We reported yesterday that PSTA (the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Agency) in 2019 moved a bus stop to be closer to Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard’s home, this after she lost her driver’s license following multiple serious car crashes and careless driving citations. Gerard was a PSTA board member at the time the bus stop was moved, a position that comes with oversight duties. At the time, Gerard was slated to become the board chair, which she later did.
As we reported yesterday, PSTA executive Abishek Dayal logged an entry on Veterans Day 2019 claiming that a female passenger asked if “a stop could be added” on PSTA route 65 very near Gerard’s home. Route 65 goes straight to what was Gerard’s place of work at the time, in the county administration building.
So Dayal initiated the process of adding the bus stop near Gerard’s home on Veterans Day 2019, which was November 11th, 2019. This was also Pat Gerard’s 70th birthday.
Before we published yesterday’s article (which got a lot of attention), we asked Dayal “what caused this woman to approach you specifically on Veterans Day, this on your day off, to discuss bus stops along this road?”
Dayal has not responded to that question or any of the other questions we asked. That includes our question why he, contrary to normal PSTA procedure, didn’t take down the name and phone number of the person making a request of PSTA for follow-up. PSTA routinely does so with people asking for stops, benches or bus shelters to be added, or any other service requests.
“Yes, we added the stop you asked for.” Or “no, we did not add the stop you asked for.” That kind of follow-up. Perhaps follow up wasn’t necessary in this case because that particular person could be certain that the stop would be put in.
Call it “oversight with benefits” if you will. Available only to corrupt politicians in office. Or a chauffered bus, taking you from your home to your place of work, also only available to corrupt politicians.
Via email, we have asked Dayal for a categorical denial, and will amend this article if we receive it.
Was Dayal’s oddly timed and incomplete 2019 Veterans Day log PSTA’s idea of a birthday gift to Pat Gerard on her 70th birthday? Pat Gerard being a Pinellas County Commissioner sitting on the PSTA board and with oversight duties over PSTA. Or was it an inside joke among just a few, where the date of new bust stop initiation could safely be referred to with a nod and a smile? Even with people present who weren’t in on the joke.
Or is the date just a total coincidence?
As always, the Guardian reports and the readers decide. Please like our Facebook page to find out when we publish new stories.