Steelers, casino to pick up T fares from North Shore to Downtown
The Steelers and Rivers Casino will underwrite the northernmost leg of the North Shore Connector, allowing Port Authority of Allegheny County to offer free T rides between the new Allegheny Station and Downtown for at least three years, the agency said Wednesday.
Port Authority struck a similar deal in December in which groups agreed to subsidize another portion of the $523.4 million light-rail extension that is opening next month.
Agency officials and observers say the deals could spur other local companies and organizations to pursue similar sponsorships on the T and bus routes. Revenue generated could help the cash-strapped agency and its riders, they said.
"We think that these last two deals absolutely will open the eyes of others in the community as to the possibilities that might exist within the Port Authority system regarding advertising and sponsorships," Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said.
Under the latest deal, the Steelers and Rivers Casino will pay the agency $200,000 in the first year, with $5,000 increases in each of the following two years, the agency said.
Of that, $40,000 a year will go toward buying advertising space in the new station at North Shore Drive and Reedsdale Street. The rest will go toward the agency's operating costs.
The agency and local groups, such as the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, continue to pursue a deal that might extend the T's free-fare zone to Station Square. Other possibilities exist along heavily used bus corridors such as the East Busway and Fifth and Forbes avenues, Ritchie said.
"There are all sorts of opportunities," said Ken Zapinski, executive vice president of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.
In December, the Pittsburgh Stadium Authority and Alco Parking Corp. agreed to subsidize free rides between Downtown and the new North Side Station under the West General Robinson Street garage. Ritchie said revenue from the two deals will cover all of the connector's operational costs.
"This (latest) agreement brings a tremendous level of transit service to the ever-growing North Shore, providing new opportunities to commuters, students and those heading for a little fun at the game or casino," Port Authority CEO Steve Bland said.
Steelers President Art Rooney II said the connector will help "build on the momentum and progress that is reshaping the North Shore."
Duquesne University marketing professor Audrey Guskey believes the money was well spent.
"Obviously, the Steelers don't need to do any marketing or advertising. We love them and they know that," Guskey said. "But with a big organization like them stepping in and helping out, I think you'll see others follow suit."
The connector is scheduled to open in March, extending the Port Authority of Allegheny County's T light-rail system into the North Shore via a tunnel under the Allegheny River.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh Regatta will go on without boats, water events
- Rossi: Rutherford shines as old boss pouts
- Record-breaking solar-powered plane lands in Hawaii after flight from Japan
- Crane tips over, smashes into roof of building at Pitt
- Homebrewers timid when choosing commercial styles
- Public implored to avoid iPhone cases that resemble guns
- Former Jeannette coach held for trial on charges of assault on teen girls
- LaBar: What’s killing professional wrestling
- Liriano, Pirates complete sweep of Tigers
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Indians, July 3, 2015
- Shaken by economic, political turmoil, MLB forsaking Venezuela