St. Petersburg, Fla. – The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) has been recognized for outstanding achievement and contribution to the region for its new ride-share pilot program, Direct Connect, at the 24th Annual Future of the Region Awards Friday.
The annual awards luncheon, hosted by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, provides honor and recognition for notable achievement in the public and private sector for resource planning and management in the Tampa Bay region.
“This is a great accomplishment not only for PSTA, but for the future of transit in the entire Tampa Bay area, said PSTA Board Chair Darden Rice. “PSTA has a great team of leaders and staff who are committed to innovation and solutions.”
PSTA first launched Direct Connect in February of 2016 as a solution to a very common barrier to public transit use—easy access to a bus stop. Often called the ‘first-mile/last-mile’ challenge, transit agencies across the country find that getting riders to a bus stop is the first step in turning them into public transit users.
“Working with our partners to solve one of the biggest transit challenges in the county has really helped unite our region and strengthen our community,” said PSTA Spokesperson Ashlie Handy. “Together we are better able to provide value to our community and to continue connecting people to opportunities.”
Direct Connect allows riders to use Uber or United Taxi to travel within a specific geographic zone to or from a series of designated stops. From there, riders can connect with the regular PSTA public transit bus system.
"We congratulate PSTA on this well-deserved award,” said General Manager of Uber in Tampa Bay Christine Mitchell. “Uber is proud to partner with innovative organizations such as PSTA to offer Pinellas Park residents our platform to help address the Tampa Bay region's transportation needs."
PSTA, Uber and United Taxi join together to celebrate the success of this first-ever public-private partnership and the recognition of this award.
PSTA Board members and staff accept an award for Transportation & Mobility at the 24th Annual Future of the Region Awards luncheon.
(Standing L to R) Sean Sullivan, Cassandra Borchers, Heather Sobush, Bill Jonson, Chris Cochran, Mark Deighton, Ken Welch, Woody Brown, Cyndi-Raskin Schmitt
(Seated L to R) Julie Bujalski, Patricia Gerard, Janet Long, Brad Miller.
About PSTA: The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is the public transit provider for Pinellas County, providing more than 14.9 million rides per year. PSTA operates nearly 40 bus and trolley routes with a fleet of 210 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.