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 by its politician board. Even this case of self-admitted outright stupidity by Oldsmar Mayor Boug Bevis. Just to name a few offenses that would get people reprimanded or fired in a private sector job. Such mental flabbiness by animals in a state of nature means certain death, whereas in politics it means certain promotion.
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 because staff is working from home, what is the likelihood that the thermostat was turned up in order to save the taxpayers money? You know, raise the thermostat before going home to “work” your government job.
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