SPC Collegiate High School student senior Eritha Cainion talks about what the new partnership between Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and St. Petersburg College means to her during an Aug. 21 press conference at the Gibbs campus in St. Petersburg.
ST. PETERSBURG – Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and St. Petersburg College have formed a partnership to provide a Universal Pass to provide free bus rides to students and staff.
PSTA and SPC announced the news at a press conference Aug. 21 at SPC’s Gibbs campus in St. Petersburg.
According to Franco Ripple with Kevin Cate Communications, SPC is paying $75,000 to PSTA for a one-year contract. In exchange, more than 32,000 students and staff will be able to ride free on any of PSTA’s 200 buses on 40 routes.
Students, faculty and other employees can get the free rides by showing their SPC ID cards when boarding the bus.
“We couldn’t be happier to partner with St. Petersburg College to provide their students and faculty with the transit options they needed,” said PSTA Board member and Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long in a press release. “This has been a long time coming, and SPC’s students and faculty now have a new way to get to class, home, work and all around Pinellas County, at no cost to them. It’s great for our students, it’s great for our teachers and it will only get better with the improvements under Greenlight Pinellas.”
PSTA currently provides more than 14.5 million rides per year. It operates nearly 40 bus and trolley routes with a fleet of 203 vehicles. PSTA is asking voters to approve a new 1 percent transit tax on the Nov. 4 election ballot. The increased funding would allow the authority to implement improved transit, as outlined in Greenlight Pinellas. Visit greenlightpinellas.com for more information.
Classes began at SPC Aug. 18, and the college reported that 32,350 students had signed up for 276,620 semester hours during the fall term – an increase of 2.2 percent over last year.
St. Petersburg College, founded in 1927, was Florida’s first two-year college. In 2002, SPC became the state’s first community college to offer bachelor’s degree.
“As a consistent PSTA rider who depends on the bus system, this means so much to me,” said SPC Collegiate High School student senior Eritha Cainion during the press conference. “With this new partnership, it lifts the burden off the students, especially if we don’t have cars. No more trying to figure out how to get a ride or pay for bus fare – and we can ride seven days a week, including to the mall.”