Connect Card Rewards

ConnectCard

The Port Authority of Pittsburgh has made leaps and bounds by activating the Connect Card program to make bus fare more efficient and data collection to adjust routes.

PGHretail was able to sit down with Port Authority directors to discuss retail marketing initiatives, primarily, the rebranding of their Riders Rewards.

The Port Authority is moving as quickly as they can to meet demands of public transit riders and partner with local businesses to add value to users of the Connect Card.

You can see a list of current participants of Connect Rewards here.

What deals would you like to see on there? Any local businesses you frequent often on your bus routes you’d enjoy additional rewards at? Go ahead and let us know right here in the comments or by email at pghretail [@] gmail dot com.

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The Case for Water Taxis

After our sit down with the Port Authority back in October 2013, PGHretail began investigating water taxi’s more heavily.  We made a call in to Wandella Boats, Chicago’s premier commuter water taxi service.  The Director of Operations was very excited to talk to us and share information about the water taxi business.

Their business has been picking up to expand their boat fleet. Largest users were suburban residents coming to downtown through park-n-rides. They run their commuter business from March until November with competitive rates against bus fares.  Just by glancing at our river system, it was expressed that Pittsburgh has the ability to be successful in the water taxi business with optimal travel time to destinations within the three rivers.

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How exciting! So, PGHretail began researching past water taxi initiatives and the current status.  It was mentioned by the County’s Economic Director, Bob Hurley, that in the past there was a water taxi service that didn’t quite catch on.  Read more about the previous project in the BizJournal article from Sept 2003BizJournal article from May 2005, Post Gazette article from June 2008, and Post Gazette article from May 2009

We found that despite the lack of success then, Federal Funding had been given yet again to the Port of Pittsburgh in 2011 to develop a water taxi dock system and earmarked funding for commuter taxi boats.  Read more in the Post Gazette article from August 2011 and  Trib-Live article from October 2012.

PGHretail contacted Mark Schiller, owner of Pittsburgh Water Limo, who is the only ferry boat company who has publicly announced interest in pursuing the water taxi service.  He was adamant that water taxi service would thrive in Pittsburgh under a free-enterprise business. Ongoing discussions with the Port of Pittsburgh, URA, and other key players have been going on over the past three years.

Mr. Schiller directed PGHretail to contact another interested individual to partner in the investigation and lobbying of the water taxi project to the Allegheny County and City of Pittsburgh. This highly active and insightful guy is Dave Mansueto.  We can’t even begin to tell you all the awesome start-up projects Mr. Mansueto is in. His current project is a mobile Podcast app called bossjockstudio.com/.  You can follow him on Twitter @tacomancini.

 

 

Raising Awareness in Local Offices

Back in October 2013, PGHretail sat down with County Executive, Rich Fitzgerald, and proposed a wide array of alternative transportation ideas.  We’ve been able to sit down with key players from the county, city, and Port Authority of Pittsburgh.

In addition to public transportation projects, which directly impact our local retail economy, we addressed the lack of information and support for the Creative Class and Creative Economy.  Entrepreneurs, innovators, grassroots organizations, artisans, and skilled craftsman have a huge impact on development in micro-economies within communities. The City of Philadelphia is a great example of how local government can gather information for that demographic, businesses that serve those folks, and non-profit organizations looking to cater funding initiatives.  Check out their site: http://creativephl.org/ and particularly, the CultureBlock site that maps resources: http://www.cultureblocks.com/wordpress/

Now, Pittsburgh organizations are trying.  Our professional critique is that passively crowd-sourcing, with little marketing efforts, to gather data is a very slow process to obtain information from very busy, focused individuals working hard to build their businesses and projects.  We hope that the URA is able to provide funding for a position that actively obtains and updates their latest project: http://launchpgh.com/

If you or someone you know, needs the resources from LAUNCHpgh, suggest their involvement to help establish the important information our growing economic developments need.

Introducing PGHshare!

Introducing PGHretail’s sister site, PGHshare!

PGHshare is dedicated to sharing ideas about sustainable transportation for Pittsburgh. Now in Phase 2 with Ideas & Movement, we’re ready to open our site for your feedback and support.

We’ve put together a package of ideas from other cities and updates on how some are already in development. Our transportation climate has been rough to weather more recently than ever.

Though things are looking brighter with various initiatives underway, like GoBurgh, the BRT from gettherepgh.org/, there is still much to be done about making Pittsburgh a more livable city with adequate public transportation options.

Check out PGHshare’s website and find us on Facebook for updates specifically about transportation projects happening in the city!

GoBurgh: A Transit YES! Movement

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I had the opportunity to attend the Pittsburgh Community Redevelopment Group’s presentation of a study done in collaboration with reconnectamerica.org/ that provides metrics and insight on our area and the way it relates to public transportation growth. Super informative and almost colossal in the agenda of how Pittsburgh will develop in to a super-efficient public transportation friendly city. Totally doable though!

The biggest thing, aside from financing, is awareness, education, and re-branding the way Pittsburgh sees public transportation here so that it becomes an effective means of getting around. GoBurgh.org/ is PCRG’s blog site that is developing the tools to promote this awareness and providing information for transit-oriented development (TOD). Check it out and get a pin!

The Link: Public Transportation and Business Corridors Pt. 1

Check out this article!

Pittsburgh is a great city and has many wonderful assets like, parks, bridges, sports arenas, colleges, shopping, cute neighborhoods, low cost of living, you get the picture. Now, Pittsburgh’s want to use its’ existing assets, like the Port Authority, could be a little big greater which make them that much more wonderful.

One of the biggest issues besides the political nature of a government run public transportation [PT] system, is its’ ridership. The Port Authority and the catch 22 situation of expanding bus routes or investing in other modes of transportation come down to this: if there is no destination, there is no need for a route. On the flip-side, business corridors may think: there is no route, what will happen to my destination?

Having lived and worked and visited other transportation systems in US and foreign cities, Pittsburgh could use some upgrades and improvements. Yet the only way an investment will work is if the people use it. I’ve been a big advocate of light rail, yet in this highlighted article above, an expert states this may not be a viable type of transport for this city. He also highlights how the lack of riders on a bus will actually increase the carbon foot print in comparison to the energy used for a single rider in a car.

Look in Pt. 2 for additional considerations and information regarding our need to utilize the existing assets our city has that will benefit you, your community, and the world as a whole.