Pittsburgh light rail

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Re: Pittsburgh Light Rail

Postby Jeff Smith » Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:01 pm

<BUMP> Merging and realigning some topics.
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Re: Pittsburgh Light Rail

Postby Jeff Smith » Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:03 pm

Next stop, Willoughby
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Re: Pittsburgh Light Rail

Postby atsf sp » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:13 pm

The extension is quite beautiful. Great tunnel work and the stations seem modern. They are still running at restricted speed. also gateway looks great after the makeover.
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Re: Pittsburgh Light Rail

Postby NJrailfan » Mon May 07, 2012 7:26 pm

Just road this system and the new stations in downtown are very nicely done. However the fare collection system is a mess! At the Station Square stop, there are two people sitting in a both at the exit were you pay, just to tell you to place your money into the machine. If the Pittsburgh light rail system is having so many financial problems, why don’t they just do away with the fare collectors at the stations and just go to a random fare inspection system? This would also get rid of the delays and confusion at stops were the operator has to “collect the fare.”
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Re: Pittsburgh Light Rail

Postby Jersey Jeff » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:57 pm

NJrailfan wrote:Just road this system and the new stations in downtown are very nicely done. However the fare collection system is a mess! At the Station Square stop, there are two people sitting in a both at the exit were you pay, just to tell you to place your money into the machine. If the Pittsburgh light rail system is having so many financial problems, why don’t they just do away with the fare collectors at the stations and just go to a random fare inspection system? This would also get rid of the delays and confusion at stops were the operator has to “collect the fare.”


I rode "The T" from Dormont Junction to Wood St. on Saturday and there was probably 75 passengers at Dormont Jct. waiting to board. Fare collection brought me back in time to the 1980s when I had to pay "exact fare" by shoveling money into a farebox at the front of the train. Boarding took 20 minutes.

The Port Authority should install TVMs at its more heavily-patronized stops and then rely on a random fare collection system as is done on NJ Transit's light rail systems.
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Re: Pittsburgh Light Rail

Postby Disney Guy » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:30 pm

On board cash fare collection after about 1980 is very inefficient compared with fifty plus years prior.

1. New fare boxes take only one coin at a time, compared with in the past each passenger could dump his fare in, and the operator can eyeball it for correctness and activate a trap door to drop the coins down further to make it easier to eyeball the next passenger's fare.

2. Today's fares are generally over $1.00 requiring accepting dollar bills which is slow (or several coins).

To regain efficiency, fare cards need to be introduced, preferably those (with RFID chip or bar code) that don't need to inserted all the way into the fare box and have to be ejected.
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Re: Pittsburgh Light Rail

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:56 pm

Regarding point 2. what we really need is to stop printing dollar bills to force the use of coins. Canada, the UK, the Eurozone and Switzerland, to name some, have gotten rid of paper money in small denominations (face it -- the dollar is the new quarter). Farecards and monthly passes are the most efficient for most people, but transit systems will still have to accommodate the occasional cash fare in some fashion, and dollar bills just make it harder.
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Re: Pittsburgh Light Rail

Postby atsf sp » Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:53 am

Are we really going to argue about currency? I do not think the Port Authority accounted for this many people at some of the stops. Plus this is also a system that has free use in downtown. They do not have the greatest sense of money especially with zones and such. That alone limits the card since there are three zones of payment on this system. And with the transfer being 1 dollar in the first zone and two in the second. cards make no sense. It is not an organized system and they do not seem to know what to do after killing a great trolley network and downgrading it to one and a half lines.
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Re: Pittsburgh light rail during a recent visit.

Postby jayo » Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:28 pm

Nyterider wrote:It was a weekend so I didn't get a sense of what weekday ridership is like. I traveled all routes, including the northbound portion of the 52 which is currently being used by all trolleys to Pittsburgh because one of the tracks in the Mount Washington tunnel is out of service.

How old is the Mount Washington tunnel? Was it trolley only before PAT rebuilt it? And what was the deal with the Mt. Lebanon tunnel? Just something they built to get rid of some slow street running or to appease residents? And the almost unused branch to Penn Station is convenient to the convention center and is probably aimed at eventually getting light rail service onto the East Busway. Any idea where those plans stand?


I lived up there for a good portion of my life. The Overbrook line was shut down for most of my time living in Pittsburgh, so didn't get to see much of it. The Mt Washington tunnel I think is well over a hundred years old, and I believe it was trolley only until the 1960's or 70's, when the busways were built.

I was always fascinated by the Penn Station line, which was only used at rush hour when I was there. I think it was discontinued due to low ridership, as well as the fact that it had to be single tracked because it tunneled through the foundation of the US Steel building, that single track really made it difficult. Penn Station is in the Free Fare Zone, so operating that line won't generate any additional revenue. Really, the best way to revitalize it would be to extend it.
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What's this fuzzball doing on Pittsburgh's Light Rail?!?

Postby STrRedWolf » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:06 pm

Or, the mook from Baltimore takes a trip on the Pittsburgh T.

So in the over ten years since going to Pittsburgh for Anthrocon, I have never ridden their light rail, aka the T, before yesterday (Monday). In previous years I was ether on a too-tight schedule and had to leave that Monday, or last year I was sick for the day I was spending after the con (and I'm glad I did, because it made the trip back on the Pennsy easier). This time, I didn't take the Amtrak Pennsy this year. Two bags (one regular, one costume) is rather too much for the trip. I flew in... but I had to spend time on Monday namely because 9am flight, needed to be at the airport at 7am, SuperShuttle wanted to pick me up at 6am for a 18 minute trip to the airport... and SuperShuttle is notoriously early so I end up having to wake up at 5am (aka "o'dark thirty") to make my trip.

With a little bit of time on my hands, I thought I'd finally take a trip on the T and head over to the South Hill Valley mall, which is a short walk away from one of the T's end points. I grabbed a day pass (which is a paper-based tap card) at Wood Street and took the train down.

The light rail cars are a bit bus-like, in which there is one entrance for low platforms (including some short ones) while three are on each side for the high platforms (most stations). There's room enough for two-by-two seating but it's mostly two-by-one, and a fare box is on ether side. True to their payment scheme (pay on outskirts), you don't pay if you travel inside the city (including the north shore), but cross the Monongahela River to South Shore, and it's time to cough up your fare ($2.50 if pre-paid, $2.75 at the fare box). At South Hill Valley (terminus), you pay/tap at the attendant station.

The whole thing made me think on how Baltimore could of done theirs better. Granted, the Red Line there would of required vehicles and it would of been perfect to scrap the old ones and bring on new vehicles like the VTA, but this could of been a better way in which the existing fleet was adapted.
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Re: Pittsburgh light rail

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:19 pm

Moderator's Note: merged STrRedWolf's post into an existing thread.
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