Next year, Pittsburgh Regional Transit will have four routes end in Oakland rather than continue to Downtown Pittsburgh.

But agency officials said Thursday they don’t believe the changes should inconvenience riders because they have many alternate routes to reach Downtown.

With construction starting early next year for the Bus Rapid Transit system, trips on the 61D and 71A-C-D routes will end in Oakland, Amy Silbermann, director of planning and service development, told the board’s Planning and Stakeholder Relations Committee. Under federal Title VI requirements, the agency must review all major route changes to determine whether they have a significant impact on minority riders.

Instead of going Downtown, the four routes will end at Craft Avenue in Oakland. Ms. Silbermann and Ellie Newman, section manager of service development, said ending routes in Oakland will reduce the number of buses traveling through Dowtown streets during construction of the new system. The change is also expected to make drivers available for several hundred hours a week to reduce the agency’s missed trips, which have grown as a result of a shortage of drivers.

Ms. Silbermann said in most cases riders will have easy alternatives for routes that go directly Downtown if they don’t want to transfer in Oakland. In the Centre Avenue area, the agency is proposing to add trips to the 82, and in the Negley Avenue area it wants to add trips to the 87 between Centre and Bryant Street to make up for the reductions.

This approach is the opposite of what the agency originally proposed in 2017, when riders reacted negatively to plans to have most suburban routes end in Oakland and require most riders heading for the Golden Triangle to transfer.

“We really wanted to minimize the number of people who want to transfer,” Ms. Silbermann said. “If people wait just a couple of minutes, they can still get a one-seat ride to Downtown.”

When the new system begins operations, which is expected in late 2024, the agency wants to make another change. The P3 route currently operates between Swissvale and Oakland on the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway, but that will change to instead operate from Wilkinsburg. The route also will add weekend service.

That change is necessary because the P3 will use electric buses as part of the BRT project, which will have charging facilities at the Wilkinsburg station. Ms. Silbermann said the P3 generally has few riders entering or exiting in Swissvale. 

The agency will have an information meeting and formal hearings in December and January about the proposed changes.

The $291 million BRT project will use exclusive bus lanes, inbound on Fifth Avenue and outbound on Forbes Avenue, to provide more reliable service between Downtown and Oakland.

Ed Blazina

Ed covers transportation at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Ed Blazina

Ed covers transportation at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at