Tag Archives: East Lake

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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Filed under Customer Service, Events, Projects, Uncategorized

What the heck is flexible service?

PSTA is about to embark on a new project that will introduce flexible Connector service to our friends in the northern areas of Pinellas County with three routes. Before we tell you about flexible service, first let us explain “fixed-route” service. Fixed-route is what most people think of as “regular” bus service. The routes are fixed, that is, they don’t ever deviate from the scheduled routing (except in the case of detours due to road work, accidents, or events).

In comparison, flexible service – HART calls theirs “Flex,” we will be calling ours Connector Service – is a flexible type of bus service that travels along a specific fixed corridor, but will trek up to ¾ of a mile off that route to pick up passengers. Connectors improve mobility for people who don’t live or work right on a bus line, and are often used as a feeder to connect people with regular, fixed-route service. PSTA’s Connector service will use smaller buses, similar to those used for airport shuttles, which are able to get around on narrower neighborhood streets. Riders who want to be picked up and/or dropped off away from the pre-set route will call in advance to make a reservation.

To develop these routes we did tons of public outreach. Over 150 presentations were made at local neighborhood associations, civic groups, libraries – you name it, we presented there. We explained the service and surveyed the attendees to find out where they wanted to travel. This information helped us figure out which streets to put the routes on.

Our extensive public input process should mean that we’ve designed routes that go where  people who live in northern Pinellas want to go. The East Lake Connector will carry passengers from the Shoppes at Boot Ranch along East Lake Road to Tarpon Mall. The Dunedin/Palm Harbor Connector will travel from Westfield Countryside Mall into Dunedin along SR 580, north on CR1/Keene to Nebraska, and north on US 19 to the Palm Harbor Walmart – it will also make a few trips further north to serve the St. Pete College Tarpon Springs Campus. The Countryside/Oldsmar/Tampa Connector will head east out of Westfield Countryside over to Oldsmar where it will travel on Hillsborough Ave all the way into Tampa, serving HART’s Northwest Transit Center.

These new routes will launch on Monday, December 10, 2012 with funding provided by the Florida Department of Transportation. Service will run Monday through Saturday from approximately 8:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. (exact times will be published in beautiful, color brochures). If you want to travel off the pre-set route you’ll need to call the InfoLine (727-540-1900) and make a reservation at least two hours in advance. We’re currently working on a special everything-you-need-to-know-about-connectors page for our website and will let you know when it’s live.

We know that these routes will provide great service to our friends in Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, and East Lake. In fact, we have a really exciting promotion that will come with the launch of these new services: free rides for the month of December! That’s right – just hop on board any of the three Connector routes in December and ride for free*.

So, what do you think, will you hop on board and give it a try? Have questions that will help you decide? I’m ready for them!

Your editor,
Cyndi Raskin-Schmitt

*Free rides are on the three Connector routes only; all other routes = regular fare.


Filed under Outreach, Transit Services