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Navigating Pittsburgh’s public transport system

International students at Duquesne University can easily find their way around Pittsburgh by using the public transportation system run by the Port Authority of Allegheny County – by bus, train and tram. All they have to do is secure a ConnectCard that they can use and top up if they are commuting regularly.

Port Authority services include bus, light rail and incline rides. Few cities in the United States feature inclines, such as Pittsburgh’s Monongahela or Duquesne Incline. But their claim to fame is their historic legacy and their majestic beauty, overlooking one of the world’s great cityscapes. Allegheny County’s Port Authority website is replete with information on schedules, rider info, fares and other services. For rides schedules, there’s the schedule finder where students can enter their travel date and select their intended route and indicate their direction whether inbound or outbound. The same also applies to bus, rail and incline schedules where students can simply select their route, direction and travel date.

The section on rider info provides instructions on how to ride the bus, the light rail system and the inclines as well as details on how to transfer, for instance, from bus to rail or inclines and vice versa, depending on one’s chosen route. The step-by-step instructions are so easy to follow and includes a reminder to plan one’s trip before taking the ride.

Information on fares can be found here. Other services include ACCESS Transit and Commuter Services. The Port Authority’s ACCESS Paratransit is a shared-ride door-to-door service which can be availed by advanced booking. It is open to the general public but more importantly to people with disability or senior citizens. Commuter services on the other hand, give the riding public options to alleviate traffic congestion, reduce pollution as well as the cost of commute.

Getting to and from Duquesne University campus

For those who live in Penn Commons, for instance, which is located in downtown Pittsburgh, walking to the campus only takes 15 minutes. However, on rainy or cold days, they may opt to take public transport which takes about nine minutes from one bus top to the next including the short walks. Students can walk to 5th Avenue station at Wood Street (about two minutes) and take Bus 61D (for the 10:38 AM trip) towards Outbound Murray-Waterfront via Oakland-Squirrel Hill and get off at Forbes Avenue station at Pride Street (Mercy Hospital), then walk the few metres to the university. Different time slots mean different buses, i.e., 61A to 61D and 71A to 71D, and routes for the same destination so it always pays to check the schedules.

Aside from the Port Authority’s services, international students can opt to avail of the free loop bus or purchase a South Side Shuttle permit that will take those who reside in the South Side to and from the university campus.

The Duquesne Loop Bus, which runs on weekends (Fridays and Saturdays), from 5:00PM to 2:00AM the next day is free for all Duquesnians with student IDs. It’s a transport service provided by DU’s Student Government Association so that students can do their grocery shopping, dining and exploring of Southside, Oakland and Waterfront areas.

The South Side Shuttle runs Monday to Friday from 7:00AM to 10:00PM and services students, faculty and staff who reside on the South Side. Students can purchase the permit for $75 per semester.

Popular student neighbourhoods include Downtown and Uptown (where Duquesne University is located), Southside, Oakland, Squirrel Hill and Shadyside, Bloomfield, East Liberty, Lawrenceville and Greenfield and Mount Washington. International students can easily explore these areas using the public transit system, get to know their new environment well, learn the culture and sample the various cuisines and enjoy their student journey.

And with all these options, international students can easily get around Pittsburgh like a local in no time.