Public Transport (Buses) in Pittsburgh

The public transport in Pittsburgh is complicated and extremely confusing to me (the existing system during the time this article was published). Let me explain generically the existing bus system.

Pittsburgh Port Authority bus stopping at a bus stop

There two ways you can pay your fare: either the exact amount in cash or using a ConnectCard (a lot of colleges in the city have it together with the college/university ID card). On principle, when you flag down the bus, you must check whether it is an inbound or outbound from downtown Pittsburgh. For inbound services you pay when you board and outbound services, you pay when you alight. These concepts can get confusing when you board from downtown or when you are new to the route. It always caught me off guard and I am still confused with the system after living in the city for more than 6 months. So I always ask the driver instead.

As there are two entrances to the bus, due to the way you pay your fare, you can board the bus only from the front for inbound buses and either entrance when you alight. And only alight the bus from the front entrance for outbound buses, while you can board from either entrance. I always board and alight from the front just in case. I find it much easier this way...

The fares are divided into three zones: Free, Zone 1 and 2. Remember to get your transfer ticket from the driver if you are changing services to complete your journey.

Good News! After learning all these concepts and protocols, the entire bus system is going to change beginning January 1, 2017. It's going to be a single fare system. You can enter only from the front and exit the bus from the rare entrance. No more transfer tickets and discounted fares when you use your ConnectCard. At the time of this article, from the Port Authority website*, you will have to pay USD2.75 (full fare) if you pay by cash and USD2.50 when you pay using your ConnectCard. The ConnectCard is still free at the time of this article, but it will soon have a fee of USD1.00. So, if you are coming to Pittsburgh, this is something to take note. To find out more about these changes do check out the special Website that the Port Authority has created - *

If there are any more things that you think I have missed out or interpreted incorrectly, please leave a comment below. Also, please note that I am not paid to say any of the content in this article. All information I have provided is from my own research and could be wrong, so please always check with the Port Authority -

Linking up with Our World Tuesday

You need to try it in the UK, I'm ok I have a bus pass as I'm over 60
Bill    Tue, 10 May 2016 08:16:35 +0100
Hello, having public transportation is a good thing. I live in a rural area where there is none. It has been a long time since I lived in a city with the buses. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your week ahead!
Eileen    Tue, 10 May 2016 11:55:13 +0100
Cities are so complicated. That's why I like living in a rural area
Have a great day!
Lea    Tue, 10 May 2016 12:35:06 +0100
LOL! It should be a single fare system. That was confusing.
Photo Cache    Tue, 10 May 2016 16:29:36 +0100
Hi all, thanks for the comments and thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you enjoy the content on my blog. Happy Smiley

Bill: I know what you mean about UK's public transport. That is also a tough nut to crack. I was living in Manchester for 6 years before I came to the States.

Eileen: Absolutely. I am grateful for having public transport. But, the existing system is confusing. Opps! Smiley Have a fantastic week ahead.

Lea: hahaha... Yups! That is another way to avoid all this mess. Very Happy Smiley

Photo Cache: That's right! What took them so long to figure this out? Hahaha... Amused Smiley
Alexander    Tue, 10 May 2016 19:09:06 +0100
It reminded me of my days in Pittsburg!
My Little World    Fri, 13 May 2016 00:41:55 +0100
Pittsburgh's fares are the most complex I have ever come across. There are no Day Passes. I am going for a day in a few weeks to ride the "T" and inclines plus a few bus rides to connect. However, to do this easily will need a Weekly Pass costing $37.50! The option is to buy individual Zone 1, Zone 2 and transfer tickets for each and every ride which is crazy. This will waste the time of drivers, need pockets full of cash, and use up valuable time at machines. Obviously they don't cater for tourists.
Paul Haywood    Mon, 07 Nov 2016 18:16:26 +0000
Having visited Pittsburgh on 17 November, I can confirm the complexity of the fare system at that time. I went to the transport office to ask advice about what would be the best fare for a full day of touring the "T". The lady couldn't grasp the concept of anyone actually wanting to ride for fun. I eventually settled on a $20 smart card. What added to the confusion for visitors (and locals) was the requirement to pay on exit on some journeys, but pay on entry on other journeys. I was "told off" on a number of occasions for not validating my ticket correctly. I noticed that locals often made the same mistake.
As you say, Alex, as from January, a new single zone system has been introduced which should make fare payment much simpler. Happy Smiley
A final point. I was very pleased to find that the bus/tram tickets are valid on the Duquesne Incline which was a joy to visit! Very Happy Smiley
Paul Haywood    Wed, 04 Jan 2017 08:50:32 +0000
Say Something