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PSTA Develops Transit Plans Including Driver Safety Measures and Service Reductions in Response to COVID-19

March 21, 2020


PSTA Develops Transit Plans Including Driver Safety Measures and Service Reductions in Response to COVID-19


St. Petersburg, Fla – In response to the growing COVID-19 emergency and its impacts on the safety of our operators, customers and community, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) announced a series of initiatives on Friday to modify how transit services operate while keeping employees and those community members who need to ride transit as safe as possible.  Effective immediately, PSTA is allowing bus drivers to limit the number of riders on their bus to no more than 10 people at any given time, require patrons to use the rear door of the buses, and is planning to scale back overall service levels by approximately 40% starting Sunday, March 29th, 2020. 

“Usually we always thank people for choosing to ride transit.” said Brad Miller, Chief Executive Officer of PSTA, “But of course, now everything has changed. I am hoping everyone practices social distancing and allows the buses to be used by only those who have no option but to use transit to get to essential work, medical appointments or the grocery store.”

The transit agency has been taking steps for weeks to increase vehicle cleaning and operator-safety, but the plans announced Friday increase those efforts further and for the first time introduce overall service reductions.   

Masks and gloves have been distributed to bus operators for the past two weeks and the operator safety shields installed on most buses have proven helpful in enforcing distancing between drivers and passengers.  Last week, PSTA enhanced these efforts by suspended collection of fares at the bus’s front door to reduce crowding and requiring patrons to use the bus’s back door.  Now, PSTA Bus operators have the discretion to limit the number of passengers on a bus to no more than 10 at any time and radio in requests for additional buses if needed to keep passengers separated. PSTA will station extra buses at peak boarding locations.  These efforts will all reduce crowding and limit exposure to passengers and bus operators.   

While PSTA already suspended certain transit services due to cancellations like its Spring Training baseball shuttles and Clearwater Beach Spring Break shuttle, starting Sunday, March 29th, 2020 until further notice, all transit services will be scaled back to a Saturday level of service (all services will end at 10 p.m.). It equates to approximately a 40% reduction in weekday service. As more and more businesses close and travel is discouraged, this will increase the number of transit employees that can stay home by more than 100 while maintaining a vital transportation option for those who have no other option.   

At PSTA, we understand that this will impact the lives of many of our riders, and we sincerely apologize for challenges this may present. This is a unique time in our history, and we are adjusting, like so many public agencies, in order to keep people safe. As soon as public health officials give us clearance that it is safe, we will resume normal operational service.

In the meantime, please follow our website, social media and local news outlets for updates on PSTA.




Stephanie Weaver

PSTA Communications & Public Relations Manager

O: (727) 540-1853 | C: (727) 249-6542


PSTA: The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is the public transit provider for Pinellas County, providing more than 12.1 million rides per year. PSTA operates 40 bus and trolley routes with a fleet of 210 vehicles.