Editor: I’d like to address some recent claims made by the writer of a letter last week regarding transit in Pinellas County. The writer says that he objects to rail transit in the county because PSTA ridership statistics are “inflated” and buses run “mostly empty.”
PSTA measures ridership just like every other transit agency in the country and its clientele includes mayors, tourists, retirees and commuters. Last year PSTA, a vastly undersized agency for our population as compared to other US cities, gave more than 14 million rides. PSTA has now set 14 all-time monthly ridership records in a row and is experiencing standing room only and even overcrowding on some of our routes.
Investments in our transit system are critical to our economy, getting people to their jobs. Even if you don’t personally use transit, you and others may rely on people who do – from the waiter at your favorite restaurant, the housekeeping staff that keeps our beach hotels clean and inviting, or the medical assistant at your doctor’s appointment. Without transit service, these businesses wouldn’t have the staff to function.
For those who are still skeptical about PSTA’s record ridership, the agency has produced a new video addressing the misconceptions about empty buses. It’s called BusBuzz 2 – Busting the Empty Bus Myth and can be found at PSTA’s YouTube channel, RidePSTA.
Bob Lasher PSTA External Affairs Officer St. Petersburg