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Problems in Pittsburgh

The Port Authority Transit (PAT) in an attempt to speed up the South Hills light rail line proposed to eliminate a number of stops to bring the spacings more into line with newer LRT lines. This has met with an angry reaction from residents living along the line where the removal of their stop would cause considerable hardship especially as many were senior citizens or didn't drive and had moved to the area to be close to the "T" (trolley).

Brian Lomas, LRTA Development Officer comments:

While the line is reported to be the slowest in the US with an average speed of 12-15mph, and therefore could do with improvement, the removal of stops where there is no easy access to alternative stops does seem to be a bit drastic. As one of the claimed benefits of light rail is its ability to attract development, and in this case it certainly seems to have happened, this sort of proposal seems perverse. While the stop spacings are close it also seems that the general running speed where the line is segregated is low and one would hope that improvements could be made in that area or by reducing dwell times at stops or possibly with some limited stop services. In the end it may well be that attention should be paid to reliability, which according to reports seems of more concern users rather than overall speed.

18 February 1999

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