PSTA has been planning premium transit options for the past several decades – which includes Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) & Light Rail Transit (LRT). While plans for LRT have eluded Pinellas County due to the difficulty in passing a voter referendum aimed at providing dedicated transportation funding, the county – along with PSTA – has been able to obtain all of the necessary resources to plan, construct, & open the SunRunner. The SunRunner is the first arterial BRT line in West Central Florida to feature many of the hallmarks that arterial BRT provides – including level boarding platforms, uniquely branded stations, semi-dedicated lanes, & fast, frequent, & reliable service.
The SunRunner will operate between Downtown St. Petersburg & St. Pete Beach via 1st Ave N (westbound) & 1st Ave S (eastbound), as well as Pasadena Ave, the Corey Causeway, & Gulf Blvd. With limited stops, semi-dedicated bus lanes, & transit signal priority (TSP), tourists & residents alike will be whisked between the two destinations in a average span of 35 minutes.
As the SunRunner system gradually expands, this page will be further modified to include information on future routes. To the right is the route map for the initial SunRunner service. The 1st Ave N, 1st Ave S, & Pasadena Ave corridors will feature what is known as Business Access Transit (BAT) lanes. While these lanes will be mainly restricted to buses operating on SunRunner, normal vehicles are permitted to make turns where designated. PSTA staff & maintenance vehicles, as well as emergency vehicles, will also have access to these lanes when needed. The remainder of the corridor will have buses operate in mixed traffic due to roadway constraints.
All images used in this section are credited to PSTA.
The SunRunner’s initial line will include the following for customer comfort & convenience.
- Streamlined, contactless fare payment: Customers will solely pay for their fare using the regional Flamingo Fares fare payment program, which comprises of either a tap-&-go fare card or a smartphone app. Customers may download the Flamingo Fares app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Fare cards can be purchased from any PSTA customer service facility or from participating merchants (see the PSTA website for a listing of merchant locations). Plans are in the works to allow mobile wallet functionalities such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, & Samsung Pay.
- Easy entry & exit: All SunRunner buses will employ all-door boarding & alighting, meaning both the front & rear doors can be used for entry. The Flamingo Fares validator device will be located next to each door as you board. If using a mobility device, signal to the operator that you wish to have the wheelchair ramp lowered & enter through the front door.
- Level boarding platforms: All stations will have raised platforms that are flush with the doors of the bus so that customers won’t have to step up or down to enter or exit the bus. This also makes it easier for customers using mobility aids to board.
- Information displays: At most stations, LCD screens will be installed to display important information, including when the next bus will arrive.
- Artistic station canopies: At most stations along the dedicated lane infrastructure portion (1st Ave N & 1st Ave S), as well as the Downtown St. Pete terminus station, sheltered canopies will be installed. These canopies will include art by which local artist Catharine Woods has been enlisted to create.
- On-board (interior) bike racks: Special bike racks located inside each bus will allow for efficient securing of your bike & allow for faster boarding in-turn.
- Wi-Fi & USB charging ports: As with the rest of the PSTA system, Wi-Fi access will be available on all SunRunner buses. Buses are also equipped with USB charging ports.
The SunRunner will use an initial fleet of nine 2021 40′ Gillig BRT Plus diesel-electric hybrid buses. These buses are similar in nature to the mainstay hybrid bus fleet that was produced after 2015, but with a sleeker roof design, one-piece windshield, & BRT style rearview mirrors. Buses also are equipped with the plug style rear door, making it easier for customers to board & alight. As service expands, more buses will be acquired.
Because these buses are among the newest generation of diesel-electric hybrids, they run much more quieter than their older counterparts & the diesel engine only exists to recharge the rooftop batteries when needed. In order to minimize emissions in certain residential areas of St. Pete, buses will operate in battery-only mode along portions of the SunRunner route.
Need More Information?
As construction of the initial SunRunner system gets underway, the PSTA website will be updated with all of the information that you need. You can also contact the agency directly if you have questions or concerns that aren’t covered on the web page.