No one says no to a little more money and a little less time spent in traffic. But you might be doing just that – every day – if you haven’t stepped on a public bus lately. In fact, today’s modern, convenient public transportation options just might surprise you.

It’s (even more) affordable

Frugality is one of the time-honored benefits of public transportation, but an MMVTA ride might be even cheaper than you think, thanks to two transit programs provided by the state. These programs allow persons with disabilities to ride for half-price and those over 65 to ride free. Additionally, MMVTA's transit program offers full-time students a half-price discount on fares. This includes college and high school students.

It goes… everywhere

Don’t knock it 'til you’ve mapped it. If you thought you couldn’t get there via public transportation, it’s probably time to take a closer look.

“We cover most of the Mon Valley area and trips into downtown Pittsburgh,” said Ashley Altemare, director of marketing and planning for Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority. “MMVTA currently has six fixed routes traveling through 21 Mon Valley communities and into downtown Pittsburgh via the Route 88 corridor, allowing riders access to the Greyhound station, Amtrak and Mega Bus, too."

It’s for everyone

The beauty of public transportation is the mobility it offers those who may not otherwise be able to venture out.

“All of our vehicles are handicapped accessible, including a hydraulic lift ramp,” Altemare said. “The vehicles are ‘kneeling’ buses, meaning the stairs at the front door lower to street level for easier access.”

Got a baby and a stroller? Bring them both. Strollers are welcome on board as long as they’re folded when the bus arrives.

You can ride… then ride

You take two wheels anywhere you can, but work or school is just a bit too far for the bike lane? With MMVTA, you don’t have to choose between your trusty bicycle and a smooth, climate-controlled commute. MMVTA has recently installed bike racks on its vehicles so you can bring your ride along – or don’t. Bike racks will be available at local bus shelters and park-and-ride locations soon.

It’s greener than ever

Choosing public transportation is a great step in reducing your carbon footprint. After all, it means fewer cars on the road. But you might not know just how green your choice really is, thanks to new public buses running on cleaner fuel.

“Our fleet has been changing over from diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG fuel) vehicles the last few years providing a cleaner and greener way to travel,” Altemare said. “This is possible because the state department of transportation, under a public-private partnership known as CNG P3, contracted with Trillium Transportation Services to design, build and maintain a CNG station at our Donora Garage Facility.”

It works with your schedule

If you’re too busy to memorize routes and pickup times (and who isn’t?), there’s good news: Finding the best route and the estimated time to your destination is as simple as pulling out your phone.

MMVTA’s Real-Time Bus Tracker, TraXster, can estimate arrival times by PHONE, ONLINE, SCAN AND TEXT. The online site will allow you to see MMVTA buses in route, providing three different arrival times, per stop location. Riders can also access TraXster at all signed bus stops or simply text the MMVTA system.

“We also teamed with Google Transit allowing users to view MMVTA fixed route commuting options on Google Maps,” said Altemare. That means finding the quickest and most convenient route to work, school or your favorite restaurant requires little brainpower.

It adds hours to your day

Remember all that brainpower you saved? Use it on your commute. Return emails, catch up on homework or take a conference call – your ride will keep you connected while en route.

“We have certainly improved in technology the past few years with Wi-Fi on the vehicles,” Altemare said. Get a head start on your day or work late without, well, working late.

Surprised by what you don’t know about public transportation? You might be even more surprised at how much you enjoy the ride. Hop on a MMVTA vehicle soon to see what you’ve been missing.


This article is sponsored by Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority.

A journalism graduate from Brigham Young University, Kristen Price has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.