Yes. I've been away for a while. But I am back. Sort of. More on all of that very soon. But for now:
How in the hell do you get to the Amtrak station in Pittsburgh? I am, going to NYC this weekend. Amtrak seemed like the best bet. But I am already frustrated beyond belief.
I could drive and park. Where would I park? I need to be there very early. I have a lot of stuff. So I can't walk 10 miles from a garage. Does Amtrak have one? What is the closest garage lot? Which ones are open at the appropriate times? Which ones will cost less than, say, a billion dollars a day, seeing as my car would be there for a few days?
There is no way to know. Why? Because Amtrak does not maintain a useful website for individual stations. The parking authority lists some garages in the area, but these are listed as "extra" spots with neither price nor availability discussed.
So, why not join the transit crowd, eh? Why not save the Earth from Global Warming and take a bus?
Because there is no way to know which bus to take. Seriously. Yes, I know that the Port Authority maintains a website. And that website is extremely useful in offering suggestions (after about 30 minutes searching) about which bus lines go PAST the Amtrak station. But if you go get a PDF of, say, the 77G, which goes right past my house, you will notice that Liberty and 11th is not listed as a stop.
Let me be clear about my intentions: I don't need to go PAST the Amtrak station. Seeing that I am actually, you know, going to the station, and actually getting on a train, I need to know where the 77 bus... er... stops. I know from direct, awful experience that buses do not, in fact, stop at every stop along their routes. Sometimes, you are on the bus frantically pulling the string, and the bus keeps on going. Which can be kind of funny if you are, say, missing work. But not if you are missing a train that is taking you to something very important, and the train after it does not come for another two days.
People complain all the time about how people don't take rail. Fine. People should take rail. But here's a hint: If you are offering rail, and you are working uphill to make people interested in taking rail instead of flying or driving, you should make it AT LEAST AS EASY to go to the train station as it is to get to the airport. And I can tell you from experience, the airport makes it EXTREMELY EASY to get there. There is a ton of info about shuttles and parking and which bus to take and when it arrives and how much it costs and when it runs.
The down side of the airport in Pittsburgh is that it is a pain to get there. In hopes of avoiding that I opted for the train. But in the amount of time it took me to figure out how to get to the station (an entire morning, and I still don't know) I could have driven to the airport and back three times.
Yeah. I know. Some smart aleck will say, "just call." Way ahead of you there. The person who answered the phone at Amtrak did not know any answers. The people at the Port Authority referred me to the PDF schedules online. Which, as I mentioned, do not list 11th and Liberty as a stop.
So... has anyone ever tried to get out of Pittsburgh on a train?
Let me know.