On March 19th, PSTA decided to waive bus fares on its network due to the Wuhan virus pandemic. Despite its service now being 100% free, records show that PSTA’s ridership still dropped by 43.2% from the first week of March to the last week of March. Further declines are expected in April.
A recent Tampa Bay Partnership report predicted that 1/4 of workers in the Tampa Bay area will have run out of money by now. Another 1/3 will run out of money by the end of April. Yet for some reason, many people are still reluctant to ride a PSTA bus, even when it is completely free.
According to the US Energy Information Agency, “gasoline supplied” (a key metric) dropped by 29.5 % during that same period in March. Thus there is a sharper decline in the demand for bus transit service than the decline in demand for driving a personal vehicle.
The Guardian has written approximately 30 articles in the last 4 years highlighting fiscal ineptitude, incompetence, sleight of hand and outright lies by PSTA staff, as well as broken promises and outright idiocy by its politician board. Just to name a few offenses that would get people reprimanded or fired in a private sector job.
PSTA has also not laid off a single of its 634 employees as a result of the pandemic, despite reducing its service level. PSTA has 2.4% more employees than it did a year ago. If PSTA’s offices are empty and people working from home, did anyone even turn up the thermostat before going home to “work?”
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