Increasing numbers of visitors and residents alike are taking advantage of Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authorities services, including these people boarding the Suncoast Beach Trolley at John’s Pass.
ST. PETERSBURG - The 2012 holidays ushered in another month of record-setting ridership for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.
After 13 straight months of records and a recent drop in fuel prices, PSTA officials weren’t sure if the system would continue its impressive ridership growth through the holiday season.
“Santa Claus didn’t let us down a bit this year,” says PSTA Spokesperson Bob Lasher. “He brought us our 14th straight month of record ridership and he did it in a month when gas prices dropped below $3 a gallon.”
Early estimates indicate that the agency provided 1,128,221 rides in December, which is an 8 percent jump over December 2011, an all-time record for the month.
Along with record-setting tourism numbers and an improving economy, which typically boost ridership, PSTA introduced three new Connector routes in northern Pinellas County on Dec. 10.
“It typically takes many months to build decent ridership on new routes, but we’re already seeing excellent numbers on the Connector services,” Lasher says. “It’s very encouraging and we’re getting really positive feedback about the service from riders.”
Officials add that although there are additional riders on the new Connector services, they only account for a small portion of the overall 8 percent increase in ridership.
The new routes offer bus service to many communities that have never had transit service before and they feature smaller buses that can divert up to ľ-mile off the regular routes. More residents in those communities now are able to take advantage of PSTA’s service.
The buses are also equipped with PSTA’s new Real Time Bus Information technology that allows people to use a computer or smartphone to know exactly when a Connector bus will arrive at their stop.
For more information, visit www.PSTA.net or call the PSTA InfoLine at 540-1900 to plan a trip. Riders can check PSTA’s new Real Time Bus Information site at RidePSTA.net to find out exactly when buses will depart.