- The schedules are never there! It's hard for a lot of people to acquire a schedule for a route. If you work downtown, you can get them at T stations or at the Port Authority Service Center on Smithfield. However, if you can't get to these places you might be out of luck. The racks on the buses are often empty. When they are filled, they often carry schedules for the rush hour routes probably used by the bus when it left the garage. Some buses I've been on just seem to be filled with random schedules running nowhere near Oakland. These seems like it could be solved easily be restocking the racks more often.
- Some are really old. There's a lot of the old buses still out there. And not just the paint scheme is bad. The seats are broken, the bus is darker, and there's usually no digital destination sign that tells you what the next stop is. Those signs really help those riding transit feel less intimidated riding a new route, and hopefully more will be installed soon.
- There's no system map. The system map on Port Authority's website is woefully out of date and very confusing. Recent cuts are not on the map, which appears to be at least 5 years old (note the mention of the "Kaufmann's Clock", the lack of PNC Park and Heinz Field, and the old Ride Gold logo.) Printed system maps seem to be nonexistent. The closest I have seen are the "Way To Go Pittsburgh" maps which are a decent review of major routes that connect Downtown with Oakland and other parts of the city. Wait, see how none of that preceding sentence was a hyperlink? That's right. I can't find "Way To Go" maps anywhere on the website. Same goes for the "Ride Guide," a vague but somewhat useful pamphlet of which routes go where. Look for both of those at your nearest schedule rack I guess.
- The telephone service number is understaffed and closes early. People would be less fearful to take transit if they knew they could call someone and ask if their bus is coming. Unfortunately, customer service closes at 7:00pm on weekdays and 4:30pm(!) on weekends. The weekend time is ridiculous, since it is too early for both workers and leisure riders. Also, the phone lines are jammed on weekdays, leading to long wait times. Usually the late bus shows up by the time you get them on the phone. Problem solved I guess.
- First, a preface. Some unsavory people ride transit. I don't know if transit attracts them or if transit is your only chance to see all walks of life. Unfortunately, I don't have many horror stories because I'm a guy, and the terrible stories almost always involve harassment of females. Instead of focusing on those creeps, I'll instead talk about rider etiquette that could be helped by driver (and even rider) enforcement. But please know, if someone is making you feel uncomfortable, tell the driver or call Port Authority Police at 412-255-1385. Drivers don't take crap, and riders do get kicked off and arrested.
- Ok, here it comes. MOVE TO THE DAMN BACK OF THE BUS! I cannot stress this enough. Riders get passed up because you don't want to move to the back. Everyone is getting off at Forbes and Murray anyway. You'll get off too. Your friend sitting in the front will still be there when you get off. Move it. A little further back please. No, don't stop at the stairs at the back of the low-floor buses. Walk up them. There you go.
- People who save seats or sit on the outside. Welcome to public transit. You're going to have to sit next to someone.
- People who crowd the front of the bus when it's not even full. This is just weird and they deserve every rider getting on elbowing them as they try to make their way to the empty back seats.
- People who don't pull the cord but expect the driver to stop by yelling "Hey I'm getting off here" as it rolls away. Come on. It's there for a reason. Believe it or not I've seen this.
- People who don't move from the front seats for the elderly. I've seen two elderly people who were standing fall down. Don't let that happen. It just isn't cool to watch an 80-year-old man hang on for dear life while the college student sits comfortably in the front seats.
- Did I mention people need to move to the back of the bus?
That's all I have for now, and know that with all of this, I still enjoy public transit. There's a real link to the people and the city when you ride a bus. You really do feel like everyone is in this together. We may be from different places and come from different backgrounds but we're all on the same route.