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Private Bus Service Arrives in Cranberry Area

Lenzner Coach Lines began service to Pittsburgh on Monday.

As usual, a bus was ready to take commuters at the park-n-ride lot at BladeRunners in Marshall Township to Pittsburgh Monday morning, but there was one big difference.

It wasn’t a Port Authority of Allegheny County bus.

Despite that was continued from Friday, the Port Authority on Saturday voted to move forward with plans to cut public transit service by 15 percent and lay off 180 employees.

The cutbacks, which went into effect Sunday, eliminated 29 bus routes, including the in Marshall, which many Cranberry residents used to commute daily to Pittsburgh. The reduction in service and layoffs were made in an effort to stretch $45 million in highway funding approved by former Gov. Ed Rendell.

Also at Saturday’s meeting, the Port Authority board approved an application from Lenzner Coach Lines, which is based in Sewickley, to provide private service from the park-n-ride lot in Marshall and two other stops in Franklin Park to the city.

The move restored some options for Cranberry residents who depended on the 13K Marshall Express for transportation to and from the city.

Despite the uncertainty of the weekend’s meeting, which featured last-ditch contract proposals from Local 85 of the Amalgamated Transit Union and Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, Coach Lines owner Charles Lenzner said his company was prepared to start service to the North Hills on Monday.

“We were ready on Friday,” he said. “It was our job. We initiated it, and we were ready to go.”

While service went smoothly on Monday, Lenzner said he was surprised the BladeRunners lot wasn’t packed with more commuters eager to ride into the city. He said the events surrounding the weekend’s Port Authority meetings might have confused some commuters.

He was confident the service would become more popular as people learn about it.

“I think we just need to give people time to readjust,” he said.

The bus company offered free service this week to commuters who bought monthly bus passes for April. The private service operates Monday through Friday, and commuters must purchase a monthly pass to board the bus. The pass costs $10 per day for a total of $200 per month.

In comparison, the Port Authority charged $6.50 per round-trip for the 13K Marshall Express.

The Coach Lines departs at 5:40, 6:10, 6:40, 7:10 and 7:40 a.m. from BladeRunners. Buses leave Pittsburgh at 3:45, 4:15, 4:45, 5:30 and 6 p.m. from Penn and Fifth avenues; and 3:48, 4:18, 4:48, 5:33 and 6:03 p.m. from Penn and Sixth avenues.

Despite the Port Authority’s approval, Lenzner warned that an injunction sought by the transit union could halt services.  For now, however, “We’ll keep the buses running,” he said.

Angie Mencer March 30, 2011 at 01:05 PM
I'm hoping Lenzner will reconsider the policy that you must buy a monthly pass. I work from home a few days a week so having to pay for the whole month is not cost effective for me.
Lisa Rodenbeck March 31, 2011 at 12:55 PM
Angie, They are looking into other options. I am sure after this first month they will realize they really need too.
mamta March 31, 2011 at 02:51 PM
If Lenzer would allow for daily tickets/rides, it would have a lot more ridership. Since people work from home some time and have vacation etc; it is just not fair for them to pay for the whole month. I believe people are ready to pay the fare Lenzer is asking for, but they are not ready to pay upfront for the month. Additionally, Lenzer needs a website with schedules/updates.
Asha Sharma March 31, 2011 at 03:15 PM
I would love to ride the bus if they did not have the monthly pass restriction. I believe the reason the parking lots were less busy is because of this reason, as other commuters like me, work from home few days and it is not feasible. Also, Lenzner has to realize that people may not go into work either if they are sick, their kids are sick or if they are on vacation. I truly hope Lenzner would realize this, that it is not the actual ticket fare, but the monthly pass restriction which does not attract many commuters
Steve Dancisin April 01, 2011 at 01:29 AM
I signed up for the bus. It is really nice. I am planning on riding in April/May but will most likely take the summer months off due to vacations. They have a schedule on their website now: http://www.coachusa.com/info/lenzner/ss.commuter.asp
svmommy April 11, 2011 at 09:15 PM
Hey all! Just thought you all would like to know that BEGINNING THIS WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, 2011 Lenzner will begin offering DAILY PASSES for the Cranberry/Warrendale route into town! I spoke with them earlier today and they were kind enough to allow me to get the daily pass for my son to use tomorrow!

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