“We understand the importance of fiscal responsibility, as well as the fact that public transportation is the lifeblood of our community” said Brad Miller, CEO of PSTA. “Balancing our budget to maximize the routes we can serve is vital for access to education, employment, healthcare, and more. We are proud to have found a way to ensure more of these key services continue.”
In previous budget discussions, six routes with low ridership were proposed to be discontinued. Based on public feedback and a detailed ridership analysis, PSTA has made the following adjustments to preserve three of those routes:
· Route 58 (St. Pete College Seminole Campus/Bryan Dairy Road) – will continue to travel east to Gateway Mall but will no longer continue on to Carillon. (Carillon will continue to be served by Route 52).
· Route 5 (5th Street St. Pete College Gibbs Campus) – will continue.
· Route 32 (St. Petersburg circulator) – will continue to serve Arlington Arbor and other low-income housing areas on the west side of Downtown St. Petersburg.
PSTA identified three areas to secure the necessary funds:
· $100,000 will be saved on garbage collection costs by removing trash cans from additional low-ridership bus stops
· $150,000 will be saved on projected fuel costs due to successfully locking in prices for next year
· $250,000 will be saved on payments to contractors, since the projected expenses for the contractor providing PSTA Access services are lower than expected
Buses will continue to run past 10 p.m. on many routes, as they do today., and fare-free rides on certain holidays will also continue. The two routes that will be eliminated—814 and 813—have the lowest ridership of all PSTA bus routes, with each averaging fewer than 3,000 riders per month, compared to PSTA’s systemwide average of about 20,000.
Additional changes include:
· Route 90 will only travel from south St. Petersburg to St. Pete Beach
· The Central Avenue Trolley (CAT) will no longer continue west of Grand Central Terminal
· The number of trips by 52LX will be reduced
· Route 813 will be eliminated
· Route 814 will be eliminated and replaced with On Demand Services