It's not a major move, just 375ft. The passengers do have to walk through a parking lot that gets slushy and dangerous in winter. Not to mention the elderly who ride the buses to the mall. The move was done supposedly due to concrete problems and discipline issues.
Now, a year later the mall is demanding Port Authority either pay to maintain the road or cut service to the mall. Well, money isn't growing on trees at PAT, so they are eliminating weekday mall service on the 59A and 35A routes and trimming weekday mall service on 46G, 51C, and 55M routes. Port Authority's official release here, and another Post-Gazette story citing the monetary reasons here.
Interestingly, the two different stories from the P-G have different reasons. The first story says:
At one time, the authority hailed mall management for being so accommodating to public transit. Over the years, the mall has complained that while the buses bring workers and patrons to its stores, they also bring a number of people who basically loaf and spend little money.while the second one does not mention this. I loafed at Century III Mall all through middle school but I was dropped off by my parents, so I guess that's OK for mall management. Where's the scientific survey of where bus riders go? I'm sure stereotyping had nothing to do with it. PGH is a City elaborates on this point also in a post from earlier this month, as does the blog Pieces of a Whole.
The idea that Century III Mall would want less transit service and less customers during an economic downturn is shocking to me. The fact that the mall is getting emptier doesn't help their situation either.
New schedules for the November 23, 2008 service changes, along with other slight modifications to other routes can be found on Port Authority's website.
P.S. Notice something on the back of every schedule? Yep, a coupon/ad for two downtown eateries. You read it here first.
Revised 11/20: Port Authority now has a summary of Sunday's changes posted. Also of interest is a new article about Century III Mall in the P-G that includes discussion of why buses were cut. The mall is saying they did not want large cuts, while the Port Authority says they cannot pay for road repairs since every shopping center would have a case to ask for money.