ROUTE EBA EAST BUSWAY ALL STOPS ROUTE EBS EAST BUSWAY SHORT

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1 ROUTE EBA EAST BUSWAY ALL STOPS ROUTE EBS EAST BUSWAY SHORT The EBA East Busway All Stops and EBS East Busway Short routes provide the core Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway services. Route EBA operates seven days a week and operates the length of the busway from Swissvale to Penn Station and then around a short loop in downtown Pittsburgh (see Figure 1). Route EBS supplements weekday Route EBA service and operates during peak periods and the shoulders of the peaks between Wilkinsburg and downtown Pittsburgh. Figure 1: Routes EBA and EBS Similar Routes Routes EBA and EBS are the two major routes that use the East Busway to link several of Allegheny County s eastern communities with downtown Pittsburgh. However, as shown on Table 1, 32 other Port Authority routes provide service on the East Busway. Most, but not all, are express/flyer routes that only stop at East Busway stations to discharge passengers on inbound trips and pick-up passengers on outbound trips. These routes, and the type of busway service that they provide, are listed in Table 1. Page 1

2 Table1: East Busway Services Swissvale 3L Creighton Express PD PD PD F 3M Tarentum-Natrona Express PD PD PD F 58C McKeesport Express PD PD PD PD PD PD PD PD F 58P Port Vue-Liberty Express PD PD PD PD PD PD PD PD F 58V Versailles Express PD PD PD PD PD PD PD PD F 63A North Braddock Express PD PD F F PD F 63B Rankin Express PD PD F F PD F 68A Monroeville Express PD PD PD PD PD F 68B Blackridge-Laketon Express PD PD F F PD F 68D Braddock Hills Express PD PD F F PD F 68F Trafford Express PD PD PD PD PD F 68G Swisshelm Park Express PD PD F F PD F 68J Lincoln Highway Express PD PD PD PD PD F 77U Oakland-Penn Hills F F F F 78A Oakmont Express PD PD PD PD PD F 78C Shadyside Express F F 78E Penn Hills-East Vue Express PD PD F F PD F 93A Aspinwall-Cheswick Express PD PD PD F 100 West Busway - Oakland F F AV Allegheny Valley Flyer PD PD PD F AVN Allegheny Valley North Flyer PD PD PD F D Middle Road Flyer PD PD PD F EBO East Busway Oakland F F F F F F F G Greensburg Pike Flyer PD PD PD PD PD F GC Garden City Flyer PD PD PD PD PD F HP Holiday Park Flyer PD PD PD PD PD F LP Lincoln Park Flyer PD PD PD F P Penn Hills-Hunter Park Flyer PD PD PD PD PD F PG Penn Hills-Universal Flyer PD PD PD PD PD F R Mount Royal Flyer F T Trafford Flyer PD PD PD PD PD F W Wilkins Avenue Flyer F Notes: F = full service; PD = pick-up only outbound and discharge only inbound. Roslyn Hamnett Wilkinsburg Homewood East Liberty Negley Herron Penn In addition, a large number of local routes operate parallel to the East Busway, especially between Swissvale and Wilkinsburg, and Wilkinsburg and East Liberty. Although most of these routes operate to and from downtown Pittsburgh, they do so entirely along local roads, and do not take advantage of the travel time savings that the busway can provide. As a result, these routes provide much slower service. Page 2

3 Alignment/Service Patterns Route EBA operates between Swissvale Station and downtown Pittsburgh, and Route EBS operates between the Hay Street Ramp in Wilkinsburg and downtown Pittsburgh. Both routes operate along the same alignment between Wilkinsburg Station and Penn Station (via the busway). However, the two routes operate around different loops in downtown. This greatly diminishes the value of the combined service for outbound trips instead of being able board the first trip on either route, riders must instead try to anticipate which route will depart first, and then choose a stop served by that route. This, in turn, reduces rider options and increases wait times. Also, Route EBA, which provides most of the service, is the route that uses the shortest loop, and the short loop does not provide connections to light rail. The variants and the downtown loops are as follows: Route EBA EBA-I: This variant provides inbound service and operates between Swissvale Station and downtown Pittsburgh and serves all stations on the East Busway. The routing through Downtown Pittsburgh is via a short loop on Liberty Avenue, Seventh Avenue, and Grant Street (see Figure 2). EBA-O: This variant provides outbound EBA service, and begins with the downtown loop and then operates outbound to Swissvale Station and serves all stations. Figure 2: Route EBA and EBS Downtown Pittsburgh Loops Route EBS EBS-I: This variant provides inbound service that starts at the Hay Street Ramp in Wilkinsburg and operates to downtown Pittsburgh and serves all busway stops from Wilkinsburg Station to Penn Station. Downtown Pittsburgh service consists of a longer loop than Route EBA via Liberty Avenue, Wood Street, Boulevard of Allies, Smithfield Street and Liberty Avenue. Page 3

4 EBS-O: This variant provides outbound EBS service, and begins with the loop through downtown Pittsburgh and then operates outbound to the Hay Street Ramp and serves all busway stations from Penn Station to Wilkinsburg Station. Schedule The combination of Routes EBA and EBS provides frequent service seven days a week from early morning until late night (see Table 2). On weekdays, Route EBA operates from 5:00 am to 1:13 am and provides frequent service throughout the day. Headways are also generally very consistent. With only a few exceptions, service operates every 12 minutes in the early AM, every 6 minutes in the AM peak, every 12 or 18 minutes in the midday, every 6 minutes in the PM peak, and every 12 or 20 minutes in the evening. Table 2: Route EBA and Route EBS Schedule Statistics (Weekdays Only) One-Way Trips Headways Span of Service Inbound Outbound (minutes) EBA Weekdays Early AM 5:00 am 5:59 am AM Peak 6:00 am 8:59 am Mid-day 9:00 am 3:29 pm PM Peak 3:30 pm 5:59 pm Evening 6:00 pm 1:13 am Total 5:00 am 1:13 am Saturday 5:15 am 1:25 am Sunday 5:15 am 1:05 am EBS Weekdays AM Peak 6:10 am 8:59 am Mid-day 9:00 am 3:29 pm PM Peak 3:30 pm 5:59 pm Evening 6:00 pm 6:32 pm 0 1 Total 6:10 am 6:32 pm EBA & Weekdays EBS Early AM 5:00 am 5:59 am AM Peak 6:00 am 8:59 am Mid-day 9:00 am 3:29 pm PM Peak 3:30 pm 5:59 pm Evening 6:00 pm 1:13 am Total 5:00 am 1:13 am Saturday 5:15 am 1:25 am Sunday 5:15 am 1:05 am Route EBA weekday service is also supplemented by Route EBS service, which operates from 6:10 am to 10:00 am and from 1:58 pm to 6:38 pm. Most Route EBS service operates every 12 minutes. In general, but with exceptions, Route EBS trips are slotted in between every other Route EBA trip which results in a general peak period headway pattern between Wilkinsburg Station of 3, 3, and 6 minutes. On weekends, all service is provided with Route EBA. On Saturdays, service operates from 5:15 am to 1:25 am with perfectly regular 20 minute headways before 8:00 am and in the Page 4

5 evening and every 18 minutes during the rest of the day. On Sundays, service operates from 5:15 am to 1:05 am with headways that with only one exception are every 25 minutes before 9:00 am and in the evening, and every 15 minutes during the rest of the day. Table 3: Route EBA & Route EBS Ridership by Time Period and Per Trip EBA EBS EBA & EBS Weekday Ridership Ridership/ Trip Weekday Ridership Ridership/ Trip Weekday Ridership Ridership/ Trip Inbound Early AM AM Peak 1, , Base 1, , PM Peak , Evening All Day 4, , , Outbound Early AM AM Peak Base 1, , PM Peak 1, , Evening 1, , All Day 4, , , Both Directions 9,853 2,774 12,571 Ridership Together, Routes EBA and EBS carry 12,600 passengers per weekday: 9,850 on Route EBA and 2,770 on Route EBS. Ridership is strong throughout the day, but is also heavily peak oriented with trips to downtown Pittsburgh in the morning and outbound from downtown in the afternoon. Ridership averages over 50 passengers per trip on the peak direction trips on both routes, and averages over 60 passengers per trip during many of these periods. In the morning, AM peak inbound ridership per trip is essentially the same on both routes, at 64 riders per trip on Route EBA and 63 riders per trip on Route EBS. In the afternoon, PM peak outbound ridership is significantly higher on Route EBA, at 72 passengers per trip, than on Route EBS, at 51 passengers per trip. Inbound, nearly two-thirds of all riders board at one of the four outer-most East Busway Stations (Swissvale, Roslyn, Hamnett and Wilkinsburg) (see Figure 2). Along the inner half of the busway, East Liberty and Negley Stations have very strong boardings. The large majority of passengers travel to downtown Pittsburgh, but alighting volumes at Hamnett, Wilkinsburg, East Liberty, Negley, and Herron Stations are still significant, and range from 87 alightings at Wilkinsburg Station to 323 alightings at Herron Station. Page 5

6 Passengers Figure 2: Route EBA and EBS Ridership by Stop: All Day Inbound SWISSVALE Ons Offs Load Out from Stop ROSLYN HAMNETT WILKINSBURG /HAY ST HOMEWOOD GARAGE EMPLOYEES ONLY STOP EAST LIBERTY NEGLEY HERRON PENN DOWNTOWN Load Out from Stop By route, inbound Route EBA boardings are very heavily skewed to the outer end of the line, particularly Swissvale and Hamnett Stations, which have parking, plus the East Liberty Garage Stop (see Figure 3). From Wilkinsburg inbound, boardings are split between Routes EBA and EBS, and consistent with the relative levels of service, approximately three-quarters use Route EBA. Figure 3: Route EBA and EBS Weekday Inbound Boardings by Stop EBS Ons EBA Ons SWISSVALE ROSLYN HAMNETT WILKINSBURG /HAY ST HOMEWOOD GARAGE EMPLOYEES ONLY STOP EAST LIBERTY NEGLEY HERRON GRANT LIBERTY-NO STOP PENN C DOWNTOWN According to APC data, over 70% of EBS riders board at the Hay Street Ramp in Wilkinsburg or at Wilkinsburg Station. Route EBS, in many respects, is a premium route that connects Page 6

7 Wilkinsburg to downtown Pittsburgh, and to a lesser extent, supplements Route EBA service at intermediate stops. Ridership is oriented toward peak period peak direction trips inbound to downtown Pittsburgh in the morning and outbound in the afternoon. As shown in Figures 4 and 5, many of these trips are very crowded some have maximum loads that exceed 100 passengers. At the same time, many trips run at well below capacity. In total, and as shown in Table 3, more than enough Route EBA and EBS service is provided, and the cause of overcrowded service is uneven loadings. In the AM peak, on both routes, the average maximum loads per trip are 56 to 57 passengers, which is approximately seated capacity, and 54% of trips have maximum loads that are less than 60 passengers. The same is the case in the PM peak, where average maximum loads on Route EBA are 52 passengers, average maximum loads on Route EBS are 41 passengers, and 71% of all trips carry maximum loads of fewer than 60 passengers. These loading patterns indicate that uneven loadings, rather than an insufficient amount of service, are the cause of overcrowding. The uneven boardings are caused, in part, by the uneven way in which Route EBS trips are slotted in between Route EBA trips during peak periods, between Wilkinsburg and downtown, headways are 3, 3, and 6 minutes, and the six minute gap between every third trip produces heavier than average loads on those trips. A more even spacing between trips could eliminate much of the overcrowding. 140 Figure 4: Route EBA Maximum Loads by Time of Day (All Sampled Trips) 120 Inbound Outbound 100 Maximum Load :47 5:49 6:32 6:55 7:15 7:37 7:58 8:19 8:42 9:11 9:45 10:37 11:24 12:19 13:14 14:12 14:51 15:27 15:50 16:13 16:34 16:53 17:16 17:38 18:15 19:10 20:12 21:35 22:55 0:29 Page 7

8 140 Figure 5: Route EBS Maximum Loads by Time of Day (All Sampled Trips) 120 Inbound Outbound 100 Maximum Load :11 6:25 6:46 6:53 7:04 7:14 7:28 7:36 7:43 7:54 8:06 8:18 8:32 8:47 9:02 9:14 9:35 14:10 14:31 14:50 15:12 15:17 15:39 15:53 16:06 16:29 16:42 17:02 17:19 17:43 Table 3: Route EBA and EBS Peak Period Maximum Loads AM Peak Inbound PM Peak Outbound Average Maximum Load Trips with Max Loads <60 Pax Average Maximum Load Trips with Max Loads <60 Pax Route EBA 56 53% 52 66% Route EBS 57 54% 41 80% Total 54% 71% Productivity Overall, the productivity of Routes EBA and EBS is excellent (see Table 3). Operating and Subsidy Costs: Route EBA s operating cost per weekday passenger is $1.29, which is among the lowest in the system. Route EBS operating cost per passenger is $1.92, which is slightly higher than average for busway routes, but still excellent in terms of overall system performance Ridership per Unit of Service: Ridership per unit of service is very high, at passengers per vehicle hours for Route EBA and 68.3 for Route EBO. Passengers per total vehicle hour and per vehicle mile are also high for both routes. Page 8

9 Table 3: Route EBA and EBS Weekday Productivity Route EBA Route EBS Busway Average Operating Cost/Passenger $1.29 $1.92 $1.78 Passengers/Revenue Vehicle Hour Passengers/Total Vehicle Hour Passengers/Revenue Mile Total Vehicle Hours/Rev Vehicle Hours Average Speed Bus Stops/Mile Directness Number of Variations Total Vehicle Hours versus Revenue Vehicle Hours: The ratio of total vehicle hours to revenue vehicle hours is below average for busway routes, but higher than would be expected. Both routes operate largely in a controlled environment that provides for very consistent running times. Still, an average of 15 minutes of layover time is scheduled at the outer end of trips, which is high. A reduction in layover times could allow buses to be cycled more quickly to either provide additional service or reduce costs. Average Speed: Average speeds for Routes EBA and EBS, at approximately 19 mph, which is similar to the busway system average of 18.4 mph. Bus Stops/Mile: Routes EBA and EBS have an average of 1.7 stops per mile, which is a rapid transit-type spacing that is typical of the Port Authority s East and West Busway services. Number of Variations: Each route operates with only two variants, which means that service is simple and easy to understand. Service Design Routes EBA and EBS are highly successful premium routes that illustrate the benefits of providing fast, frequent, and direct service. They also illustrate benefits of longer, rather than shorter, stop spacings. Service Improvement Opportunities Routes EBA and EBS perform very well, and offer frequent and fast service from locations along the East Busway to downtown. Still, there are a number of ways that service could be improved. Adjust Service Frequencies to Alternate EBA and EBS trips to Provide More Regular Headways and Better Balance Loads: As discussed above, many Route EBA and EBS trips are overcrowded, with the overcrowding cause by uneven loadings. Much of this is caused by the sequencing of Route EBA and EBS trips that results in the uneven headway pattern of 3, 3, and 6 minutes. With the operation of an equal number of EBA and EBS Page 9

10 trips, service could be scheduled to operate with even 4 minute headways, which could significantly reduce the number of overcrowded trips. Re-Brand Routes EBA and EBS: Routes EBA and EBS provide among the best service in the PAAC system. A re-branding of the two routes to provide them with a higher profile unique identify could help to provide a focal point for East Busway corridor services, and increase awareness of the availability of premium services. Combine Route EBA with Route 33X to Create an East Busway West Busway Through-Route: A combination of routes 33X and EBA could be used to develop a strong east-west spine that could provide a focal point for east-west services, and become one backbone of a rapid transit-type system. The through-routing of the two routes would also reduce some of the bus congestion that occurs in downtown Pittsburgh due to the terminal loop operations. Such a service could also be provided with a unique identity as described above. Operate Both EBA and EBS Around the Same Downtown Loop: As described above, the operation of Routes EBA and EBS around different downtown loops forces outbound riders to choose between one route or the other rather than providing the opportunity to take the first bus on either route. If Route EBA is not combined with Route 33X, then to provide more convenient service to riders, both routes should operate around the same downtown loop. Provide Connections between Route EBA and Light Rail: Route EBA is the Port Authority s major regional route to the east, and light rail provides the major regional service to the south. As a service design principal, there should be direct connections between major regional services that operate in close proximity to each other. This connection could be provided by combining Routes EBA and 33X as described above, or by lengthening the Route EBA loop by two blocks to operate via Wood Street Station. Add Stops on Other Express Routes at the Hay Street Ramp: As described above, the Hay Street Ramp is the most heavily used stop for Route EBS, and many trips are overcrowded. A number of express routes also operate to downtown Pittsburgh via the Hay Street Ramp and the East Busway. Many of those routes (for example, Route 68F Trafford Express and T Trafford Flyer) have excess capacity but do not stop at the Hay Street Ramp. Adding stops at the Hay Street Ramp on underutilized express routes would both increase ridership on those routes and relieve crowding on Route EBS. Reduce Layover Times: Layover times at Swissvale and Wilkinsburg are relatively long. A reduction in layover times could improve service frequencies and/or reduce operating costs. Expand Parking: Limited parking availability at Swissvale, Hamnett, and Wilkinsburg Stations constrains Route EBA and EBS ridership, and thus the expansion of parking would increase ridership. This could be done by decking over the existing lots. Some increases may also be possible in the term: Wilkinsburg Station: There are currently two bus layover locations one at each end of the parking lot. The existing amount of layover space exceeds the amount of space that is needed, and it may be possible to convert one of the two areas to Page 10

11 customer parking. (However, if Wilkinsburg Station is developed as a major outlying hub with feeder service, which is one service option that is under consideration, the currently excess layover space may be needed to support those operations.) Swissvale Station: Undeveloped land on both sides of the busway between Swissvale Station and South Braddock Avenue could potentially be developed for parking. Use Routes EBA and EBS to Implement Street-Relief in Downtown Pittsburgh and at East Busway Stations: Currently, all driver shift changes take place at garages. Bus operators drive their buses back to the garage for breaks and to go off shift. This practice means that the Port Authority is constantly shifting buses in and out of service, which increases fuel consumption and costs, and maintenance costs. These costs could be reduced by changing drivers mid-route, and having drivers travel to the route, rather than driving buses back and forth to the garage. Routes EBA and EBS and the East Busway provide the opportunity to implement street relief for routes that operate out of East Liberty Garage. The East Liberty Garage is located on the East Busway, and nearly all routes operate to, from, or through downtown Pittsburgh and/or via a busway station. Furthermore, the frequent and fast service provided by Routes EBA and EBS provide the means to get drivers to and from street relief points in a cost-effective manner. Finally, note that one of the service configuration options that will be considered as part of this study will be to convert lower volume radial routes into higher frequency, longer span of service feeder routes. If uneven loading problems can be solved, then Routes EBA and EBS do have some capacity to accommodate additional riders. However, depending upon the magnitude of radial to feeder changes, additional Route EBA/EBS service may be needed to accommodate higher numbers of transferring riders. Page 11

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