Under PAT, there are 3 buses with only the East Busway being recognized as an efficient busway system. In addition, there is absolutely no North Busway with PAT relying on the HOV lanes within I-579 and I-279. There has been no real significant extension of the busways since they were created.
Under the ACTA Plan, the East and West Busways will face extensions to connect Downtown with the County Line. In the case of the East Busway, this will extend to the Allegheny side of Trafford, where the West Busway will run alongside W. Carson St. to enter Downtown via the subway network to Penn Station. The western end will go to the Allegheny County side of McDonald – therefore connecting with Bridgeville. The current south busway will be renamed as the ACTA South Corridor. The LRT lines for the current Blue-Library line will be shut down, and made a hybrid LRT, and Busway. This will become the South Busway. The Panhandle Bridge will be replaced with one that will support trains, and buses. As with the W. Busway, entering Downtown will be underground.
There is no North Busway. The best solution will be to take over I-579, 2 lanes of I-279, and build the roadway to run alongside of I-79 north of I-279 to Warrendale. However, this will likely never happen without approval of the Federal Government (since that proposal will involve the Federal Highway system). Alternative is to build underground. This has been done in Australia, and can be done in this case since building a North Busway above ground in through Pittsburgh, Ross Township, and West View will be unrealistic. The North Busway will run under the proposed highway route to West View, and eventually run along side of I-279 and I-79 to Warrendale above ground.
Why Not Here?
One may ask why extending the East Busway to Trafford instead of Monroeville. The same could be asked about McDonald instead of the Pittsburgh International Airport. And obviously the same about Warrendale instead of McCandless.
There are a number of reasons for each of these. The biggest reasons for all of them is population. The ACTA plan will not gather support if it will require committing Imminent Domain on Tens of Thousands to serve hundreds. The pathways should cause as little of such interference as possible and in turn serve thousands for negatively impacting hundreds or less. Obviously some people will loose homes, and some businesses will have to move. This is the dark side of the ACTA Plan, and there is no way around it. However in order to make the system work, expansion is not only preferred, but essential to provide cost effective services to all of the county, not just those living in privilege zones of the City of Pittsburgh.
Features of the Busways
All busways will have some things in common. These are designed to allow the busways to be safe, secured, reliable, and consistency. With this in mind, the busways have to be uniformed, and modernized. The busways will have the following capabilities
All of the busways will be a part of the Ride Gold System. The routes that will serve these roadways will be expected to be reliable and on-time all of the time. By having the busways run in such a fashion, it will move people during the day when demand is highest and at night when the demand is at lowest, but need is greater. The busways and all Ride Gold Routes will be that lifeline and that means to provide for a future Pittsburgh.
Highly Visible Stations
All Stations will stand out from the rest of the environment. The busway will also be well lit, and have access to emergency services such as a no dial access to ACTA Police. There is no point in having 24/7 service if no one feels safe to use it when it is needed.
All busway stations will be bike friendly offering bike racks for standard two wheel bikes, and spaces for trikes and recumbent bikes that might be needed for those with disabilities or balancing problems.
Where needed, ramps, dog friendly access points, and elevators will be provided in the busway stations. Outdoor walkways, and roads will all have in-ground radiant heating (such as Snow Melt&tm;). This will reduce demand of maintenance, while assuring people are less likely to have accidents. This is especially needed for disabled and elderly. The roadways will also invoke this technology to assure that the roads are clear of snow and ice. This not only ensures crossing the street is safe, but also the buses are not likely to get into weather related impacts.
Whereas most routes will be pay-board, the Busways will be pay to enter the busway platform. This will reduce would be loitering while allowing easy boarding of the vehicle. This will require a segregation of passengers so that exiting passengers either pay again to transfer or exit the busway.
All stations will be provided with electronic displays – likely to be E-Ink with a 60 second refresh during the daytime. This will allow riders to have a good idea of which route is coming and how long. E-Ink displays will also be for the route listing which will show a sample of things to come for all routes.
Wifi for Patrons
Wifi Broadband Internet using a Fiber Optic Network will be made available to patrons (those with Connect Cards). This will allow the patron to connect one device via Wifi to access all of the resources available on the Internet, and will even permit of SIP/Wif-Calling/VOIP calls. All other users can access ACTA’s Walled Garden.
The busways are private property. Simply put, unauthorized vehicles are trespassing. ACTA will put cameras with license plate readers on all entry/exit points of ACTA. Any vehicle that abuses the roadway will have their license plate taken, and a ticket for trespassing will be mailed to the owner.