Our August Showcase photo came in a bit late here on the website due to some personal obligations. However, it’s better late than never that I get this next post up, so…with that, we continue our journey across the US. Where to next you ask?
This month, we travel back to the Tampa Bay area to visit my current home transit system – the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA).
PSTA was established in 1982, when the St. Petersburg Municipal Transit System & the Central Pinellas Transit Authority merged to create one unified, countywide entity. PSTA currently operates roughly 40 bus routes with roughly 200 transit vehicles. The agency also provides support to the St. Petersburg Downtown Trolley (a.k.a. the “Looper”), the Clearwater Jolley Trolley, & participates in several different mobility partnerships across Pinellas County.
While PSTA does its best to provide efficient service throughout Pinellas, the agency has been dealing with many financial constraints that limits its potential. This problem is echoed by many transit agencies across the nation & is not expected to get much better unless new long-term funding sources are opened.
The photo above is of one of PSTA’s newest buses, # 19102, which is a 2019 35-foot Gillig Low Floor hybrid with the BRT style front. PSTA has gained a total of 20 transit buses & 8 cutaway vans during the past two years that have allowed the agency to rid itself of all of its 2001 & 2002-era buses, as well as a few of the worst performing 2008-series buses.
Next year’s bus order is slated to be rather large as well – with 19 replacement replica trolley buses to replace the aging 2007, 2008, & 2009 models, as well as roughly 15 more buses for the planned Central Ave BRT project. Additionally, there may be a provision – depending on funding – for up to 10 additional regular service buses. So thus, PSTA may very well be able to order a total of 44 buses.