After reading the tips (from 2004) about bad places, is it NOT a good idea to catch a bus to and from downtown Pittsburgh, just to buy some goodies from Trader Joe's? I really like their granola, and hoped to bring some home when I go there for business in June.
Take the bus in the morning, afternoon, or early evening on a weekday. This is when most people are commuting to and from school or work, and it's relatively safe. Always avoid riding the buses after 10pm if possible, that is when the atmosphere on the bus and at the bus stop can get a little strange if not dangerous.
One exception, if you are traveling to downtown on the 28x from the airport, as you said you are traveling on business, that's relatively safe at anytime.
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