By Amy Wadas


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Port Authority is debuting new practices to promote social distancing and reduce the spread of germs during the coronavirus outbreak.

Starting on Wednesday, customers will board and exit through the rear doors of buses as front doors will be used for passengers who need special assistance.

“They’re blocking off the front of the bus with tape,” said commuter Kristy Morin.

”I think it’s good because the bus drivers, they need to be protected as well,” said commuter Marie Farook. “They have families. They’re out here servicing the community.”

Riders will also show their ConnectCard or other fare product to the operator as they board. If riders pay with cash, they won’t be allowed to use it. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll get turned away: it means you get to ride for free.

The Port Authority says light rail riders will still pay at onboard and offboard fareboxes.

“We are committed to the health and wellbeing of everyone in our community, and it is our belief that this small measure will go a long way,” said Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman in a release. “While we continue to discourage anyone from going out who doesn’t have to, those who still need to are encouraged to use proper hygiene and maintain your distance from each other.”

Marie Farook said she had to travel downtown for work, and wasn’t too happy with her trip.

“You didn’t feel the social distancing. People were talking. No one was protected,” said Farook. “It was like one in every seat. And more in the back sitting together.

However, not all riders had that problem.

“Usually it’s really crowded but there was barely anybody on the bus,” said Morin.

This comes after the Port Authority said it will be reducing its bus and T service by about 25 percent, starting Wednesday.

As for the weekend, services will follow regular weekend schedules.