Columbus Day Holiday 2015 Transit Schedule

Columbus Day 2015 Banner 2

Monday, October 12, 2015 is Columbus Day. Unlike most Federal holidays, where transit services are typically limited to weekend-level services, most transit districts tend to operate on a typical weekday schedule on Columbus Day, with some districts operating weekday services with modifications.

In the Tampa Bay Area, all area transit districts (HART, PSTA, MCAT, SCAT, PCPT, and Hernando THEbus) will operate on a normal weekday schedule. This includes the TECOline Streetcar, HART MetroRapid, HART and PSTA flex bus services, and various trolleybus routes throughout the metro area.

In the Hampton Roads Area, all HRT services (bus, LRT, and ferry) will also operate on a normal weekday schedule. However, MAX (Express) routes 918, 919, 922, and 965 will NOT operate.

If you have any questions regarding holiday transit services, please contact your respective transit district for details. Customer service centers will be open normal hours (unless otherwise specified by the transit district).


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Legalese | Disclosures

New PSTA Fare Structure – Effective October 11, 2015

PSTA Fare Change Banner 1

In addition to the service changes mentioned yesterday, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is also enacting a fare structure change on Sunday, October 11, 2015. Please see below for details.

New PSTA Fare Structure

Cash Fare

  • Regular One-Way Cash Fare:
    • OLD: $2.00
    • NEW: $2.25
  • Reduced One-Way Cash Fare:
    • OLD: $1.00
    • NEW: $1.10
  • Express Cash Fare:
    • NO CHANGE – Currently at $3.00
    • NO CHANGES TO THE REDUCED FARE – Currently $1.50

PSTA GO Cards

  • 1-Day GO Card:
    • OLD: $4.50
    • NEW: $5.00
    • Reduced will go from $2.25 to $2.50
  • 7-Day GO Card:
    • OLD: $20.00
    • NEW: $25.00
    • Reduced category created at $12.50**
  • 31-Day GO Card:
    • OLD: $65.00
    • NEW: $70.00
    • Reduced would remain unchanged at $35.00
  • PSTA/HART Passport: NO CHANGE – Currently at $85.00
  • 20-Ride Premium Fare GO Card (Express Routes ONLY): NO CHANGE – Currently at $48.00 – Valid through 12/31/15 ONLY

TRANSPORTATION DISADVANTAGED

  • Transportation Disadvantaged 10-Day: NO CHANGE – Currently at $5.00
  • Transportation Disadvantaged 31-Day: Fare will go from $8.25 to $11.00

Fare Guidelines

  • Reduced Fare now includes adult students, youth 18 and younger as well as people with disabilities and Medicare cardholders.
  • **Will be sold as a Platinum Pass until new 7-Day Reduced GO Cards are available.

Preview of the Regional Fares

Additionally, with the regional farebox plan materializing, we are getting our first look at what the regional fares might look like.

Please note that the implementation of the Regional Fare System is dependent on participating agencies receiving required state funding.

  • 1-Way Cash Fare: $3.00, with a reduced fare of $1.50.
  • 1-Day Category: $6.00.
  • 3-Day Category: $18.00.
  • 7-Day Category: $30.00.
  • 31-Day Category: $85.00.

PSTA Fall 2015 Service Changes

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It’s that time of year again, time for the fall transit schedule markup! PSTA normally enacts its fall service changes towards the start of the new Fiscal Year in October. This year’s changes will involve routing changes in around the Tyrone Square Mall area for Routes 18, 20, 23, 38, 62, 68, 73, 75, and 79. Timepoint changes are being made to the Central Ave Trolley (CAT) in order to reflect specific changes made to landmarks in the downtown St. Pete area. The CAT will also see it’s $2.00 fare zone increase to $2.25 in tandem with the upcoming fare changes (which will be discussed in tomorrow’s blog post).

The biggest changes of this markup cycle however are the elimination of the East Lake Flex Connector, as well as Routes 1 and 30. All three routes have suffered from low ridership and PSTA can utilize the cost savings of running these routes to better focus on routes that remain crucial to its network. Routes 1 and 30  will be replaced by a shorter Route 22, which will run along 22nd Ave N. The segment of Route 1 that is not seeing a replacement, which runs along 1st St N, is within walking distance of the more frequent Route 4.

For schedules, maps, and additional information on these changes, please visit PSTA.net.


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Legalese | Disclosures

Will the Tampa Bay Region FINALLY see commuter rail?

In a Tampa Bay Times article yesterday, it was revealed that CSX Transportation was finally letting up to the possibility of selling two key freight rail lines to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in the same manner that it did with another key rail line that is now a part of SunRail in Metro Orlando. While this is great news for the region, many concerns have been raised as to how and if the plan will ever materialize. CSX has been in talks with FDOT for at least several months now, but the issue at hand has been in the minds of many within the local transportation realm for years.

What are the two rail lines?

The two rail corridors in question includes the north-south line that runs from Brooksville, closely paralleling US Highway 41 until it reaches northern Hillsborough County, skirts past the University area, and ends in downtown Tampa, with another spur leading into South Tampa (the Times article does not mention the South Tampa spur however). The other corridor branches off from the Brooksville line at Busch Blvd and parallels the roadway and Linebaugh Ave in an east-west direction, connecting to a spur towards Tampa International Airport, before swooping into Pinellas County and eventually Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

Will CSX ask for a reasonable purchase price?

One huge concern that I have, is the cost of purchasing these two lines. A couple of people that I’ve talked to in the past have expressed that the only way CSX will put these lines up for sale is if they do so at a ridiculously high price. Something that would force FDOT to walk away without any compromise. However, I know that with what was able to materialize with SunRail, something can be done to ultimately bring the price down some while continuing to give CSX its portion.

Along with the purchase price, another unclear batch of costs includes building stations, parking facilities, purchasing rolling stock, and double-tracking the corridors.

Everyone MUST be involved in the process!

And when I say EVERYONE, I mean FDOT, the commissions of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando counties, AND every municipality within those counties (especially those who lie along the corridor). Plus, we will need to have the involvement of state representatives and senators, MPOs, and even TBARTA (although the state never gave the latter the powers it needs to actually operate as a regional transportation authority instead of just a planning body). Without this political unity, the entire plan stands to fall right through the cracks, just like every single past transportation initiative and Go Hillsborough. If Metro Orlando can have this kind of political unity to have saved SunRail from the chopping block of Governor Rick Scott, then why can’t Tampa Bay have the same? The answer lies in the next segment of this post.

Enough of the squabbling!!!

This news comes after the Times wrote a scathing op-ed about the Tampa Bay Region’s lack of local leadership and why it has largely contributed to not just the failed transportation initiatives, but also shortcomings in education, as well as the ongoing stalemate between St. Pete and the Tampa Bay Rays on a new stadium. This is also the same reason why FDOT is pushing so hard to build Tampa Bay Express (TBX). The problem at hand is that no one at the municipal and county levels want to work together in most situations. I’ve in fact seen countless times where mayors, city council members, county commissioners, etc. have done nothing but squabble in disagreement amongst themselves instead of working together towards one common goal. Because of this, I see our elected officials only working only for “me, myself, and I”, and not for their constituents who put them in office to begin with.

This individualistic mentality has got to end immediately! Especially when we are dealt with a regional situation like this. Instead, all of our elected officials need to start coming together and working together AS A REGION in order to tackle the big issues that affect all of us…whether it be transportation, education, or sports teams and venues. Otherwise, we will pay an extremely hefty price when these same powers to be, despite community opposition, allow TBX to be built in its entirety with no alternative transit option. Because at the end of the day, if we fail to work together AS A REGION, FDOT will simply walk away from this prospect with CSX and will instead continue to only focus on TBX. And finally, if the powers to be cannot do their jobs as promised, they all should not expect to be re-elected in the next election cycle.


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Legalese | Disclosures