Who: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA)
What: Continues trend of robust ridership
Where: Throughout Pinellas County
When: January 2014
2014 kicked off with another strong month of transit use in Pinellas County. Last month, PSTA provided 1,158,951 rides throughout the county and to Tampa – making for the second highest ridership ever for the month of January. Agency officials say they were hoping for another all-time record, but that Mother Nature didn’t cooperate thanks to a stint of unusually cool and rainy weather. Transit leaders say they tend to see a bigger impact on ridership from rainy weather this time of year as opposed to the warmer months. Nonetheless, the agency is still struggling to meet demand along many routes as supervisors scramble to ensure that riders are not passed by because of full buses. “I was driving yesterday and there were people at almost every single stop,” says PSTA Road Supervisor Lloyd Jernigan. When told that opponents of the county’s new transit improvement plan insist that PSTA buses always run empty, Jernigan’s eyes steel and he counters, “Those have to be people who never ride the bus. No one who rides would ever say that.”
To help meet increasing demand for service, PSTA and county leaders will be asking voters to change the agency’s funding from its current property tax to a 1% sales tax this coming November. If approved, PSTA will then eliminate its current property tax of .7305 mils and be able to implement transformational changes and enhancements to the county’s transit system as part of the Greenlight Pinellas Plan. That plan features a 65% increase in countywide bus service along with the implementation of a future light rail system. Details, questions and answers along with study data and videos can all be found at www.greenlightpinellas.com.
If you’d like to take advantage of Pinellas County’s increasingly popular transit system, 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 www.RidePSTA.net or call the PSTA InfoLine at (727) 540-1900 for more information.