PSTA Connector (Flex) Service

Page Updated on 2/5/17
Updated Information to reflect the 2/5/17 Service Changes


Service Overview

The PSTA North County Connector is a flexible-route neighborhood circulator service that provides 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 can travel virtually anywhere within the flex zone. Customers can 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 are 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 continues to serve the Palm Harbor and Dunedin communities while a newly created Safety Harbor Connector provides service to the Safety Harbor community.


Fleet

Photo Credit: Carlos A.
The former 1200-series cutaways. Photo Credit: Carlos A.

PSTA originally used a fleet of Ford Econoline 450 cutaway vans for the Connector service. However, it is my understanding that these vans have suffered manufacturer problems and are no longer used. As a result, the fleet of 2002 and 2005 30-foot Gillig Low Floor transit buses are used as a stop-gap measure until PSTA can order new vehicles. Occaisonally, the routes will see one or two 35-foot Gilligs operate.

IMG_20151017_094544
The 2002 and 2005 30-foot Gillig Low Floor buses are being utilized for the North County Connector until new vehicles can be ordered.

 


Practical Information

The next section will go through practical information, such as zones and fares.


Zones

The PSTA Connector currently comprises of three zones; the Dunedin/Palm Harbor area, the Countryside Mall/Boot Ranch/Oldsmar area – which extends into the Town-N-Country area of Hillsborough County via SR 580 and Sheldon Rd (terminating at the HART Northwest Transfer Center), and Safety Harbor. Detailed information about each zone is provided below and all zones are given internal 800-series route numbers. Unlike HART, buses and vans are able to display real-time arrival information, which can be accessed through ridePSTA.net and OneBusAway. On OneBusAway, simply type DPC for the Dunedin/Palm Harbor Connector, OCT for the Countryside/Oldsmar/Tampa Connector, and SHC for the Safety Harbor Connector.

Scheduled departure times for Walk-Up Service are posted on PSTA Connector zone brochures and on PSTA.net (these are subject to change of course).

 

otc-1

  • Westfield Countryside (SR 580 @ Summerdale Dr), Belcher Rd, Curlew Rd, McMullen Booth Rd, Shoppes at Boot Ranch, SR 580, Sheldon Rd, HART Northwest Transfer Center. **Provides connections to the HART system.**
    • Monday through Friday: First round trip departs Westfield Countryside (on-site stop by Dillards) at 8:00am, with service operating every hour thereafter until 5:00pm.
    • Saturday: First round trip departs Westfield Countryside (on-site stop by Dillards) at 9:30am, with service operating every hour thereafter until 4:00pm. There is one last round trip departing Westfield Countryside at 5:15pm, which then departs from the HART Northwest Transfer Center at 6:25pm. This trip then terminates at the Shoppes at Boot Ranch.
    • Full Schedule and Map

dpc-1

  • Westfield Countryside (SR 580 @ Summerdale Dr), Main St (SR 580), Bayshore Blvd, San Christopher Dr, County Rd 1, Tampa Rd, US Alt Hwy 19, Nebraska Ave, US 19, Walmart Palm Harbor.
    • Monday through Friday: First round trip departs Westfield Countryside (on-site stop by Dillards) at 7:00am, with service operating every hour thereafter until 4:00pm.
    • Saturday: First round trip departs Westfield Countryside (on-site stop by Dillards) at 8:30am, with service operating roughly every hour thereafter until 4:25pm.
    • Full Schedule and Map

shc-1

  • Phillipe Park, Safety Harbor Spa, Main St, McMullen Booth Rd, Enterprise Rd, Landmark Dr, Westfield Countryside. **Replaces the Safety Harbor Jolley Trolley Service**
  • Monday through Friday: First round trip departs Westfield Countryside (on-site stop by Dillards) at 6:50am, with service operating every hour thereafter until 4:50pm.
  • Saturday: First round trip departs Westfield Countryside (on-site stop by Dillards) at 8:30am, with service operating every hour thereafter until 4:30pm.
  • Full Schedule and Map

Fares

Unlike HART, there is no special fare category for Connector routes; customers instead pay the standard $2.25 one-way cash fare for a one-way trip, or can purchase a one-day Go Card for $5.00. Reduced fares are accepted, as well as regular and reduced fare 7 and 31-day Go Cards, and the PSTA Platinum Pass. Flamingo Fares are also accepted via the Flamingo Fares Tampa Bay App.


Making a Reservation

PSTA strongly recommends customers to make an advance reservation to be guaranteed a seat. While the 30-foot Gillig Low Floor transit bus can accommodate 26 seated passengers plus standees, the use of these buses is not for the long term – as PSTA is exploring replacement vehicles. Customers can call 727-540-1900 (Option 2) between 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m, Monday through Friday, and between 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m on Saturdays, to make a reservation. Reservations can be made as early as 3 days in advance, to as late as 2 hours prior to the scheduled trip. If a particular trip that you want to take is full, alternate times will be suggested.


Walk-Up Service

All zones currently offer “Walk-up” service by which a customer can walk up to any designated PSTA bus stop (with a Connector decal) and wait for the Connector van to arrive. However, walk-up service is first-come, first-served, depending on how full the bus is.


Take your bike with you!

All PSTA Connector vans are equipped with bike racks (maximum of two bikes per bus), and folding bicycles are permitted onboard all vans. No permit is required, but if you’re a first-time user, you can set up a brief training demonstration by contacting PSTA at 727-540-1900. Step-by-step instructions are also available at PSTA.net.

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