The end of August and the beginning of September are undoubtedly riotous times for the Port Authority. The end of summer marks the start of the school year, which is definitely significant to Pittsburgh; with over 50 schools offering degrees and more than 100,000 students, Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas have a huge college population. The city itself swells with the beginning of the school year, and the buses do not escape this influx of bodies.
As a student who lived in the city over the summer working through a fellowship, I saw firsthand the changes in the transit system as the season transitioned from summer to fall. Throughout the summer, the buses were on time. There were usually seats available, even at 5 pm in Oakland. The riders were courteous and thoughtful. This all changed when the students flocked to Pittsburgh at the end of August. The buses have been crowded, the riders have been rude, and the buses have been incredibly late. There are thousands of new kids who, in many cases, had been presented a bus pass for the first time and it clearly showed. So, in case you are new to the Port Authority buses or just need a refresher, here are six tips on how to avoid making public transit more of a hell than it already is:
Avoid sitting in the priority seating if you are abled.
The Pittsburgh buses have priority seating at the front, near the doors. These have been set aside for passengers with mobility disabilities. I know it’s more convenient to sit down as soon as you get on the bus, but if you are abled, please be considerate. Move towards the back of the bus.
Don’t crowd by the priority seating if there are no seats available.
Again, it is convenient to just stop in the aisle as soon as you get on the bus. Please move towards the back to make room for other passengers!
Be mindful of your bags.
If you are moving towards the back of the bus past people who are already sitting down, please try to avoid whacking them in the head with your backpack or purse.
Don’t be a seat hog.
Don’t take up two seats if you’re only one person. If the bus is filling up, try not to block the seat next to you by sitting by the aisle or devoting a seat solely to your bag. Make room if you can!
Try not to block the door.
If you can avoid standing right in front of the door, please do so. People need to get in and out!
Have your bus pass ready when you get on.
It’s inconsiderate to clog the line of people getting on the bus while you dig through your purse or pockets for your pass. Just try to have your ID ready before your bus even arrives.
Overall, just be considerate of others and try to be polite. Follow common courtesy and you should be fine!