Megabus stop moves to Gateway Center

Bus company, city pleased with shift

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The new Megabus stop Downtown will be closer to transportation connections and restaurants. But it won't have a roof over it.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced Wednesday that the stop will move from its current spot on 10th Street under the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to Gateway Center next month.

The new stop will be on Penn Avenue Extension, between Stanwix Street and Liberty Avenue, in front of Two Gateway Center. It is immediately adjacent to the new Gateway Station on the Port Authority's Light Rail Transit system. It will begin service July 2, said Joanna Doven, the mayor's spokeswoman.

Since its Pittsburgh debut in May 2010, Megabus, known for bargain fares as low as $1, has grown quickly. It started with service to State College and New York and within a year, had been designated as the system's sixth North American hub. It currently offers departures from Pittsburgh to 11 cities.

Citing problems with litter and the bus patrons' use of the convention center's rest rooms, the building's owner, the Sports & Exhibition Authority, ordered Megabus to move the stop. The deadline was Friday, but the carrier is getting more time so it can notify passengers, Ms. Doven said.

Riders like the convention center spot because it is covered and well-lit. Pittsburgh was one of few cities with a covered stop for Megabus, which keeps costs low by picking up at curbside rather than using terminals, Ms. Doven said.

With the new stop closer to the T and several bus routes, and an array of restaurants including McDonald's and the many dining options in Market Square, "we actually believe it's more convenient," she said.

Charles Lenzner, who oversees local Megabus operations, said he was pleased with the new site. "They did a great job with helping us out," he said of the mayor's office.

Ms. Doven said visits to the new site during Megabus' peak boarding times determined that it can accommodate the buses and other traffic. Mr. Lenzner said the busiest time for the stop is around 6:30 a.m.

"The mayor wanted to be sure that Megabus will stay in Pittsburgh and grow in Pittsburgh," Ms. Doven said. "The bottom line is that the convention center was not built to be a bus station. The mayor understands the concerns of riders who liked the stop. We believe [the new stop] is going to be better."

Other locations that were considered were at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland and on Second Avenue near the Allegheny County Jail, she said.

neigh_city - Transportation

Jon Schmitz: or 412-263-1868. Visit the PG's transportation blog, The Roundabout, at Twitter: @pgtraffic. First Published June 14, 2012 4:00 AM


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