Time is running out to keep the National Highway Trust Fund from running dry!

Transportation Trust Fund blog post logo

This is a follow-up to a post that I published back in April, 2014. Since this post was published, very little has been done in Washington, D.C. to arrive at a long-term solution to keep our National Highway Trust Fund going. As this editorial says, the Congressional bickering continues to drag on with no end in sight. In fact, just like many huge issues that Congress has bickered about in the past, the issue of replenishing the National Highway Trust Fund will likely come down to a series of last-minute, short-term, “band-aids” to keep the fund going in a very limited capacity for just a span of a few months before having to arrive at the broader issue again. These political games MUST COME TO AN END!

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The Golden Gate Bridge Is Getting Its First Suicide Nets

After many years of debate, suicide prevention nets are coming to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

TIME

California officials approved $76 million in funding Friday to install an elaborate system of nets to prevent people from jumping off the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, taking action after more than 1,400 deaths in 80 years.

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, which oversees the bridge, will provide $20 million in funding for the project, with the rest coming from state and federal coffers. A small amount of the funding still has yet to be approved, however.

Denis Mulligan, the bridge’s general manager, said he expects the net to be “completely effective” in preventing suicides.

“They think they can’t jump, so they don’t,” Mulligan said.

The bridge’s suicide-prevention system has been a long time coming. Golden Gate officials have instituted a number of measures to mitigate suicide attempts, including a telephone hotline, throughout the structure’s long history. Bridge employees, including painters, ironworkers and patrol officers, are responsible…

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Let PSTA be your ride to PRIDE

Escape the traffic hassles during St. Pete PRIDE! Use PSTA!

Ride PSTA

Who:Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA)
What: Encouraging revelers to avoid traffic and parking hassles by riding PSTA to and from St. Pete Pride
HowNew riders can call the PSTA InfoLine (727) 540-1900 for guidance
Where: Along the Central Avenue corridor. Check the PSTA Rider Alert page for service detours for the weekend’s events
Why:  To reduce traffic congestion and provide a cool, comfortable and convenient transportation alternative
WhenJune 27-29, 2014

st-pete-pride-paradeThe biggest celebration of its kind in the state of Florida just got bigger.  The St. Pete Pride Street Festival and Promenade will now make up a full weekend of celebration. Whether you’re going to the parade on Saturday or the Street Festival on Sunday,  you don’t have to fight traffic or struggle to find a parking spot if you let PSTA be your ride to Pride.

PSTA buses will…

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Transit Safety and Security is Serious Business

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is making sure that its system is safe for everyone! I will have a blog post up on this topic soon. In the meantime however, please have a look at their post.

Ride PSTA

Did you know that PSTA has a special division within its Transportation Department that’s dedicated to safety and security? Well, we do, and they’re a busy bunch of people! PSTA was recently notified that we scored 99% on a base assessment of our safety and security programs and procedures by the Federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Transportation Security Administration, which would make us eligible for their Gold Standard for the second time! Only those agencies with the best ratings receive the Gold Standard Award.

PSTA is a very safe transit system, with several state-of-the-art tools in place to help us keep it that way. We know where every bus is at any given time thanks to GPS technology on board every vehicle. Our Operators are trained how to respond and communicate with first responders in the event of an emergency on board, or if they witness a crime…

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National Dump The Pump Day 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014 has been declared as National Dump The Pump Day! This is where many people from across the United States are invited by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and participating transit agencies to leave their personal vehicles behind and use public transit. This event often attracts both new and existing riders to participating systems across the nation!

There are many great benefits to using public transit, including financial savings (monthly transit passes are nowadays cheaper than having to fill up at the pump per month, in some vehicles…just one fill up can surpass the cost of a monthly transit pass), less wear and tear on your vehicle (thus saving you maintenance costs), reduced carbon footprint, less dependence on foreign oil, and my personal favorite…not having to deal with changing lanes, exiting highways, stop and go traffic, and tolls! Leave the driving to your bus and train operators!

Here’s some other facts about transit, all from the APTA.

  • Public transportation is a $57 billion industry, which employs more than 400,000 people.
  • Public Transportation provides economic opportunities & drives community growth and revitalization
  • Every $1 invested in public transportation generates approximately $4 in economic returns
  • Every $10 million in public transportation capital investments yields $30 million in increased business sales
  • Every $10 million in operating investments yields $32 million in increased business sales.
  • From 2006-2011, residential property values performed 42 percent better on average if they were located near public transportation with high-frequency service.
  • Public transportation use in the US saves 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually.

Here in the Tampa Bay Area, both Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) are taking part in National Dump The Pump Day. HART in fact, is offering a FREE 1-Day pass in exchange for your recent gas receipt (must be dated no earlier than May 1, 2014).

DID YOU KNOW that both HART and PSTA provide Travel Training programs to first-time public transit bus riders AT NO COST TO THE CUSTOMER? Learn more by contacting HART at 813-254-4278, or PSTA at 727-540-1900.

April, 2014 Transit Ridership Report

RidershipReportTitle-2014-04

It’s that time again…time to report on transit ridership for the previous month…well, for this post, it will be April’s numbers. May’s numbers are just beginning to be released internally, but won’t be available for public access until the end of June.

During the month of April, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) continued to show strong bus ridership, with HART seeing a small increase over April, 2013, and PSTA seeing a slight decrease over that same period. Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) meanwhile, saw another month with a significant decrease in ridership, but the decrease was not as bad as the nearly 12% drop in riders that the agency saw in March. HRT still attributes a portion of the ridership decreases to recent changes made in the GoPass 365 program.

The figures “At a Glance”.

RidershipReportScreen-2014-04

Changes in HART and PSTA ridership (comparing April, 2014 to April, 2013) were rather small (under 1%), while HRT saw a decrease of just over 8%. Despite the numbers, all three agencies are continuing to show strong bus ridership. Actually, HRT is in 2nd place on this chart for April, when comparing the three agencies that I profile.

As I’ve mentioned in my March post, a great increase in transit ridership doesn’t last forever. In fact, ridership levels tend to go up and down each month due to a variety of different factors, including (but not limited to) weather and other unforeseen circumstances, service adjustments (schedule adjustments, route additions/changes/eliminations), funding and finances (both personal finances and the finances of the transit agency), and even rider behavior/trends (for example, are new riders using the system?).

The figures in detail.

So here’s a more detailed breakdown of the numbers, all grabbed from ridership reports put out by the transit agencies. Percent change figures for HART and PSTA are copied directly from the ridership report sections of their board meeting packets. For HRT, their percent change figures are located in the bus ridership section. Respective figures are available for Light Rail and Ferry services.

  • HART
    • April, 2014 against April, 2013
      • Fixed Route Bus: 1,269,526 vs 1,257,728 (+0.9%).
      • Fixed Routes + HART Flex: 1,277,772 vs 1,265,688 (+0.9%).
      • HART Flex: 8,246 vs 7,960 (+3.6%).
      • The TECOline Streetcar: 26,809 vs 21,162 (+26.7%).
      • Top Three Local Routes in Ridership for April, 2014.
        • Route 6: 114,981.
        • Route 1: 104,800.
        • Route 2: 73,994.
    • Non-Comparison Figures:
      • MetroRapid: 53,573.

I wanted to specifically highlight HART’s top three highest ridership bus routes because Route 6 continues to see a rise in usage. So much so, that I expect HART to further increase frequency to the route in the years ahead (barring any unforeseen circumstances). The worst local route in the system in terms of ridership is the In-Town Trolley, with only 2,375 boardings in April. Usage of the line continues to decrease.

The increase in Streetcar usage may have been partially attributed to special events, such as the Stanley Cup playoffs and the International Indian Film Academy Awards. I’m hearing that preliminary May figures are showing a 10% decrease in Streetcar ridership against May, 2013.

May will be the final month by which there will be no revenue service ridership comparison figures for MetroRapid. MetroRapid began revenue service on June 10, but there was a 2-week fare-free period to allow customers to get acquainted with the service and allow HART to smooth out any bumps before the start of revenue service.

  • PSTA
    • Comparison Figures – April, 2014 vs April, 2013:
      • Fixed Route Bus: 1,103,278 vs 1,107,011 (-0.3%).
      • “Other” Bus (includes East Lake Shuttle): 38,501 vs 43,720 (-11.9%).
      • Looper (St. Pete) Trolley: 4,984 vs 6,862 (-27.4%).
      • Jolley (Clearwater) Trolley: 59,068 vs 52,876 (+11.7%).

The whopping 27% decrease in Looper Trolley ridership could largely be attributed to the loss of tourist venues such as the St. Pete Pier. The nearly 12% increase in Jolley Trolley ridership may be attributed to the end of the Spring Break season, as well as ridership along the increasingly popular Safety Harbor/Dunedin branch, which began in February, 2014.

  • HRT
    • Comparison Figures – March, 2014 vs March, 2013:
      • Fixed Route Bus: 1,242,007 vs 1,352,399 (-8.2%).
      • The Tide Light Rail: 126,154 vs 155,329 (-18.7%).
      • Elizabeth River Ferry: 24,602 vs 26,901 (-8.5%).

Like many younger transit services, the Tide Light Rail ridership has fallen from its inaugural year (2012/2013) highs to more “sustainable” levels. I expect that the current trends will largely remain in place, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Sources.

PSTA Service Changes for June 8, 2014

Effective Sunday, June 8, 2014, three Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) bus routes underwent scheduling and/or routing changes to improve efficiency. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Route 30: The Northeast Shopping Center departure at 6:40am was changed to 6:30am in order to optimize transfers to Route 52 at 30th Ave/49th St. See the new schedule.
  • Route 52: Due to the popularity of this route, various frequency and timepoint adjustments were made. See the new schedule.
  • Route 78: Due to construction on Betty Ln, a detour route had been set up along Kings Hwy between Sunset Pt Rd and Union St. By customer request, this detour segment will become permanent, as the revised route provides access to several apartment complexes along the route. See the new schedule.

Source: http://www.psta.net/Improvements_06-14.php

Any questions or concerns regarding these changes should be directed to PSTA. The PSTA InfoLine is (727)-540-1900.

Special Notices – Impostor accounts on social media & other related topics.

Post was last updated on 09/09/2019.
Original post was published on 06/06/2014.


This post is dedicated to discussing a very serious matter revolving around social media – particularly, the rise in fake/impostor accounts.

Seeing fake/impostor accounts on social media is nothing new, but such can inflict major damage to a person’s or business’ reputation & as such, dealing with this matter has to be taken very seriously.

Back in 2014, at the height of the failed Greenlight Pinellas transit sales tax referendum campaign, a group of individuals thought they would be clever enough to create several impostor accounts – including an impostor page attempting to imitate my own Facebook page. This situation was dealt with appropriately & after a thorough review by Facebook, the impostor page & several accompanying fake accounts by these individuals were all deleted.

Now, I have no problem with seeing an occaisonal parody video, page, or profile that is aimed at poking fun at someone or something. However, when it comes to such trying to detrimentally damage someone’s reputation, that is going way too far!

Below, is the wording of the original post.

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