Port Authority Planning 24-Hour Service on Selected Routes

The public transit service aims to extend hours to accommodate late-shift workers.


Port Authority announced plans for a new 24-hour bus service on some routes throughout the Pittsburgh area, which will likely take effect sometime next fall. 

The move to extend service hours on five or six local routes comes after a study published by the American Public Transit Association which encouraged more public transportation options for late-shift workers. 

According to the study, 17% of the workforce in urban areas starts work after 4 p.m., making it difficult to get to work or come home after late shifts. This combined with a median salary of about $30,000 a year — $5,000 less than the median daytime salary — makes personal transportation or routine use of services such as taxis, Uber and Lyft entirely unaffordable. 

Other than the 28X airport flyer, which provides service from 3:17 a.m. to 12:10 a.m., the system’s earliest start is the 51 Carrick at 3:46 a.m., and the latest is the 54 serving North Side and Oakland until 2:25 a.m. 

According to Port Authority CEO Katharine Eagan Kelleman, who participated in a teleconference about the study, the updated service would likely target areas such as the Strip District, Bloomfield, East Liberty, Shadyside, Oakland, South Side and Downtown. 

“Our No. 1 objective would be to get 24-hour routes re-established to serve workers who need that service,” Kelleman told the Post-Gazette. “It would be five or six routes around the area to connect through Downtown.”

Kelleman has called for authority planners to submit neighborhood and business districts in need of 24-hour service, with the intent of including the extended schedule in the ongoing 2020-21 budget process. 

The study also says the lack of access to late-night transit costs employers as much as it does employees, making night-shift jobs unattainable for an entire segment of the population. 

“Community challenges also hit employers by increasing truancy and turnover, costing the U.S. economy billions of dollars a year,” the study says. “With coordinated action, decision-makers, transit providers and the private sector can come together to improve public transportation for America’s late-shift through new funding, public policy and innovative service models.”

Categories: The 412