From left, PSTA CEO Brad Miller, PSTA Vice-Chair Bill Jonson, Lennox Court Manager Warren Schob and leasing consultant Herma Castro cut the ribbon June 11 celebrating new bus service to Lennox Court Apartments in Clearwater.
CLEARWATER - Leaders and staff from Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority joined residents and officials from Lennox Properties June 11 to celebrate new bus service to the Lennox Court Apartments in Clearwater.
Last fall, PSTA’s Route 78 was detoured from its normal routing along Betty Lane. Once detoured to Kings Highway, ridership along the detour jumped by more than 180 percent. In light of the increased ridership, along with numerous requests to make the routing permanent, PSTA officials were eager to comply and celebrated the successful change with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
“Today is more than just celebrating increased ridership, it’s about being responsible to our community and riders,” PSTA CEO Brad Miller said in a press release. “We work extremely hard to listen to our customers and continually improve our service, so when we saw and heard how happy residents in this neighborhood were with the temporary routing, we knew we had to make it permanent.”
“One of the things we strive to provide to our county is improved transportation options,” said Clearwater City Council Member and PSTA Vice-Chair Bill Jonson. “I look at the need to own a second car as one of the highest tax costs on many of our families, because they don’t have transportation options other than driving. But when you look at a route like this, the second most productive in the system, and see people using it to get to work, school and other services they need, it’s clear that we have to find a way to fund operations, so buses run later than only 7:20 in the evening – and that’s what the Greenlight Pinellas Plan is all about.”
Clearwater Vice-Mayor Doreen Hock-DiPolito agreed and pointed out how the Greenlight Pinellas Plan is gaining popularity from younger generations.
“In fact, just last night, the Clearwater Young Professionals had an amazing turnout of their membership in support of the Greenlight Pinellas initiative,” she said. “Plus, we see older generations embracing transit as well by taking advantage of new and expanded services like the North County Connectors and Jolley Trolley.”
PSTA Leaders, along with a host of municipalities and business groups, say that ridership successes like the one celebrated June 11 will become frequent and countywide when the Greenlight Pinellas is approved by voters next fall.
The Greenlight Pinellas initiative will be on the Nov. 4 ballot and will offer voters the chance to eliminate their transit property tax and instead fund improved public transportation with a 1 percent sales tax (not applied to groceries, medical items and limited to the first $5,000 of any purchase). Details of the plan and more can all be found at www.greenlightpinellas.com.