Historical Notes for PSTA

Information regarding defunct services & other historical notes.


Page was last updated on 06/06/2020.


This page is dedicated to routes & services that PSTA no longer operates, as well as other historical notes about the agency.


  • Defunct PSTA Fixed Routes
  • PSTA North County Flex Connector

Defunct PSTA Fixed Routes

Like any transit agency, PSTA has had its share of routes that have been discontinued – whether it was due to lower ridership levels, funding issues, or a partnership discontinuation. Below is a listing of PSTA routes that were once in service & the destinations they served. The information listed was obtained from the Wayback Machine.

  • Route 1: 1st St NE Shopper – This Monday through Saturday route once connected the Gateway area of Pinellas to Downtown St. Petersburg via 1st St NE, connecting customers to Gateway Mall, Northeast Shopping Center, Historic Old Northeast, & a portion of the Edgemoor neighborhood. The route was eliminated in 2015 due to ultra-low ridership.
  • Routes 3 & 35: Central Ave/Beaches: The 3 & 35 basically leap-frogged each other along the Central Ave corridor between Downtown St. Petersburg & Pasadena Ave S in terms of frequency. Basically, both routes had staggered departure times so that each route had a bus traversing Central Ave every 30 minutes combined, but individual frequency was every hour. The 3 was discontinued prior to 2015 & my understanding was due to the city of Treasure Island no longer wishing to fund direct bus service between its jurisdiction & St. Pete. As a result, Route 35 service was optimized & eventually, the service morphed into today’s Central Ave Trolley.
  • Route 30: 30th Ave N – This Monday through Saturday route traversed the 30th Ave N corridor between Historic Old Northeast & Tyrone Square Mall, as well as connected to Downtown St. Petersburg. The route was eliminated in 2015 due to ultra-low ridership.
  • Route 64: Tarpon Springs/Oldsmar – This weekday only service once connected Tarpon Springs (the current transfer point at Huey Ave & Tarpon Ave) to Oldsmar via Tampa Rd. The route also served the Tri-County Business Park off Race Track Rd (this goes back to when Hillsborough Area Regional Transit ran their defunct Route 58LX & 59LX services to the same business park). There was also a Park-N-Ride Lot off Hwy 580 to help facilitate ridership to & from the business park. However, with shifting demographic & commuting tastes, ridership faltered & all three routes (the 64 & both HART services) were discontinued.
  • Route 80: Clearwater Beach Circulator – The 80 pre-dated today’s Suncoast Beach Trolley & circulated around Clearwater Beach, connecting tourists & residents between the beach & the Park St Terminal in downtown Clearwater.
  • Route 82: Clearwater/Countryside via Safety Harbor – This Monday through Saturday route traversed areas of northern Pinellas between Park St Terminal & Westfield Countryside Mall that are now served by either Route 78 or 814, though a portion along Sunset Point Rd lost service completely when the 82 was eliminated. There was also a branch that served the Clearwater Fundamental Middle School on weekdays – which is now taken up by Route 66L.
  • Route 91: East St. Petersburg/Oldsmar Commuter – This weekday peak only commuter was among several such routes that were abolished during the course of the 2010s due to shifting commuting patterns. It connected customers from the Hwy 580 Park-N-Ride Lot in Oldsmar to the Grand Central District & Highland Oaks neighborhood of St. Pete.
  • Route 92: Clearwater/Oldsmar Commuter – This weekday peak only commuter was another 90-series route that was eventually eliminated due to shifting commuting patterns. It connected customers from the Hwy 580 Park-N-Ride Lot in Oldsmar to Downtown Clearwater.
  • Route 94: Tarpon Springs/Clearwater Fundamental Middle School Tripper – This was a dedicated school tripper route that served the Clearwater Fundamental Middle School on weekdays.
  • Route 96: South St. Pete/Carillon Commuter – This was one of three 90-series commuter routes that were originally designed to serve the Carillon Business Park in the northern Gateway area of St. Pete. This route traveled from the Skyway Marina District of south St. Pete to Grand Central Station, & then up I-275 to Carillon, & then terminating at the ICOT Center Business Park off Ulmerton Rd.
  • Route 97: Downtown St. Pete/Carillon Commuter – This was the second of three 90-series routes to connect customers to the Carillon Business Park. It traversed 1st Ave N/S between Downtown St. Pete & Grand Central Station, then up 49th St N to the PSTA 34th St N Transfer Center, Carillon, & then the Pinellas County Justice Center off 49th St N. This & the 98 were replaced by Route 52LX in 2019.
  • Route 98: Downtown Clearwater/Carillon Commuter – This was the third of three 90-series routes to connect customers to the Carillon Business Park. It traversed Clearwater-Largo Rd from the Park St Terminal, then traveled east-west along E/W Bay Dr, past the Pinellas County Justice Center on 49th St N, then served the PSTA 34th St N Transfer Center & Carillon. This & the 97 were replaced by the 52LX in 2019.
  • Route 444: Pinellas Park Circulator – This was the oddball route of them all when it comes to the PSTA system, yes we’re not talking about the Wendy’s 4 for 4 deal here. This was a circulator that served many destinations within Pinellas Park – including Shoppes at Park Place (previously known as ParkSide Mall). The route’s ridership dropped over time as commuting habits changed & it was eventually eliminated in 2016 in favor of the PSTA Direct Connect program & other PSTA routes.

Now, keep in mind that the above list encompasses just a portion of PSTA’s overall history. Many other routes once existed – including those that didn’t survive past 1980, which was just prior to the merger of the St. Pete & Central Pinellas bus systems.


PSTA North County Connector

The PSTA North County Connector was a flexible-route neighborhood circulator service that provided a combination of door-to-door service via advance reservation and travel along a fixed circulatory route serving designated stops. A fleet of cutaway vans enable customers to travel from their doorstep to school, work, shopping, and other local destinations within their flex zone.

With a reservation, one could travel virtually anywhere within the flex zone. Customers could also walk up to designated stops along the fixed route and wait for the van to arrive, just like a regular fixed bus route. Connections to points of interest (such as schools, shopping centers, and government buildings) and PSTA Local routes were made at specific points within the flex zone.


History

Following the launch of HART Flex by Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), PSTA was already planning its own flex van service aimed at serving residents in northern Pinellas County, most of which had no access to transit services. Additionally, much of northern Pinellas mainly comprises of subdivisions by which normal transit buses are too large to access, making the use of cutaway vans more viable to carry out the services needed. Three flex zones were identified; Oldsmar/Countryside/Tampa, Dunedin/Palm Harbor, and East Lake, which all began service on December 10, 2012. While the Oldsmar/Countryside/Tampa and Dunedin zones have become sustainable, the East Lake zone suffered lower than projected ridership and as a result, was eliminated on October 11, 2015.

In October of 2016, changes were made to both the Oldsmar/Tampa and the Dunedin/Palm Harbor Connector Routes to serve areas with higher demand. In February of 2017, the Dunedin/Palm Harbor Connector was split into two routes at Westfield Countryside. The Dunedin/Palm Harbor Connector continued to serve the Palm Harbor and Dunedin communities while the Safety Harbor Connector provides service to the Safety Harbor community.

In October of 2019, PSTA discontinued providing flex service due to low usage of flex deviations & vans chronically running behind schedule due to such deviations – despite efforts to build extra time into the printed schedules. The three existing flex routes were then converted into standard fixed routes.


Fleet

Photo Credit: Carlos A.
The original North County Connector cutaway van fleet comprised of 2012-series Ford Econoline 450 vehicles, #’s 1225 through 1232. Photo credit: Carlos A.

When the North County Connector first launched in 2012, a fleet of eight Ford Econoline cutaway vans were ordered. However, they were phased out in 2015 apparently due to manufacturer defects. Overall, these vans only saw a maximum of about two years in service before being pulled out of service. As a result, two 2002-series and five 2005-series 30-foot Gillig Low Floor transit buses have been retained as a stopgap measure until new cutaway vans could be ordered.

IMG_20151017_094544
#2530 on layover at Shoppes at Boot Ranch. This is one of five 2005-series 30-foot Gilligs that were retained for North County Connector service until new cutaway vans could be ordered.

At the beginning of 2018, PSTA ordered eight new 2018-series Freightliner Defender cutaway vans, #’s 1801 through 1808. These were delivered in November, 2018 and were placed into service in January, 2019. The introduction of these vans have effectively sidelined the 30-foot Gilligs, though the latter are being retained for now used as spares if needed.


Flex Zones

The North County Connector comprised of the following zones.

  • East Lake (Route 811):
    • Service from Shoppes at Boot Ranch to Tarpon Mall.
    • Eliminated in 2015 due to low usage.
  • Tampa/Oldsmar Connector (Route 812):
    • Service from Westfield Countryside Mall to the HART Northwest Transfer Center in Town-N-Country via Shoppes at Boot Ranch and Oldsmar (via State Rd 580).
  • Dunedin/Palm Harbor Connector (Route 813):
    • Service from Westfield Countryside Mall to the Palm Harbor WalMart (Alderman Rd and US Hwy 19) via downtown Dunedin (State Rd 580).
  • Safety Harbor Connector (Route 814):
    • Service from Westfield Countryside Mall to Phillippe Park via McMullen Booth Rd and downtown Safety Harbor (Main St).