Though changes in the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s fare system went into effect Jan. 1, most commuters didn’t experience them right away because, for them, Monday, Jan. 2 was a holiday.
By many accounts, Jan. 3 was anything but.
One such commuter on the 14 Ohio Valley bus was perfectly fine until—thanks to new rules requiring “pay-enter” at the front door, and exit at the back—he had to exit in the rear. Unfortunately, his bicycle was still lashed to the front of the bus when it pulled away. Luckily, he got the driver’s attention and didn’t have to run to the next stop.
One driver on the 51 Carrick route said while pay-enter does deter the freeloaders, the rear-exit can be a problem, especially at night and for elderly riders.
“I could be letting someone off in a snow drift, or on a hill,” he said. “That should just be for Downtown stops only.”
That policy is also creating longer waits for buses during the evening outbound rush–and obviating the advantages of the longer segmented buses to take on a lot of passengers at once. Such delays are further exacerbated when long lines of riders have to wait for one or more wheelchair users, and cash customers.
The T system is now entirely cashless. But cash customers on PAT buses have their own set of complaints; mainly that––with the elimination of paper transfers––they are being shafted.