Category Archives: Customer Service

PSTA Partners with Uber and United Taxi

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is partnering with Uber and United Taxi to help address a very common barrier to public transit use: easy access to a bus stop. Often called the “first mile, last mile” conundrum, transit agencies all across the U.S. find that getting riders to a bus stop is the first step in turning them into public transit users.

“Once we make it easy for someone to get to the bus stop, riding the bus becomes a real transportation alternative,” says PSTA CEO Brad Miller. “PSTA is always looking for ways to deliver value to our riders and the community, and this partnership with Uber and United Taxi does exactly that.”

direct connectPSTA’s new program, called Direct Connect, allows riders to use Uber (in Pinellas Park) or United Taxi (in Pinellas Park and East Lake) to travel within a specific geographic zone to or from a series of designated stops. From there, riders can connect with the regular PSTA public transit bus system. On the return trip, they can use Uber or United Taxi to travel from the designated stop back home or to work (within the zone).

With this unique partnership, the first of its kind in the nation, PSTA will pay half the cost of the Uber or United Taxi ride, up to $3.

“PSTA is showing true leadership by entering into an innovative partnership that is among the first of its kind in the nation,” says Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) “This technology offers a great opportunity to mass transit providers and expands access to transit for Pinellas families. I hope that other providers in our region and throughout the state will follow the lead of PSTA and embrace this technology that Floridians have come to expect in their communities.”

DC Ribbon Cutting

Brad Miller (PSTA), Nick Cambas (United Taxi), Christine Mitchell (Uber Tampa Bay), and Bill Jonson (City of Clearwater/PSTA Board member) cut the ribbon launching Direct Connect service in Pinellas Park and East Lake.

The service launched with a ribbon cutting event at Pinellas Park Transit Center on Monday, February 22, 2016 and will run on a six month pilot basis. If successful, PSTA will consider expanding this new, innovative service.

“We are proud to partner with PSTA on our shared mission of improving access to safe, reliable transportation options for Pinellas Park residents,” says Christine Mitchell, General Manager for Uber in Tampa Bay. “By helping to bridge the gap on the first and last mile for commuters, this innovative public-private partnership will compliment and extend the reach of the existing transportation infrastructure in the region and open up more opportunities in the community.”

PSTA + Uber + United Taxi

“We’re so glad to be working with old friends to serve our community in a new way,” agrees Nick Cambas, principal owner of United Taxi. “The people on United Taxi’s management team, myself included, have devoted their careers to the ground transportation service industry in Pinellas and surrounding counties. Doing so has given the team a variety of opportunities to work closely with PSTA, building a relationship that is decades long and strong. PSTA’s Direct Connect exemplifies the ideal public-private partnership: PSTA reduces its costs, our drivers have increased business opportunity, and the public benefits by saving time and money. I call that a Win-Win-Win.”

To learn more about this new service, please visit www.psta.net/directconnect.

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Let PSTA be your ride to PRIDE

Who:Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA)
What: Encouraging revelers to avoid traffic and parking hassles by riding PSTA to and from St. Pete Pride
HowNew riders can call the PSTA InfoLine (727) 540-1900 for guidance
Where: Along the Central Avenue corridor. Check the PSTA Rider Alert page for service detours for the weekend’s events
Why:  To reduce traffic congestion and provide a cool, comfortable and convenient transportation alternative
WhenJune 27-29, 2014

st-pete-pride-paradeThe biggest celebration of its kind in the state of Florida just got bigger.  The St. Pete Pride Street Festival and Promenade will now make up a full weekend of celebration. Whether you’re going to the parade on Saturday or the Street Festival on Sunday,  you don’t have to fight traffic or struggle to find a parking spot if you let PSTA be your ride to Pride.

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.

PSTA operates several routes along the parade and festival corridor, which will give revelers easy and frequent access to cool, comfortable buses throughout the day and well into the evening. Among the routes serving the celebration in the Grand Central District will be the Central Avenue Trolley, Routes 7, 18, 20 and 52. Several routes will also be detoured to accommodate the celebrations and those detours can be found at the PSTA Rider Alert webpage.

In Motion by James BranamanSt. Pete Pride, which is in its 12th year, dwarfs similar gatherings in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, and draws thousands of visitors to the area’s bars, restaurants and accommodations for the festivities.

For all-things PSTA, including trip planning, schedules maps and fares visit the agency’s award-winning website www.psta.net.  You can also keep up with the agency’s plans for the future of transportation in Pinellas County and participate in the community conversation helping to shape those plans at www.greenlightpinellas.org.

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Kids Ride All Summer for Less Than The Cost of One Fill-Up

haul pass 2014Pinellas County families can beat high prices at the pump this summer by taking advantage of PSTA’s easy and affordable Summer Youth Haul Pass. For only $35, kids ages 18 and younger get unlimited transportation on PSTA all summer long. (Excludes the 100X and 300X routes to Tampa.) That comes out to less than $2.40 a week for unlimited rides from May 15 – August 31, 2014. Not only will the Haul Pass save parents time and money, but it gives kids the freedom and independence they crave to commute to work, head to the beach or meet up with friends.

Middle and high school aged kids will need a school, government or PSTA issued photo ID to use the Summer Youth Haul Pass. PSTA-issued Youth Photo ID cards can be obtained free of charge at any PSTA Customer Service Center.  

Spend less time at the bus stop and more time having fun

Thanks to PSTA’s New Real Time Bus Information system, riders can easily find out when the next bus will arrive at their stop.  They can text, call or check on line to find out when the next bus will arrive, which means less waiting at the stop and more time enjoying other things. So before you head to the bus stop, check PSTA’s Real Time Bus Information site at RidePSTA.net.

First time riders are invited to take advantage of PSTA’s Google Trip Planner to easily plan their ride or they can get personalized riding instruction with PSTA’s free “Show Me” service by calling the PSTA InfoLine at (727) 540-1900.

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Bus Driver Appreciation Day is Tuesday, March 18th!

2013 Driver of the Year Julio Palmer

2013 Driver of the Year Julio Palmer

As you’re out and about on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, be sure to give a wave and gesture of thanks to your local transit operators as part of the fifth annual international Transit Driver Appreciation Day. The special day was started by a group of transit riders in Seattle back in 2009. It was a way for them to acknowledge the great job that their transit operators do along with all of the benefits that they provide for the community. Organizers say the day is a great way to honor the many hard-working men and women who keep our economy and communities moving every day.

Leaders for the Transit Driver Appreciation Day like to point out that just because a job looks easy, doesn’t mean it actually is:  Throughout their day, transit drivers manage to keep a schedule, check fares, give directions, announce stops, remember stop requests and more – all while safely maneuvering an extra-large vehicle through unpredictable traffic, adverse weather conditions and some really tight spaces.  The fact is, transit drivers don’t have an easy job, they just make it look that way.

If you’d like to hop aboard and thank one of Pinellas County’s hard working and talented Bus Operators, as well as relaxing while they chauffeur you through traffic, just visit PSTA’s award winning website at: www.psta.net to plan a trip – or call the PSTA InfoLine for help at (727) 540-1900.  Then you can then use PSTA’s new Real Time Bus Information system to find out exactly when your next bus is due at your stop.

To keep up with PSTA’s plans for the future of transportation in Pinellas County, visit www.greenlightpinellas.org and learn about the Greenlight Pinellas Plan.

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Story from PSTA Rider Devin Henderson

We love hearing from our riders about how public transit makes a real difference in their day-to-day lives. Recently we had the opportunity to work with a local college student named Devin Henderson to provide travel training and demonstrate the Real Time Bus Information system. Here’s the really nice letter that we received from him which thanked us for spending so much time with him:

(Note about the email: James Bradford is PSTA’s Chief Operations Officer; Sue is Sue Lanham, PSTA’s Manager of Schedules; Devin’s email address has been removed to protect his privacy; and this is an excerpt from the email received. Click on the image to enlarge.)

henderson emailThanks for riding Devin, and thank you for supporting public transit in Pinellas County!

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Press Release: PSTA Hosts Guide Dog Training

Although modern technology has made riding transit easier and more convenient than ever, taking that first ride can still be intimidating for those who have lost their sight. That’s why Southeastern Guide Dogs and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority are partnering to make that experience even easier – by training guide dogs to comfortably and confidently lead their companions when riding transit. southeastern guide dogs logo

On Saturday, January 18, 2014, seven adorable and exceptionally well behaved guide dogs in training accompanied their handlers on a two hour exercise aboard a PSTA bus. The puppies ranged in age from six months to a year and even though they faced a plethora of new sights, sounds, smells and vibrations, they took the entire exercise in stride. The training involved driving the bus along local streets and stopping at various locations to let the training teams board and alight so the puppies could get used to the various types of bus stops found throughout Pinellas County.

guide dogs 1 “What we try to do is to take them to different places and give them different experiences, so that when they are a working dog, they won’t be upset or distracted and are better able to do their job,” says Southeastern Guide Dogs Area Coordinator John Bauer. “It’s hard work, but when you get to see your dog finally matched with a blind person, it’s immensely gratifying and wonderful to see that dog actually guiding someone and helping them get where they need to go.”  Officials say that many guide dogs will be riding transit every day once in service and this kind of training, which simply can’t be simulated in a classroom, is invaluable.

guide dogs 2Southeastern Guide Dogs is an organization that trains dogs to help people with visual impairments so that it’s easier for them to live independent, vibrant and joyous lives. Through programs such as Paws for Independence™, Paws for Patriots™, and Gifted Canines™ they have more than 400 active guide dog teams across the country. PSTA leaders say that being able to support Southeastern Guide Dogs and programs like Paws for Patriots is a great way to give back to the community and support our heroes who have given so much for our country.

For more about Paws for Patriots or other Southeastern Guide Dogs programs, including how to volunteer or donate, visit:  www.guidedogs.org.

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Press Release: Pinellas CVS/Pharmacy Stores Now Sell PSTA Bus Passes

Who: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and CVS/Pharmacy
What: Announce a new partnership where CVS/Pharmacy stores will now sell PSTA GO Cards
When: August 5, 2013
Where:  At 48 CVS/Pharmacy locations throughout Pinellas County
Why:  To make it easier for residents and tourists to purchase bus passes and get to and from area CVS/Pharmacy locations

With the shake of a hand and a smile, leaders from the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and CVS/Pharmacy nearly doubled the number of locations where you can purchase bus passes today. Those passes, called GO Cards, are now available for purchase at 48 CVS/Pharmacy locations throughout Pinellas County. “This is an exciting opportunity for the community as it will make buying GO Cards easier than ever,” said PSTA Board Chair and St. Petersburg City Councilman, Jeff Danner. “PSTA ridership is at an all-time record high and this new partnership will make it much easier to meet the growing demand for GO Card outlets.”

Danner joined officials from CVS/Pharmacy at their store at 4th Street and 9th Avenue North in St. Petersburg to celebrate the new partnership. On hand were CVS/Pharmacy District Sales Manager Brian Bache, Store Manager Scott Greer, and Assistant Manager Joe Sferrazza.

Pinellas CVS/Pharmacy locations now carry all PSTA passes except for Passports, Haul Passes and the 20 Ride Premium GO Cards, which can be purchased online at www.PSTA.net.

To plan a trip or learn more about riding PSTA, 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 logon to www.RidePSTA.net or call the PSTA InfoLine at (727) 540-1900.

Riders can also keep up with the agency’s plans for the future of transportation in Pinellas County and participate in the community conversation helping to shape those plans at www.GreenlightPinellas.org.

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