St. Petersburg, Fla. – Thirteen of the oldest diesel buses at the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) will be replaced with brand new hybrid electric ones set to arrive by next week. Nine have already arrived at PSTA headquarters.
Despite a significant decrease in federal grant funds in recent years as Congressional earmarks were eliminated and bus-specific funding sources were reduced, PSTA continues to prioritize federal dollars on its bus replacement plan. A sustainable capital plan has been the focus of PSTA’s new strategic direction, Path Forward, since it was unanimously voted into effect by the board last month.
“This is the healthiest fleet we have ever had,” said Director of Maintenance Henry Lukasik. “We are really focused on our customers and making sure that they always have a reliable, safe, and environmentally-friendly bus at their disposal.”
The 2015 class of Gillig 40-foot diesel-electric hybrid buses adds to PSTA’s growing number of energy-efficient vehicles. The 61 total hybrid “Smart” buses will now make-up 30% of the nearly 200 public transit buses in Pinellas County.
This year’s purchase of 13 buses was the biggest order PSTA has placed in more than five years. The buses were purchased from Gillig LLC through a cost-saving consortium of all the public transit systems in Florida.
“Gillig is a 100% USA based company and this public investment goes right back into the U.S. economy to help support American Jobs,” said Gillig’s Regional Sales Manager Butch Sibley. “We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality transit buses throughout Florida, and we certainly appreciate PSTA’s business partnership.”
Valued at more than $37 million dollars, PSTA’s fleet of buses is its greatest asset, aside from its employees and valued customers.
PSTA’s long-term capital plan calls for maintaining its mix of approximately one-third hybrid buses for the future, while replacing older diesel buses with new clean diesel buses that have very low emissions, in accordance with the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.
PSTA anticipates that the new buses will be fully deployed into active service by the end of August 2015.
About PSTA: The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is the public transit provider for Pinellas County, providing more than 14.5 million rides per year. PSTA operates nearly 40 bus and trolley routes with a fleet of 203 vehicles. To learn more about the services offered by PSTA, or for schedule and fare information, passengers are invited to call the PSTA InfoLine at (727) 540-1900, or visit . PSTA is an equal opportunity employer.