PSTA didn’t tell its board BRT project not in next federal budget

PSTA’s Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (CABRT) project has received another setback. The project will not be funded in the federal FY2020 budget. That information reached PSTA in March, yet no mention of it was made in a “Central Ave BRT Funding Plan” presentation given by PSTA’s Chief Development Officer Cassandra Borchers at last month’s…

PSTA misleads the Feds, misleads the Tampa Bay Times, annoys beach city

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is once again attracting negative press. The Tampa Bay Times reported last week that PSTA misled the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) about local financial support for the so-called Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (CABRT) project. Specifically, PSTA put forth a financial plan to the FTA which included the City…

PSTA ridership now 13% lower than a decade ago

In its fiscal year which ended September 30th, so-called revenue passenger trips on PSTA’s network of buses dropped 4.5% compared to the previous year. PSTA’s ridership is thus now 13% lower than it was 10 years ago. Despite a $100 million per year budget, a 34% increase in the tax rate levied on real property,…

Depression! Politicians ponder PSTA passenger plunge, then laugh it off

The mood was somber at the  Finance Committee meeting at PSTA headquarters on January 18th. As the Guardian previously reported, ridership in the just completed fiscal year is down 15% in two years. The plunge continues in the new fiscal year, and is headed for a 22% ridership decline over three years. Passenger revenue is also…

Despite 50%+ discounts, PSTA’s core paying ridership plunges 40%

PSTA’s 2017 fiscal year (FY17) ended with a whimper on September 30th. In one year, ridership declined 7%, passenger revenue declined 10%, and the number of so-called “Transportation Disadvantaged” (TD) riders rose 26%. To call TD riders “paying customers” is questionable since they pay only $11 for a monthly pass. That’s an 85% discount off the full…

PSTA top attorney & staff embarrass themselves, board willfully asleep

At today’s monthly PSTA board meeting, a flawed resolution that was “approved in form” by its top attorney was before the board for approval. The flawed resolution passed unanimously, as written. As explained below, there are also signs that efforts are underway to inpose light rail against the clearly and repeatedly stated will of the…

PSTA ridership at 10-year low despite partnership with Uber

The decline of bus ridership on the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) network of routes continues, despite new programs aimed at boosting ridership. At the current rate, PSTA is headed for its lowest total number of bus revenue passenger trips in 10 years. Five months into PSTA’s current fiscal year (FY), which began October 1st last year, revenue…

PSTA ridership collapses, will redefine “ridership”

Only after a query from the Guardian did PSTA post its full-year ridership data on its website Monday. The data showed a decline of 10.2% in total passenger trips compared to its previous fiscal year. This comes at a time when PSTA seeks to convince the City of St. Pete Beach to more than double its spending…

County Commish on PSTA board finds Sunshine Law compliance “irritating”

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority August July board meeting turned into a political “Spin Bin” on Wednesday as political spin was applied to a multitude of embarrassing situations. First, evidence of Florida Ethics Law violations by board member Ben Diamond was presented. Then there was the news that the number of Pinellas County indigents using their county “free healthcare cards”…

Transit agency proposes NEW five cent gas tax to pay for more transit

In the past six months, the Guardian has reported on PSTA’s plummeting ridership and its declining farebox recovery,  We’ve also reported on PSTA’s increased reliance on free parking shuttles and free special events shuttles to boost ridership. PSTA’s soluiton?  Don’t provide the troublesome data to its politician-packed board anymore. In the agenda and meeting packet for next Wednesday’s board meeting,…