills, Book said, another option could be to work with private businesses to start a shuttle that would connect local shopping districts.

Book is opening the survey to residents from all regions.

“There's strength in numbers,” she said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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