PSTA Leaders and Local Officials Celebrate New Hybrid Buses and On-Board Wi-Fi Pilot Program!

DSC_0636PSTA’s popular SmartBuses are getting even smarter. That’s just one of several transit improvements celebrated by elected officials, PSTA Board members and agency staff yesterday morning. Flanked by a beautiful new 40 foot SmartBus, they gathered outside of the PSTA Administrative Headquarters for a “virtual ribbon cutting” to mark the roll out of eight brand-new diesel-electric hybrid SmartBuses, some of which are being used in a new Wi-Fi test program. “We’re not only celebrating the addition of new buses to our growing fleet of hybrids, but we’re also celebrating a new test program for providing free Wi-Fi service for our passengers,” said PSTA CEO Brad Miller. “We have outfitted 10 vehicles with Wi-Fi systems and so far the project is going very well.”

The pilot Wi-Fi vehicles are running along six different routes and officials say that if the initial successes continue, they could have the entire fleet outfitted with free Wi-Fi access within the next six months. Miller says the Wi-Fi service is just one of many improvements planned for the transit system to help give the community a better, more productive and more enjoyable riding experience. To demonstrate the Wi-Fi system, officials downloaded a video of a ribbon being cut and played it on a big-screen TV in lieu of cutting an actual ribbon. Click here to see the video: Virtual Ribbon Cutting Video

With the addition of the eight new hybrids, PSTA now has 40 of the fuel efficient buses out of a fleet total of 188 full sized vehicles. Additionally, eight more hybrids are on order and scheduled for delivery in late 2014. The diesel-electric vehicles average a 56% increase in fuel economy over standard diesel models and the new buses will be replacing older non-hybrid vehicles that have reached the end of their 12-year life span.

If you’d like to take advantage of Pinellas County’s increasingly popular transit system and ride one of the new hybrid buses, just visit the agency’s award-winning website at: www.PSTA.net. Patrons are also encouraged to use PSTA’s new Real Time Bus Information system to find out exactly when the next bus will arrive at their stop. Simply visit to www.RidePSTA.net or call the PSTA InfoLine at (727) 540-1900.

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2 Comments

Filed under Behind the Scenes, Events, Press Releases, Projects

2 responses to “PSTA Leaders and Local Officials Celebrate New Hybrid Buses and On-Board Wi-Fi Pilot Program!

  1. Cet

    When it works, this is useful for riders wanting to check arrival times of connecting buses. I’m assuming the productivity slant of this is to encourage ridership amongst more affluent would-be riders.

    But why this before the new fare boxes (which would serve the larger pool of existing riders)? In between getting my bike fixed, I’ve returned to riding the bus and can say from experience over the years and recently, when you’re at work or school and can’t get to a kiosk to get a new pass on the day you get paid, it’s extremely inconvenient and more costly to not have a refillable card.

    I’ve been traveling to Atlanta recently, travel to New York regularly and have ridden the trains around LA and can’t say enough good things about the Breeze, Metro and TAP cards. I think a lot of riders would agree with me in saying that would be infinitely more useful than wi-fi on a bus. Additionally, refillable cards would never give you a “ghost pass” (bus card with no printed information.

    Why did wi-fi take precedent over that?

    • We are currently working on upgrading our fareboxes! We’re working with HART and other transit systems in the Tampa Bay area on a system that will work regionally – probably a “smart card” type pass that will be sturdy and reloadable (have you ridden the Metro in Washington, DC? It’s like their system). We are quite a ways out from implementation though because we are coordinating on a large scale, and there are state funding grants involved.

      The WiFi system is something we’re able to work on implementing now and will be funding from our regular operating budget. Productivity for riders is definitely a plus since people can work, do homework, or even just catch up on email and Facebook while on board the bus without having to use up their phones’ data plans.

      Thank you for riding, and for sharing!

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