Transit Riders Envision Equitable Future For Growing System

“Riders’ Transit Vision” sets goal for equality for all riders across region

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PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Pittsburghers for Public Transit revealed their newest initiative Monday.

“The Riders’ Transit Vision” will set four “planks” for equitable transit service in the growing Pittsburgh region, with short- and long-term goals.

The event also celebrated the preservation and restoration of bus routes in the Mon Valley after a year-long campaign by the advocacy group and community members against proposed Bus Rapid Transit service cuts.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County announced in April that service from the Mon Valley would not be cut to Downtown Pittsburgh and riders would not have to transfer in Oakland as initially planned.

“So this was a huge victory we’re really celebrating,” Pittsburghers for Public Transit executive director Laura Wiens told the KDKA Radio Afternoon News. “But we think it really is just the first step toward having a more equitable and growing transit system.”

Wiens previewed Monday’s meeting as way to develop a plan for increased ridership by better serving marginalized communities and addressing pressing climate concerns.

“We’re launching our riders’ vision to talk about what public transit could be in our region and to lay out a series of achievable goals that will really improve people’s lives and recognize that transit is the urban infrastructure that is critical to people being able to access everything they need in their lives,” Wiens said.

Wiens credits the changes in community relations in part to Katharine Kelleman who stepped in as CEO in January.

“We are really excited and grateful that [the Port Authority has] been listening to the concerns of riders,” Wiens said. “Over the past year we’ve really seen an evolution of the relationship that we’ve had with them.”

Regional elected leaders, Mon Valley Initiative, Pittsburghers for Public Transit, Just Harvest, bus riders and community stakeholders helped organize the plan and meeting. Representatives from the Port Authority, the Allegheny Conference, PCRG, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, and the Clean Air Council will participate.

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