Op-Ed: We can finally see which bus will take us to the game | Opinion | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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Op-Ed: We can finally see which bus will take us to the game 

Public transit advocates and riders share why it's important the Port Authority removed the sports messages from buses.

click to enlarge CP PHOTO: RYAN DETO
  • CP photo: Ryan Deto
Port Authority of Allegheny County CEO Katharine Eagan Kelleman recently announced that Port Authority buses would begin showing only route information on their LED destination signs. Meaning they will no longer cycle through messages related to sports, holidays, or other information not related to transit.

Pittsburghers for Public Transit welcomes this move as a way to make our buses easier to use. Displaying messages instead of the route number or destination on the bus’ display makes it harder for transit riders to make quick decisions about choosing a route, which can often mean a difference between catching a convenient bus and waiting 20 extra minutes or more for the next one. It can be especially difficult for seniors or those with low vision to make out signs that alternate through messages unrelated to bus routes. By only providing information related to bus lines, riders who rely on transit will have an easier time getting around.

Some people lament the loss of awareness of Pittsburgh's sports teams when these messages are removed. However, over the years, sports teams like the Penguins, Steelers and Pirates have benefited from millions of dollars in public subsidy for things like stadium construction and real estate tax abatements. The last thing they need is more free advertising on our buses. These high-income organizations, and others like them, need to pay their fair share for a transit system that keeps our city moving.

Pittsburghers for Public Transit approves of Port Authority's decision here. By removing messaging that is not relevant to bus riders’ travel decisions, the authority is making their system more accessible to more riders. This may be a comparatively small decision, but policies like these are low-cost ways to improve the rider experience and build a transit system that Pittsburgh can be proud of.

Signed,
Pittsburghers for Public Transit
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