Category Archives: Events

New Largo Transit Center Opens Sunday, May 1st

1,000 is the number of steps it takes to get from the nearest bus stop at US 19 and Roosevelt Boulevard to the Walmart Supercenter located on the corner—rain or shine.

PSTA thought they could do better, so they changed it to seven.

On the east side of Walmart at US 19 and Roosevelt, the new Largo Transit Center is set to open to riders on Sunday, May 1st. Located in the heart of Pinellas County, Largo Transit Center is served by some of PSTA’s highest ridership routes, namely Routes 19, 52, and 79.

Not only will riders and employees of nearby businesses now have a convenient, comfortable place to make transfers, they will also be the first to enjoy PSTA’s new bus shelter design. With a teal roof and clear blue glass on one side, the new shelter design is sleek and modern, while still being functional and practical with plenty of seating, shade, and trash receptacles.

Largo Transit Center Shelter with BusAn official ribbon cutting marked the opening of the center and the new shelters on Thursday, April 28th. PSTA’s CEO Brad Miller was joined by Largo Mayor Woody Brown, PSTA Board members Commissioner Joe Barkley (Belleair Bluffs), Councilmember Bill Jonson (Clearwater), Commissioner Janet Long (Pinellas County), Brian Scott, and Walmart store manager Sheila Perez.

IMG_2767Largo Transit Center will deliver significant value to the lives of riders, making it easier to transport heavy loads of groceries, get to work on-time, and move more efficiently across the entire reach of Pinellas County.  

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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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Cut Costs, Cut Oil Use, Cut Pollution and Stress: “Dump the Pump” Tomorrow

Who: The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and transit agencies across America
What:  Participating in the national Dump the Pump day
When: Thursday, June 19, 2014
Where:Throughout the United States
Why: To promote affordable, easy and earth-friendly public transportation
How: By riding PSTA on Thursday instead of driving your car

9385 reducedDid you know that transportation is now the biggest household expense in the United States behind rent and mortgage? If you’re surprised to learn that fact, you’re not alone, but it’s not hard to understand when you consider that USA Today and the American Automobile Association say the average cost to own a car is now more than $9,000 a year. Additionally, the news outlets started their week with reports about gasoline prices are once again on the rise. That means that a fill-up for many cars now costs more than a full-fare, unlimited ride monthly bus pass on PSTA ($65).

These are just some of the reasons why PSTA leaders are joining APTA and transit agencies nationwide to promote the ninth annual National Dump the Pump Day on Thursday, June 19.  “The 2014 National Dump the Pump Day is a day that encourages people to ride public transportation and save money, instead of driving a car,” says Virginia Miller APTA Director of Media Relations. “In fact, according to the April APTA Transit Savings Report, a two-person household can save an average of more than $10,000 annually by downsizing to one car.”  In addition to saving money, officials say public transit use cuts pollution, demand for foreign oil and stress as you let someone else drive while you relax, read or surf the internet during your commute.

To participate and “Dump the Pump” all you have to do to is to leave the car at home this Thursday and ride PSTA. For those who have never ridden before, you can call the PSTA InfoLine at (727) 540-1900 to learn how or book a special “Show Me” service offered by the agency. “We established the ‘Show Me’ program to make it easier for people to take their first trip on PSTA,” says agency spokesperson Bob Lasher. “We found that the main reason why people don’t try PSTA is the uneasiness about doing something new for the first time, so we created this program to ease their mind.” When a “Show Me” is booked, a PSTA employee meets with an individual or group and teaches them how to plan a trip – either electronically or using printed materials – then the employee takes them on a free round-trip ride to practice and see just how easy it is to use PSTA.

The agency has plenty of other how-to-ride resources as well including a Google Trip planner located on the home page of www.psta.net.  You can also view various “how-to” videos on the site’s “How to Ride” page, www.psta.net/howtoride.php. Full fare is $2.00 one way or $4.50 all day $1.00 & $2.25 for seniors and people with disabilities. Daily passes can be purchased right on the bus, although exact change is required. When you’re ready to travel, you can then call, text, logon or use a smartphone to find out when your bus will arrive at your stop with PSTA’s new Real Time Bus Information System.

Did you know?

  • Public transportation is a $57 billion industry, which employs more than 400,000 people.
  • Public Transportation provides economic opportunities & drives community growth and revitalization
  • Every $1 invested in public transportation generates approximately $4 in economic returns
  • Every $10 million in public transportation capital investments yields $30 million in increased business sales
  • Every $10 million in operating investments yields $32 million in increased business sales.
  • From 2006-2011, residential property values performed 42 percent better on average if they were located near public transportation with high-frequency service.
  • Public transportation use in the US saves 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually.

To learn more about PSTA, please visit the agency’s award winning website at www.psta.net and to learn more about the future of transit in Pinellas County, learn about the Greenlight Pinellas Plan at www.greennlightpinellas.com.

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Press Release: Dunedin Leaders Endorse Greenlight Pinellas Plan

Who: The Dunedin City Commission
What: Endorses the Greenlight Pinellas Plan
When: February 6, 2014
Where: At regularly scheduled City Commission meeting:  542 Main St, Dunedin, FL 34698
Why:  To improve public transportation throughout Pinellas County

Pinellas County’s new plan to significantly improve public transit picked up another critical endorsement this evening. Leaders from the city of Dunedin voted unanimously to endorse the transformational, county-wide transit proposal known as the Greenlight Pinellas Plan. “One thing I’m excited about is that this is a comprehensive transportation plan, not just one mode or one area. We’re putting the right kind of transportation in the right communities throughout the county,” said Dunedin Commissioner and PSTA Board Member Julie Ward-Bujalski.

Dunedin endorsement pic“It can’t be understated as to what the increased frequencies and later service hours will mean to our community,” added Mayor Dave Eggers after hearing details about the bus service improvements in the plan.

At the heart of the proposal is a ballot measure set for the November 4, 2014 election asking voters to approve a funding change for the county’s transit system – PSTA – from its current .7305 mil property tax to a 1% sales tax (not applied to groceries, medical items and limited to the first $5,000 of any purchase). That change would allow for significant improvements to the county’s transit service, and vastly increase transportation options throughout the county. Details, Q&A and background data can be found at www.greenlightpinellas.com.

If approved, Pinellas residents will see a 65% increase in bus service including:

  • Buses running more frequently and for longer hours of the day – especially on weekends.
  • Service to Tampa at night and on weekends including TIA and Westshore.
  • Buses running every 15 minutes along core routes and every 30 minutes on the supporting network
  • Park ‘n’ Ride lots
  • Limited stop express lines
  • Circulators connecting neighborhoods to the primary transit corridors.

Those enhancements will then form a foundation of quick, easy connections for a future passenger rail line from St. Petersburg to the Gateway/Carillon area and to Clearwater.

The recession has reduced PSTA’s property tax revenue by more than $40 million dollars since 2008, however, service cuts and streamlining and record-setting demand have led to a 23% increase in bus ridership over the same period.  To help prevent further cuts in service, the agency is using reserve funds to accommodate the record ridership. If the Greenlight measure doesn’t pass, those reserves will be depleted by 2017, forcing a 28% cut in bus service.

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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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