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April 1, 2010

Will your Oakland bus service be affected?


When the Port Authority begins to implement changes in its route system, much of Oakland’s bus service will be affected.

Fred Mergner, assistant manager of scheduling, itemized route changes for Oakland’s 32 daily routes.

“On April 4, we’re changing a total of 60 routes system-wide, 13 of which travel through Oakland,” Mergner told an audience of about 100 here March 25. Highlights of the Oakland bus route changes include:

• The 61 series buses eventually will become part of the rapid bus network, but in the short term will retain their current route number designations.

“However, on all the 61 series routes — 61A, B, C and D — entirely new schedules have been developed in accordance with the transit plan,” Mergner said.

“You will notice increased service levels: Throughout the day, each one of the 61 series will run every 15 minutes, meaning 16 trips an hour between Oakland and Forbes and Murray. Secondly, the 61C and 61D, which use Murray Avenue, will be scheduled to alternate evenly, just as the 61A and 61B that continue out Forbes Avenue will be designed,” he said.

Thus, at Forbes and Murray avenues in Squirrel Hill, buses are scheduled to arrive A, B, C, D, A, B, C, D, Mergner said.

“Because they are evenly spaced, we’re hoping it will reduce the ‘bunching’ or ‘platooning,’ where several buses arrive at a stop at the same time,” he said.

• The 61C has some slight route changes in the McKeesport area. Those will be implemented on April 4.

• The 61D, which currently goes up Forward Avenue to Summerset at Frick Park, no longer will turn at Murray and Forward avenues. That bus will continue on Murray Avenue to The Waterfront. It will be renamed 61D-Murray. It also will expand to seven-day-a-week service.

• On April 4, the 59U will be eliminated.

• The 69A bus, which duplicates much of the 61C route, also will be discontinued April 4.

• The 61A and 61B have some substantial routing changes planned near the end of the line in the eastern suburbs. However, those changes will not be implemented until the rapid bus phase is undertaken, planned for fall-winter 2011.

• The 61F-Homestead Park also will be discontinued. To get from Oakland to Homestead Park, riders will take a 61C and transfer to a 53F or 55M in Homestead, or take a 61D-Murray to The Waterfront and transfer to the 55M.

• The 64A, which currently operates between Homestead, Squirrel Hill and Shadyside, will be rerouted and renamed the 64 Lawrenceville/Waterfront. The new route will operate between Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Greenfield and The Waterfront.

Service between Negley and Centre avenues and East Liberty, as well as service along Eighth Avenue and Amity Street in Homestead, will be discontinued April 4.

• The new 75-Ellsworth route will replace the 59U between Oakland and the South Side Works. The new 75-Ellsworth bus will start daily at 6 a.m.; the 59U did not run during morning rush hour.

• The 75-Ellsworth eventually will replace the 71C, which serves Shadyside via Ellsworth Avenue, although no timetable for the replacement is set. Inbound, the 75-Ellsworth will run from Bakery Square to Shady Avenue down Ellsworth Avenue to Neville Street to Fifth Avenue to the Birmingham Bridge to the South Side Works seven days a week. The 71C eventually will not travel on  Ellsworth Avenue and instead will operate on Centre Avenue when it becomes a rapid bus. The 71A also will be converted to a rapid bus.

Mergner said, “The important thing to remember in the short term is that the 75-Ellsworth and the 71C routes are interchangeable between Oakland, and College Street and Ellsworth in Shadyside. If you see the 75 coming, use it, because the 71C frequency has been reduced in the interim time period prior to implementation of the rapid bus phase.”

• Two Shadyside routes, the 77C and the 78C-Shadyside Express, will be discontinued April 4.

“However, the 78C ridership on Bayard Street will be served by a rerouted W-Wilkins Avenue Flyer that riders can take to get to Downtown,” Mergner said.

• Two routes currently run from Oakland/Downtown to the airport area: The 28X Airport Flyer and the 100 West Busway-All Stops. The 28X route will eliminate the Robinson Town Centre stop, going from Oakland to Downtown and then directly to the airport. The service will run every 30 minutes from approximately 4:30 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. Eventually, the 28X will become a rapid bus, but will retain its route designation for now.

The 100 West Busway-All Stops route will be renumbered and renamed G2 West Busway-Oakland. That bus will run to Robinson Town Center directly from Oakland and Downtown. The G2 West Busway-Oakland will run seven days a week all day long. Currently, the 100 West Busway-All Stops runs only during weekday rush hours.

The G2 will not serve the Carnegie park-and-ride as the 100 West Busway-All Stops does currently.

“For those of you who use the Carnegie park-and-ride, there are several options,” Mergner said. “There is a park-and-ride at Bell Station, Crafton Station and Sheridan Station on the West Busway, or if you use the Carnegie park-and-ride you can take the G1, which replaces the 33X, to one of the other stations and transfer to the G2. During rush hours, the G1 and G2 will alternate every five minutes on the West Busway, running every 10 minutes each.”

—Peter Hart

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