PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It is a busy weekend in Pittsburgh, which means increased traffic.
Officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of last weekend when trolley riders were stranded or forced to board packed trains.
The head of the Port Authority and the Allegheny County Executive held a news conference at the Gateway Station Friday morning about the issue.
During the new conference, there was an apology for the bad service during last weekend’s Pittsburgh Pirates’ game and the Pittsburgh Marathon. There was also a pledge to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“It’s important that we make sure that when people do come to these special events that they know what to expect,” Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald said. “That they know when the trains are gonna run, when the service is going to run and that they can get back and forth.”
With tens of thousands in Downtown Pittsburgh and on the North Shore last weekend, the new North Shore Connector was overwhelmed.
Port Authority CEO Steve Bland blamed it on a manpower shortage. He says subway operators work overtime on a volunteer basis, and they couldn’t get enough to volunteer.
But Bland admits they don’t have enough T drivers, but more are being hired.
“I want to extend a public apology, and a personal public apology, to every rider who experienced a problem last weekend,” said Bland. “Without a doubt, everyone at Port Authority – from our rail operators to our Board of Directors and myself – think that that was inexcusable and cannot be allowed to happen again. “
More trains will be running more often this weekend for the Beach Boys’ concert Friday night and the Pirates’ weekend series over at PNC Park against the Houston Astros.
Even though the Port Authority is facing a $65 million deficit, they say there is money in the budget to hire more operators and they are already being trained.
Part of the problem, they say is that no one anticipated the popularity of the North Shore Connector.
A few months ago, people were calling it a “tunnel to nowhere,” but it really has connected the North Shore with downtown and many people are using it.