Port Authority seeks input on public transit issues

More than 400 Port Authority buses now have free wi-fi, and the rest — including buses and light rail — are expected to be equipped early this year.

For now, vehicles with free Wi-Fi will be marked with a sticker near the front. To log on, riders can choose “PAAC WIFI” and won’t need a password. There is no limit on time usage, but the Port Authority requests that riders don’t download huge files, because bandwidth is limited and shared among riders.

This year, Port Authority intends to roll out a mobile payment application to let customers pay fares via their smartphone. Additionally, Port Authority upgraded 59 buses to utilize "clean diesel" and equipped them with USB ports for charging mobile devices and other electronics.

The authority will host a series of public meetings, called “Public Transit: A Community Discussion,” which will focus on a variety of topics ranging from Port Authority's use of technology to fare policy to long-range planning.

"Our goal is to engage communities while it's still early on for many of these topics so we can get a better sense of the direction our stakeholders want us to go," Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman said in a news release. "We felt it was important to hold these get-togethers now so we can talk about these issues before we make any major decisions."

The first community discussions will be from 9 a.m. to noon, 1 to 4 p.m., and 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 29 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.  The discussions come to Oakland on April 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Connolly Ballroom of Alumni Hall 

Seven other meetings are planned throughout Allegheny County, including East Liberty, Millvale, Monroeville, McKeesport, Bethel Park and Springdale. Find the full schedule here.