Who: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and transit agencies around the world
What: Protecting our planet by offering environmentally-friendly transportation
When: Every day
Where: Throughout Pinellas County and to Tampa
Why: To provide affordable and environmentally friendly transportation options
Did you know that without public transportation Americans would lose $21 billion dollars a year due added traffic congestion? That’s just one of many amazing benefits that public transit provides for our society. Other benefits, detailed on the Public Transportation Benefits page of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) website (www.apta.com) include:
- From 1995 through 2012, public transportation ridership increased by 34%—a growth rate higher than the 17% increase in U.S. population and higher than the 22% growth in the use of the nation’s highways.
- 74% of funding for public transit is spent creating and supporting hundreds of thousands of private sector jobs.
- Americans living in areas served by public transportation save 865 million hours in travel time and 450 million gallons of fuel annually in congestion reduction alone.
- Every dollar communities invest in public transportation generates approximately $4 in economic returns.
- Every $1 billion invested in public transportation supports and creates 36,000 jobs.
- The average household spends 16 cents of every dollar on transportation, and 94% of that goes to buying, maintaining, and operating cars, the largest expenditure after housing.
- Households that are likely to use public transportation on a given day save more than $9,700 every year.
Here in the Pinellas County, which offers far fewer transit options than other cities of similar population around the country, transit ridership has jumped 19% since 2008. During that same period, PSTA has cut service and raised fares- two factors that typically reduce transit ridership. In Pinellas, however, ridership continues at all-time record highs. In fact, more than 14.45 million rides taken on PSTA last year.
Along with cutting demand for foreign oil, reducing pollution and offering affordable transportation options, PSTA protects our environment in many other ways such as:
- Engine Coolant
- Waste oil
- Sludge from parts cleaners
- Metal from used and unserviceable vehicle parts
- Lacquer thinner
- Fluorescent light bulbs
- Water in the PSTA bus washing facility
- Ink and toner cartridges
PSTA also operates 40 fuel-efficient, diesel-electric hybrid buses (out of a fleet of 195 full sized buses) that average a 32% improvement in fuel economy over standard diesel models. The fuel savings for these environmentally friendly vehicles depends upon the route on which a bus operates. Lower speed routes with many stops, such as Gulf Blvd., allow for the greatest use of the electric component of the diesel-electric technology and leads to the greatest fuel economy. PSTA is pleased to announce that the agency has eight more diesel-electric hybrid SmartBuses on order for 2014.
To learn more about using PSTA, visit www.PSTA.net and to learn more about the future of public transit in Pinellas County and to learn about the Greenlight Pinellas Plan, visit www.greenlightpinellas.com.