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Port Authority Seeks Public Input On Potential Fare Decrease

Pittsburgh public transit users could pay less to ride the bus, or T, starting next year.

Allegheny County Port Authority officials are considering a flat $2.50 fare for one-way rides on the city's light rail and bus lines. It would be the system's first fare decrease in 35 years.

Customers currently maneuver two fare zones; a trip through one costs $2.50 and riding through two costs $3.75.

“Initially, there will be a decrease in revenue,” Port Authority Board Chairman Bob Hurley said. "But we think, ultimately, the opportunity will be to attract additional riders and bring additional revenue to the system."

Transfers will still cost $1, but only for riders using ConnectCards. T service through Downtown and the North Shore also remains free of charge. However, the change would eliminate free bus service Downtown and cash users would have to pay the full fare for transfers.

If approved, these changes would take effect in January 2017.

The Port Authority plans to host several public listening sessions starting next month to get input on the plan. The board will vote to approve the public sessions at its Jan. 22 meeting.

“I think, going forward, the region itself -- not just Port Authority or the City of Pittsburgh, the region itself -- is going to expand the discussion on public transit and what it means to be a vibrant community,” Hurley said.

Other changes would include a $.25 surcharge for riders paying in cash and a $2 fee to purchase or replace a ConnectCard.

Sarah Kovash previously worked as a web producer for KDKA-TV, as a freelance journalist for the Valley News Dispatch covering local government throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley and at NPR station KPBS in San Diego.