In the second part of this series, I will take a look at the changes being proposed for Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) routes 61, 62, 66, and 67, and the proposal to create Route 65. If you did not get to read over my first post, you can do so here.
Map Showing Routes 4, 9, 16, 19, 34, & 59. Map does not show Route 18 because its routing is not being drastically changed.
Map Showing Routes 61, 62, 65, 66, & 74. Map does not show Route 67 because its routing is not being drastically changed.
Overview: Route 61 currently operates between Dunedin and the Indian Rocks Shopping Center 7 days a week. Buses run hourly Monday through Saturday, and every hour to two hours on Sundays.
What does PSTA want to do?: Under the proposal being presented for October, 2016, The northern terminus will shift from is current loop along Keene Rd (CR 1), Michigan Blvd, and Pinehurst Rd, to Westfield Countryside Mall. Additionally, the north-south segment in Dunedin – currently operating along Douglas Ave, will shift to Patricia Ave between Sunset Point and SR 580.
My opinion: Making this shift will allow for another option for customers to connect to Dunedin from Westfield Countryside. The shift will also allow for local service to be maintained along Patricia Ave/Highland Ave if the changes for Route 66 move forth.
My suggestions: None, really. Carry forth with the proposal for the 61.
Overview: Route 62 currently connects the Shoppes at Boot Ranch and Tyrone Square Mall via Belcher Rd, Westfield Countryside, and Safety Harbor. Buses operate roughly every hour Monday through Friday, and every hour to two hours on Saturdays. There is no Sunday or Holiday service.
What does PSTA want to do?: The Safety Harbor portion would be eliminated in favor of a re-alignment down Belcher Rd from the Countryside area. The Safety Harbor portion would then be picked up by an optimized Dunedin/Palm Harbor Flex Connector.
My opinion: Streamlining the 62 would allow for better service along Belcher, while still maintaining a connection between Boot Ranch and Countryside. I’ve always felt that a fixed bus route through Safety Harbor was not really necessary due to limited ridership, and feel that the area would be better served by an optimized Jolley Trolley and a Flex Van Zone.
My suggestions: I think that PSTA should explore having an hourly route along Sunset Point Blvd to facilitate basic bus service along that corridor. However, I do realize that PSTA probably does not have the resources to begin that service anytime soon.
Overview: Route 66 currently connects Tarpon Springs with the Indian Rocks Shopping Center. This route operates hourly Monday through Saturday and every two hours on Sundays. There is a lot of zig-zagging along this long route, which does make it unreliable for some. In addition, the 66 is the only PSTA bus route to make two daytime school runs to the Clearwater Fundamental Middle School when classes are in session.
What does PSTA want to do?: Route 66 would see the most dramatic change in Northern Pinellas. The segment south of the Park St Terminal will be relegated to a new Route 65, and the the northern portion going from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs would be combined with an optimized Jolley Trolley Coastal Route. The route number of 66 would be retained as a Limted Stop service (Route 66L) with buses making limited stops from Tarpon Springs to Morton Plant Hospital via the Park St Terminal and the Clearwater Fundamental Middle School. The loop at Tarpon Ave and Huey Ave will be eliminated in favor of an optimized Route 19.
My opinion: Allowing for these changes will most definitely streamline bus service along the Clearwater/Tarpon Springs coastal region while maintaining basic bus service for affected communities.
My suggestions: None, really. Carry forth with the proposal for the 66.
Overview: Route 67 links Oldsmar to the Countryside area and Clearwater. The route currently operates hourly Monday through Saturday, with no Sunday or Holiday service.
What does PSTA wants to do?: Route 67 would be able to serve the Nielsen Media Research campus on all trips, instead of just selected trips as it does now.
My opinion: Allowing this change will bring forth better service for those who work at the Nielsen campus. There also would not be much service lost along corridors that would no longer be served by the 67 because the Oldsmar/Tampa/Countryside Flex Connector already travels through the area and would be able to deviate if needed.
My suggestions: None, really. Carry forth with the proposal for the 67.
If approved, Route 65 would take over local segments south of the Park St Terminal in Clearwater that is currently served by Route 66, as well as the northeastern portion of Route 74 from the Indian Rocks Shopping Center to Seminole Mall (Route 74’s changes will be described in Part 3). The new route’s span of service and frequency will be similar to what currently operates.
Please refer to PSTA’s documents provided in this post for a full overview of the proposals. The proposals will be voted on this upcoming Wednesday, June 22, 2016 during the 9:00AM June Board Meeting. The meeting will be held at the PSTA Facility Boardroom – 3201 Scherer Dr, St. Petersburg, FL 33716. If you are unable to attend, you can send an email with your concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information, you can call PSTA at (727) 540-1900.
Part 3 will cover PSTA Route 74, the PSTA North County Connector Routes, and the Jolley Trolley.