LAST UPDATE: 10/11/2021
Welcome Aboard PSTA!
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is the public transit district in Pinellas County, Florida, covering the municipalities of St. Petersburg, Largo, Clearwater, and numerous smaller cities and towns within the county. PSTA was established by an act of the Florida Legislature in 1982 and simultaneously resulted from the merger of the St. Petersburg Municipal Transit System and the Central Pinellas Transit Authority.
The PSTA system comprises of roughly 40 fixed route local, express, and trolley bus routes. The agency also partners with the city of St. Petersburg and other mutual parties to support the St. Petersburg Downtown Looper Trolley, and has a similar partnership with the Clearwater Jolley Trolley. PSTA Access Paratransit services are currently contracted out to First Transit & Bay Area Metro LLC. The former handles all wheelchair van trips & most ambulatory sedan trips. The latter handles the remaining portion of ambulatory sedan trips.
The remainder of this page will go through a general overview of the PSTA bus system; including the structure by which PSTA bus routes operate on, transit centers and other major bus transfer points, and customer information such as current fares.
New to the system? Please read through my Transit 101 posts to get a general overview of how to use public transit. For specific information pertaining to PSTA, please visit their website.
PSTA currently operates on a hybrid network; comprising of elements of a true grid – where transfers are done at key intersections, and traditional hub-spoke – where multiple routes converge on a single hub to allow for seamless transfer. Like many transit agencies across the US, PSTA is slowly evolving into a more grid-like system so some transfer hubs that were prominent back in the 1980s and 90s are slowly being phased out.
There are a total of 42 routes in the PSTA network – with all of them being fixed routes (the North County Connector routes were converted over to fixed-based routes on 10/20/2019). Out of the 39 fixed routes, there are two trolley services that are solely operated by PSTA, with a third that is jointly operated between PSTA and its partners (the Downtown St. Pete Looper), one limited-run weekday-only local route (the 66L), one limited express route (the 52LX), and two cross-bay regional express routes (the 100X & 300X).
Additionally, PSTA operates the East Lake Shuttle, provides support to the Clearwater Jolley Trolley, operates Direct Connect (First Mile-Last Mile Program) & TD Late Shift (Transportation Disadvantaged Late-Night/Overnight Transportation Program) with its partners, & even recently launched a pilot microtransit program with its partners in Tarpon Springs (Healthy HOP). Together, all of these services provide vital transportation to all residents and visitors of Pinellas.
On February 14, 2016, PSTA shifted all of its Downtown St. Petersburg originating bus routes from a transfer hub at Williams Park to a grid system where transfers are made street-side. This allows for better flowing of routes while maintaining close proximity to various downtown attractions.
The Customer Service Center on the northern end of Williams Park (on 2nd Ave N) will be maintained until further notice.
You can see above the differences between when bus routes hubbed out of Williams Park versus the network today. The use of Williams Park as a bus hub dates back to when SPMTS was still in existence.
Situated along Central Ave by US Highway 19 is the Grand Central Station (originally called the Central Plaza Terminal), serving the needs of the Grand Central District. This circular intermodal hub opened in 2002 and comprises of 12 bus loading bays, restrooms, real-time information displays, and a dual-window Customer Service Center. The hub currently serves Routes 5, 7, 9, 11, 14, 15, 18, 34, 52, 52LX, 79, 90, & the Central Ave Trolley.
On 04/01/2016, Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) began its Skyway ConneXion express route into Pinellas. While buses traverse US 19 (34th St N) adjacent to Grand Central Station, MCAT buses do not enter the terminal. Below is a diagram of where PSTA customers can board the MCAT route.
Located in the heart of downtown Clearwater, the Park Street Terminal has been serving the needs of northwest Pinellas transit customers since 1983. The hub has seen several upgrades over the years, including the installation of real-time information displays, roofing and cement slab work, and the addition of a modernized Customer Service Center. The hub is currently home to Routes 18, 52, 52LX, 60, 61, 65, 66L, 67, 73, 76, 78, & the Suncoast Beach Trolley. The facility is also a pick-up/drop-off point for Direct Connect.
While the facility will be around for at least a couple more years, there are long-term plans to replace it with a larger and more modern facility that can better serve the transit needs of Clearwater going into 2025 and beyond. Additionally, PSTA’s newest buses cannot serve the existing facility due to its lower clearance.
Located behind the Shoppes at Park Place, the Pinellas Park Transfer Center serves Routes 11, 19, 52, 52LX, 74, & 75.
The facility is also a pick-up/drop-off point for Direct Connect. In January, 2015, a new Customer Service Center building opened, equipped with customer and operator restrooms. This center allows Central Pinellas transit customers to seek transit information more quickly and efficiently.
On 09/01/2019, PSTA entered into an agreement with Greyhound Lines Inc (which was approved by the PSTA board on 08/28/2019) to allow the latter to use the Pinellas Park Transit Center complex for boarding & de-boarding of their buses – allowing customers to easily connect into the PSTA system from a central location. This also allows customers to traverse to & from various Florida destinations throughout the week. In addition, Greyhound utilizes the eastern window at the customer service center building for ticketing & customer service functions. PSTA will continue to utilize the western window for its customer service functions. Greyhound began using the southern bus bay portion by Shelter A on 09/23/2019, with a ribbon cutting ceremony held that morning.
Located on the east side of the WalMart SuperCenter on US Hwy 19 and Roosevelt Blvd (where Roosevelt turns into East Bay Dr on the west side of 19), the Largo Transfer Center serves Routes 19, 34, 52, 52LX, & 79. The facility is equipped with a spacious boarding platform and four shelters, and replaces the transfer point at Tri-City Plaza, which is currently undergoing redevelopment. Stops by the plaza will continue to be served, but the routes have been re-aligned to service the new facility.
In addition to these transit centers, PSTA has several unified transfer points by which several routes will converge at to allow seamless transfers throughout Pinellas County.
All bus boarding location charts from PSTA.net are included in the list as applicable. Please note that smaller transfer points do not have bus bay or lineup assignments.
Service schedules vary throughout the PSTA system. While most routes operate 7 days a week, some lesser-used suburban routes do not have Sunday service. Routes 52LX, 58, 66L, 100X, & 300X only operate on weekdays – primarily during peak hours. Please visit PSTA.net to see which days of the week your particular route operates and to see route frequency. I hope to have a route matrix posted here in the distant future.
On the following major holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, PSTA will operate a Sunday-level schedule. On all other holidays, as well as Black Friday and Christmas Eve, buses will operate a normal Weekday schedule – though exceptions may apply in the form that PSTA will dictate as far ahead as possible as to whether or not to operate Routes 100X & 300X.
I usually try to blog about upcoming holiday service schedules approximately 2 weeks prior to the upcoming holiday. Please keep in mind that routes that normally do not operate on Sundays will not operate on the selected holidays above either, regardless of the day of the week that the holiday falls upon.
PSTA has temporarily suspended all fare collection across all routes until further notice due to Covid-19.
All PSTA-owned vehicles (including vans used for the 800-series routes) are equipped with bike racks (can accommodate a maximum of two bikes, Looper replica trolleys are currently not equipped with racks). Additionally, folding bikes are allowed on board, given that they are properly packed/folded and are not blocking aisles. Please see my Transit 101 blog post regarding Bikes on Transit to learn how to use the on-board bike rack. You can also contact PSTA at 727-540-1900 to set up a demonstration.
The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (or TBARTA) provides alternative transportation solutions to help ease congestion along Bay Area roadways. These services include carpooling/vanpooling services, a bike buddy service, and the Emergency Ride Home program. Visit the TBARTA Commuter Services Website, or call 1-800-998-RIDE for further information. USF Tampa students can also take part in these wonderful services, including Emergency Ride Home!
Please keep in mind that information on this page is subject to change, especially things like schedules and fares. I do try my best to keep things as accurate as possible, but sometimes things change without notice. To obtain the latest information, please visit PSTA.net, or call (727)-540-1900.
Please be patient as I continue to work on this section. I will have much more to come soon!