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January 9, 1997

New scanners on PAT buses in U-Zone programmed to identify valid PittCards

Starting this month, the Office of Parking and Transportation plans to begin testing scanners programmed to accept the new PittCard identification card on Port Authority Transit (PAT) buses operating in the U-Zone.

The change is expected to speed service and allow PAT drivers to immediately deny a ride to persons who do not possess a valid Pitt ID, according to Pitt's Parking and Transportation Director Bob Harkins.

Members of the Pitt community with a valid ID card can ride PAT buses free of charge in the U-Zone, which extends from Craft Avenue in Oakland through Shadyside into portions of Squirrel Hill. The U-Zone does not include Downtown.

U-Zone routes and stops are as follows: 4U and EBO, East Liberty Station; 54C, Centre at Millvale; 56U, Wightman at Hobart; 61A and 61B, Forbes at Dallas; 61C, Murray at Forward; 67A, 67C, 67E, 67F and 67J, Dallas at Penham Place; 71A, Centre at Negley; 71B, Highland at Penn Circle; 71 C, Penn Mall Station, and 71D, Fifth at Penn.

Limits on the routes are non-negotiable, according to the Office of Parking and Transportation. Anyone boarding or riding beyond the limits will have to pay the applicable fare. Aside from some confusion over U-Zone routes, Harkins said complaints have been relatively few. "Of the 174,000 in riders we had in October, that's by the Port Authority's own count, we only had 10 or 20 complaints," Harkins said. "We think it is a very successful program." Once scanners are in place on PAT buses, staff, faculty and students with valid PittCards will swipe their cards through the machines and be instantly approved or disapproved as riders. Because the data base of PittCard holders is so large, Harkins said only invalid, lost or stolen cards will be recorded in the scanners and those people denied service.

In other parking news: * Inclement weather parking: On days when snow has covered surface lots or when snow has begun to accumulate after midnight, permit parkers with outside spaces should use either the Soldiers and Sailors garage or O'Hara Street garage.

There is no snowfall total after which surface parking lots will be closed, according to Parking and Transportation Coordinator Rich Geiger. Space holders with questions about their lot can call either the Parking office at 624-4034 or the Parking and Transportation 24-hour information line at 624-8800.

Freeing outdoor lots of vehicles will enable Facilities Management staff to more quickly clear those lots of snow and ice.

Attendants in the two garages have been instructed to accept permits from the holders of surface spaces. Parkers must sign the reverse of the ticket they receive when entering one of the garages, and then present it to the attendant when leaving.

* Motorist assistance: Aid is available for parkers who need to have their vehicle jump started or have locked their keys inside their vehicle by calling 624-4034 during parking office business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.

* Basketball parking: Permits for may be purchased in advance from the athletics ticket office, 648-8300. Permits also may be purchased for cash on game day at the ticket office at Gate One of Pitt Stadium.

For games played at the Civic Arena, Parking and Transportation offers free shuttle bus service from Oakland to the Arena. Shuttles board at the William Pitt Union 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to game time.

Additional information on special events parking is available by calling 624-8877 or on the World Wide Web at

* Vanpool openings: The following vanpools have openings for riders: work hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Allison Park-Route 8, Garden City-Penn Hills, Lower Burrell-New Kensington, McKeesport and Wexford-Cranberry; work hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Irwin-Route 30, and work hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sewickley-Route 60.

A free trial ride is available by contacting the ridesharing office at 624-0687 or e-mail

–Mike Sajna

Filed under: Feature,Volume 29 Issue 9

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