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The Port Authority of Allegheny County operates public bus and light rail service – the T – in Pittsburgh, PA including South Pittsburgh.

Buses

The following buses provide transit service to the Hilltop:

The Brentwood Loop is a bus stop on the 51-Carrick route on its way from downtown Pittsburgh to West Mifflin. The 51L-Carrick turns around at the loop. The loop is located in Brentwood, just past the Pittsburgh (Carrick) line. Outbound from Pittsburgh, the loop is on the right.

39 Brookline makes several stops in Brookline, reaches South Hills Junction, where rides can make connections to other buses, and continues downtown before returning. It starts at 4:40 AM with the last bus originating after midnight.

The following buses travel Saw Mill Run Boulevard, make stops at South Bank Station and provide public transportation through a large stretch of the South Hills:

Drivers make stops only at official bus stops, which are marked.

Fares are paid by exact change only or ConnectCard.

The T

The T is a 26-mile light rail system that runs north and south, servicing 27 stations. There are three light rail lines – Silver, Blue and Red. All three lines start at Allegheny Station in the North Shore. Heinz Field, the Community College of Allegheny County Allegheny Campus and Carnegie Science Center can be reached from Allegheny Station.

From Allegheny Station, the three lines travel under the Allegheny River to provide an underground subway for downtown Pittsburgh. The lines run pretty much at ground level from downtown to Station Square, South Hills Junction and through South Pittsburgh and the South Hills.

The Port Authority employs a “pay where you live” system for light rail, according to its guide, How to Ride the Light Rail System. Seniors over 65 with ID and children under six ride for free.

Transportation Centers

South Bank Station is a major transit facility in Overbrook that serves the largely residential area that surrounds it. South Bank is a stop on the South Busway, providing connections to many buses. It is a station on the Blue Line and Silver Line on the light rail system.

South Hills Junction serves as a transit center and transfer station. A lot of buses, including buses that ride on the South Busway, and the T have stops there. It’s located in Mt Washington next to Beltzhoover and doesn’t have residential access.

Connections that can be made at South Hills Junction include:

The South Busway speeds riders from South Pittsburgh into downtown Pittsburgh on a special, two-lane transit highway that avoids Saw Mill Run Boulevard. Only buses and emergency vehicles use it. The busway runs from Overbrook to South Hills Junction to downtown. It’s a little over four miles long.

Port Authority Of Allegheny County

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is a county-owned public transit agency that operates nearly 100 bus routes that have more than 7,000 stops, the light rail line and two inclines.

Schedule times and bus stops can change. The Port Authority adjusts schedules four times yearly based on passenger counts, feedback from operators, riders and communities, and other information.

The Port Authority has a 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. During the 2010s, the Port Authority was trying increase on-time performance to 73%.

The authority encourages the use of their ConnectCard and ConnecTix instead of cash. The ConnectCard is a reusable plastic card that can be purchased at the Port Authority’s Downtown Service Center, Giant Eagle locations and other stores. The authority says that discouraging cash helps speed up trip times.

History

The Port Authority of Allegheny County was created by the PA General Assembly in the 1950s. 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 and riders, and overseen by a board of directors that is appointed by the County Executive and approved by County Council. The authority operates nearly 100 bus routes that have more than 7,000 stops.

Early in the coronavirus pandemic of 2020/2021, the Port Authority implemented a host of measures – disinfecting buses daily, riders boarding and exiting through the rear doors, cash customers boarding free, limiting the number of passengers at a time to allow social distancing by riders and requiring face masks. Later, buses returned to regular service, front-door boarding resumed and cash fares were collected.

Conclusion

Public transit gets people around South Pittsburgh by bus and the T light rail system.

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