PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With free “T” service in downtown Pittsburgh and coming soon to the North Shore, the next logical extension of the city’s free fare zone is Station Square.
“T” rider Jordan Butler thinks so.
“A lot of people already come down here to shop and eat, and I think it would be really nice if it was free for them, too,” she says.
It now costs $2.25 to hop the “T” from downtown to Station Square and many shop owners there worry downtown hotel patrons and residents will now go to the North Shore for free.
Carol Wilson owns Accentricity, a souvenir shop in Station Square, and she says most would welcome a free Station Square “T” stop.
“We need that income down here also,” she says. “I think it would be a wonderful. We need more people to visit our shops and our restaurants.”
The Port Authority agrees.
Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie told KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano that Station Square should be part of the free fare zone.
“The idea is to expand the borders of downtown Pittsburgh and that’s both to the north and the south,” he says.
So why hasn’t it happened?
The Port Authority asked Forest City, the principal owner of Station Square, for $160,000 a year in order to make this Station Square stop free to the public.
Forest City tells KDKA the price was just too high, and making this a free stop would affect one of their major tenants.
That tenant, the Gateway Clipper, objects to a free “T” stop because it makes money transporting fans across the river to baseball and football games – revenue that Forest City also gets a piece of.
But the idea isn’t dead. The Port Authority is open to other proposals.
“Anything that makes sense is really something that is on the table,” Richie says.