PSTA backpedals on Sunrunner claims, continues gaslighting

In May, PSTA claimed that its new Sunrunner bus “is designed to meet the demands of work commuters and attract tourists and new riders into PSTA’s comprehensive transit system.” PSTA is now backpedaling, perhaps due to ridership numbers catastrophically below their own projections (as we reported on two days ago).

In their “SunRunner One Month Update,” PSTA staff is now telling their governing board that “new riders on the SunRunner may potentially begin to use other PSTA service.” The question writes itself: if the Sunrunner line is designed to attract new riders, why is PSTA now saying that it may only potentially attract new riders to the rest of PSTA’s unpleasant bus system?

The answer is simple: PSTA is gaslighting its board and the public. “Gaslighting” is shorthand for deliberate deception intended to make people question reality. The reality is that the Sunrunner is a failure, and PSTA’s own claims and data prove that.

In its one month update, PSTA also makes this dubious claim: that they “developed the successful gold card program, which has contributed to the large number of new riders.

By issuing news releases repeating this claim to local media, PSTA is also using taxpayer money to gaslight the taxpayers themselves. In one such release causing this article, Tombolo Books in St. Petersburg says “our bookstore is right by the 22nd Street station. As part of the Gold Card promotion, we are giving out a free gift with purchase, so we’ve gotten to meet a lot of new customers.”

Note that the Gold Card promotion in which Tombolo participates, caused people to come to their store – not the Sunrunner itself.

“Gaslighting was the main characteristic of the Soviet bureaucracy,” Oleg Atbashian told the Guardian when we asked him about PSTA’s recent sharply increased gaslighting. “The government bureaucratic system in the US is approaching the same size as it was in the Soviet Union, so I’m not surprised by what you see.”

In January we reported that during the past six years, ridership at PSTA declined 57% while spending rose 114%. This rise in spending and ever-increasing administrative staff supports Atbashian’s conclusion.

Atbashian is a former Soviet propaganda artist now living in the Tampa Bay area. Being familiar with both visual and written propaganda techniques, we turned to him for expert input.

Atbashian is also the creator of “The People’s Cube,” a Rubik’s cube identical on all sides whose purpose is to mock socialism. The cube promises “guaranteed equality of outcomes” as well as fairness, equality and self-esteem. The People’s Cube can be purchased here for $10 (all proceeds go to People’s Cube).

“The communist party held all power in the Soviet Union, and they gaslighted the people all the time,” Atbashian said. “However, they didn’t like being gaslighted themselves by bureaucrats, but only because it embarrassed them.”

Will the elected officials on PSTA’s board accept being gaslighted by bureaucrats they are supposed to oversee? The Wednesday PSTA board meeting will provide the answer.

As always….the Guardian reports and our readers decide. Like our Facebook page to find out when we publish articles.

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