Carrick & surrounding neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, PA are served by multiple bus routes, most importantly the 51-Carrick bus.
The 51L is the Carrick Limited, which provides express service from downtown Pittsburgh to Station Square, Mt Oliver, Bon Air & Carrick, ending at the Brentwood Loop.
The 51 & 51L travel along Brownsville Road frequently through the day – every five to ten minutes on the way to work in the morning & on the way home, 6 times an hour mid days, & about every half hour in the evening. Weekends & holidays, buses run two to three times an hour. For the most up to information on bus service, download the 51/51L bus schedule from the Port Authority.
Drivers make stops only at official bus stops, which are marked.
Fares are paid by by exact change only or ConnectCard, a reusable plastic card that can be purchased at the Port Authority’s Downtown Service Center, Giant Eagle locations & other stores.
Schedule times & bus stops can change. The Port Authority adjusts schedules four times yearly based on passenger counts, feedback from operators, riders & communities, & other information.
The Port Authority of Allegheny County was created by the PA General Assembly in the 1950s for port facilities. Soon after, the Port Authority was allowed to purchase transit companies in the area. They bought 32 privately owned transit companies, including Pittsburgh Railways, which provided mass transit to Carrick. The authority is owned by the county, funded by taxpayers & riders, & overseen by a board of directors that is appointed by the County Executive & approved by County Council. The authority operates nearly 100 bus routes that have more than 7,000 stops.
In the early 2010s, the Port Authority of Allegheny County cut local bus service.
In the mid-2010s, the Port Authority added buses to the 51-Carrick & 51L-Carrick routes when ridership was highest, reducing overcrowding during those hours & allowing people to get on the bus more quickly. Weekend service was increased. The improvements were due to higher funding from Pennsylvania’s Act 89, the Comprehensive Transportation Funding Plan. The changes increased on-time arrivals.
In the late 2010s, the Port Authority eliminated stops on 51-Carrick that were considered dangerous, unpopular or redundant. The changes were part of a Port Authority goal of improving its on-time performance. The authority considers a bus on time if it’s not more than a minute early or more than five minutes late. By its own measure, buses run on time about two-thirds of the time. The Port Authority was trying increase on-time performance to 73%.
Early in the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, the Port Authority implemented a host of measures – disinfecting buses daily, riders boarding & exiting through the rear doors, cash customers boarding free, limiting the number of passengers at a time to allow social distancing by riders & requiring face masks. Later, buses returned to regular service, front-door boarding resumed & cash fares were collected.