With winter approaching, it's nice to have as many escape routes as possible to warmer, sunnier climes, and Pittsburghers got another one Tuesday.
Greyhound announced that it will begin service from Downtown to Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Westmoreland County starting Nov. 7. From there, travelers can catch discount flights on Spirit Airlines to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Fla., and Dallas.
"It's a good deal all the way around. We're excited about the possibilities," airport executive director Gabe Monzo said.
The airport authority began working to establish the service because some arriving passengers needed to get to Downtown, he said. "Greyhound's schedule fit almost perfectly. It's a great opportunity to get people Downtown, and it gives people a chance to utilize our terminal building."
Spirit Airlines began service from Arnold Palmer Airport to Florida in 2011, and passenger traffic has boomed since then. Mr. Monzo he expects the number of departing and arriving passengers to be nearly 260,000 this year. "Those are numbers that we've never seen for as long as I've been here, and I've been here 30 years," he said.
Buses will depart from the Greyhound station in Downtown at 6:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. daily, arriving at the airport in Unity about 1 hour and 20 minutes later. Airport bus departures will be at 4:30 p.m. and 7:25 p.m. with similar travel times back to Pittsburgh.
As of Tuesday, advance one-way fares as low as $9 were available for November bus travel, and one-way airfare on Spirit to Fort Lauderdale was as low as $79.
Arnold Palmer Airport touts other advantages, including free parking close to the terminal, shorter screening lines and quicker baggage claim.
Mr. Monzo said the airport attracts a different clientele from that of Pittsburgh International Airport, with more leisure than business travelers, although the start of service to Dallas in June has begun to attract traffic from the gas drilling industry.
The Greyhound trips from Downtown to Arnold Palmer Airport will go on to points east, including New York City. From Pittsburgh, travelers can connect to the bus company's nationwide network.
Westmoreland Transit offers service from Arnold Palmer Airport to downtown Greensburg, and Mr. Monzo said he is working to have St. Vincent College's campus transit system serve the airport.
"Having Greyhound to the city of Pittsburgh is fantastic," he said. "That opens up quite a few opportunities."neigh_city - breaking - Transportation - neigh_east - neigh_westmoreland
Jon Schmitz: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1868 and on Twitter @pgtraffic. First Published October 9, 2013 3:44 AM