No stop on the Hilltop
The Port Authority began detouring all inbound light rail traffic and bus traffic from the South Hills Junction along Warrington and Arlington avenues on October 3 and will continue through October 22 while track is being replaced near Station Square. Outbound light rail vehicles will continue to use the transit tunnel while buses will be sent through the Wabash Tunnel along with regular traffic.
Commuters living in Allentown and Beltzhoover might have had their hopes up of being able, although only temporarily, to jump on a trolley along Warrington Avenue and being downtown in a matter of minutes. They would have those hopes dashed when one trolley after another came and went without opening their doors to accept Hilltop riders.
According to the Port Authority, one of the reasons the trolleys will not be stopping to pick up passengers on the detoured routes is because they are already delayed and don’t want to fall further behind. If this planned light rail detour is anything like others in the past, stopping to pick up Allentown passengers wouldn’t have been much of a problem during rush hour, trolleys will be stopped at every light backing up traffic on Warrington Avenue.
A second reason given by the Port Authority was they were looking out for Hilltop commuters. If they did allow Hilltoppers to ride the trolley to town instead of the 40-minute ride on the 48 Arlington-South Side Works, they wouldn’t be able to take the trolley home and would have to take their regular bus home anyway. Why tease them with only saving two-and-a-half hours a week on their commute, it’s better to leave them standing at the stop on their way to town.
The final reason according to the Port Authority representative, and more probably to the core of the matter, is that riders on the Red and Blue lines don’t want the trolleys to stop when traveling over the Hilltop.
Half the people according to the Port Authority, the half on the trolley, don’t want to stop and half the people, the ones waiting to go to town, want the trolley to stop, he said. So don’t expect to see open doors on any trolley traveling along Warrington Avenue in the next three weeks.
It’s unfortunate the Port Authority has decided against allowing Hilltoppers to ride their trolleys while they are passing through their neighborhoods. But it’s only temporary, at least until the next time.