PSTA hires Baseball Team of Summer Interns, 9 in All

internsSt. Petersburg, Fla. – The average age of employees at the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) has gone down dramatically after the hire of nine summer interns.

Four high school students and five college students will spend the better part of their summer in various departments of PSTA ranging from transportation to information technology (IT).

Jordan Leitheiser, a senior at the University of South Florida, said she was ecstatic when she found out about PSTA’s social media internship through CareerSource Hillsborough.

“There’s so much to learn from an agency the size of PSTA,” said Leitheiser. “I knew it would be a unique opportunity to see how a big government agency uses social media to connect with the community it serves.”

This is not the first year PSTA has had interns. But providing a valuable development experience for nine at one time is something new.

“It’s a win-win-win for the students, the agency, and the community,” said PSTA Director of Human Resources Larry Longenecker.  “What makes an internship at PSTA different from any other is the exposure to the public. Our interns come to board meetings, work in customer service, and they get to see what a day in the life of a public servant really looks like.”

Each of the nine interns were placed in departments specific to their goals, interests, and school requirements.

Sean Volmuth, a student from the Pinellas County Schools Executive Internship Program, has always had a passion for IT. Now he is learning how technology is used by a transit agency and how IT supports agency technology such as GPS vehicle location systems, video surveillance systems, Wi-Fi on buses, call center phone systems, server environment, and networking equipment.

“My career in transportation started with an internship more than 20 years ago, and I will always be thankful to the managers who introduced me to this great field where you can help so many people with their transportation needs,” said PSTA Chief Executive Officer Brad Miller.  “It feels great to now pay it forward and work with these young people.”

This is the fourth year PSTA has offered internships through a partnership with The Boley Center and the City of St. Petersburg. PSTA has previously partnered with the Pinellas County School District, and this is the first time PSTA has shared resources with interns from CareerSource Hillsborough.

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PSTA is Your Ride to Pride

St. Petersburg, Fla. – The largest LGBT Pride parade in Florida kicks off Saturday night in Downtown St. Petersburg, and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is going to get you there.

PSTA buses will be running frequently along 1st Avenues North and South – parallel to the events – making it easy to leave your car at home or in an outlying parking spot while PSTA chauffeurs you to and from the celebrations.

“Making history” is the theme for the 13th annual St. Pete Pride festival, and PSTA will be making a little history of its own. As part of the celebrations, PSTA staff will ride a full-sized bus covered in lights down Central Avenue as part of the only LGBT nighttime parade.

PSTA has several routes that will be serving the expected 200,000 people in the Grand Central District Saturday night, such as the Central Avenue Trolley, Routes 7, 18, 20 and 52. Several routes will also be detoured to accommodate for the parade and the Pride Street Festival on Sunday.

Those interested in riding the bus can call our InfoLine at (727) 540-1900 and speak with a customer service representative, and/or find more information on detoured routes on the PSTA Rider Alert webpage.

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PSTA Dunks the Pump for Transit Awareness

St. Petersburg, Fla. – A life-sized gas pump plunging into 350-gallons of water might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of public transportation – but it will be now!

Tampa Bay Rays DJ Kitty throws out the first pitch.

Tampa Bay Rays DJ Kitty throws out the first pitch.

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) hosted the first ever Dunk the Pump event at Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill in St. Petersburg Tuesday afternoon in an effort to raise awareness for public transportation.

“For some reason people get really excited about the idea of dunking people in water, so we thought this would be a great way to get people excited about public transportation,” said PSTA Spokesperson Ashlie Handy. “Just look how popular the ice bucket challenge got to be. That is the type of energy we want to see about public transit.”

Tampa Bay Rays DJ Kitty 'Dunks the Pump'

Tampa Bay Rays DJ Kitty ‘Dunks the Pump’

Tampa Bay Rays mascot DJ Kitty threw out the first pitch and sent PSTA intern Jordan Leitheiser plunging into the ice-water filled tank. St. Petersburg Council Member Wengay Newton also took a turn to show his support for public transit and PSTA by dunking the pump.

“A great city needs to have great public transportation, and St. Petersburg is a great city,” said Council Member Newton. “PSTA provides more than just rides for the people of St. Petersburg, it provides stability.”

PSTA staffers handed out system maps and told onlookers about route and fare information as they watched the gas pump plummet.   Those who were successful in dumping the pump received a free one-day bus pass, and were encouraged to use it Thursday, June 18th for the national holiday.

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You Can’t Get a Gallon of Gas for $2 Anymore, but You Can Still Ride the Bus

map

Gone are the days of gas under $2 – for now at least.

According to GasBuddy.com, the average price for a gallon of gas in Pinellas County is between $2.44 and $2.61. That means if you have a standard, mid-size sedan, with a gas tank that can hold 16 to 19 gallons, it’s costing you around $45 to fill your tank. Compare that to the two bucks it would cost you to hop on one of PSTA’s buses, and the choice should be a no-brainer.

Unlike gas, there is never a shortage of places to go and people to see, and with some of the best attractions in Tampa Bay right here in Pinellas County, that means you are only a bus ride away.

For those on the fence about public transit, summer is a great time to give it a try. Between the Central Avenue Trolley and the Suncoast Beach Trolley, beach-hopping has never been easier. You can hop on and off from Clearwater Beach all the way down to St. Pete Beach, with a $4.50 unlimited day pass – enjoy fun in the sun without the danger of driving impaired.

Use the Real Time bus app to make trip planning easy and predictable, and if you’re under 18-years-old you qualify for a Youth Summer Haul Pass which will give you unlimited access all summer for just $35 – enough said.

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PSTA’s Youth Summer Haul Pass Launches May 1

Haul Pass
St. Petersburg, Fla. – Let the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) haul your kids around this summer with the Youth Summer “Haul Pass.”

The 15-week summer pass offers unlimited rides for youth 18-years-old and younger from Friday, May 15 through Monday, August, 31 2015, on all local PSTA and Jolley Trolley routes (excludes Routes 100X and 300X).

Wanda Ramirez, parent of a 5th grader at Seventy-fourth Street Elementary School, learned about the Haul Pass at an ESOL parent workshop about transitioning to Middle School, and called it “a gift.”

“You can go to the mall, the beach, anywhere you like,” Ramirez translated to her daughter in Spanish. “It’s one less worry.”

Passes are available for purchase beginning May 1 at PSTA terminals and on the PSTA website for just $35. All you need to board the bus with a Haul Pass is a PSTA Youth ID card, middle or high school ID, or government-issued photo ID showing age (must be 18 and younger to qualify).

“Public transportation is life for the parents and children of Pinellas,” said Branka Prodanovic-Hodzic, ESOL Family Outreach Coordinator for Pinellas County Schools. “I can tell that these families are really being helped by these types of programs.”

PSTA encourages parents to remind their children of safe-riding practices, such as always riding with a buddy and wearing bright colors at night. To stay updated on departure and arrival times, check out PSTA’s real-time bus tracking at www.ridepsta.net

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PSTA Earth Day Challenge Photo Contest

Earth-Day-Challenge

Who: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
What:
Invites the public to an Earth Day Challenge
When:
Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22nd
Where:
Via social media platforms: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
Why:
To encourage the community to ride public transportation on Earth Day and reduce their carbon foot print.

Ride a bus, take a pic, and enter to win a prize!

On April 22nd, people from across the globe will be joining together to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, and what better way to honor our planet than with a Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority Earth Day Challenge.

Here it is: This year celebrate our beautiful planet by packing up and heading outdoors on public transportation. Share your Earth Day adventure with us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, and be sure to include the hashtags #EarthDayChallenge and #RidePSTA.

We will be choosing the three most creative pictures that capture riders using public transportation and the beautiful outdoors. The prize for 1st place will be a three-day, two-night stay at the Courtyard Marriot in Madeira Beach, 2nd place will be two passes to the Sugar Sand Festival in Clearwater Beach and 3rd prize will be a 31-day PSTA bus pass.

By leaving your car behind and boarding a bus you are not only decreasing your carbon footprint, but you are also showing your community that the earth matters to you.

So jump on the trolley, bus or any of PSTA’s 48 Diesel-Electric Hybrid fleet and take part of the Earth Day Challenge.

Ready, set, go!

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PSTA Driver Trades Clown Car for 40-foot Bus in State Competition

Roadeo

On a typical weekend, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority Bus Operator Maurice “Danny” Cheatham can be found wearing his uniform and name tag.

However, this particular uniform consists of face paint, funny shoes and a big, red nose. His name tag will read: Moochie the Clown.

Cheatham is a longtime member and leader of the Shriner Clown Troupe in Tampa, Florida. Driving motorized mini-cars and sporting colorful wigs, the troupe entertains young patients in the burn unit at Shriners Hospital for Children.

This weekend, Cheatham won’t be clowning around. Instead, he will be representing PSTA in the 2015 Annual Florida Triple Crown Bus Roadeo in St. Petersburg, Florida. The competition is a grueling test of skill, safety and proficiency for bus operators and mechanics.

Drivers will give it their all as they navigate and maneuver through a mine-field of cones and tennis balls, and only the best will make it through the barrel gauntlet without fault.

Zero to 20 is the easy part. The final leg of the competition requires a near perfect performance of stopping an accelerating bus at a moment’s notice and avoiding plowing down one last cone.

Drivers representing various transit agencies across Florida are competing for state title, and the chance to compete this May in the International Bus Roadeo in Fort Worth, Texas.

“This would be my first hometown big win,” Cheatham said, describing his 2014 qualifying win in Daytona Beach, Florida. “It would mean a lot for my troupe and the kids.”

Cheatham is not the only reoccurring competitor at this year’s competition. Ramon Farfan, Jacksonville Transportation Agency, has been their local undefeated-champion since 2007 and will be seeking his third state title.

Stay posted for all the latest on this year’s battle of the buses.

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