Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) launched three new bus routes in northern Pinellas County.
The new routes, called the North County Connectors, will offer bus service to many communities that have never received transit service before. Additionally, since the routes feature smaller buses that can divert up to three-fouths of a mile off of the regular route, a greater portion of the residents in those communities will be able to take advantage of PSTA’s service.
The buses will accommodate up to two wheelchairs or scooters each, along with 14 seated passengers. Their smaller size makes it easy for bus operators to navigate tighter turns often found inside neighborhoods while the smaller engines offer a quiet ride.
The new buses will also be equipped with PSTA’s new real-time bus information technology that allows people to use a computer or smartphone to know exactly when a Connector bus will arrive at their stop, says PSTA CEO Brad Miller.
The new hourly services, which start December 10, will run along three different routes throughout the northern part of the county.
In addition to getting on and off the buses at regular stops, riders can call up to two hours in advance to schedule a pick up or drop off within ¾ mile of the regular route. That means that riders traveling to a destination within three-quarters of a mile of a Connector route can call ahead and have the Connector pick them up at their curb and drop them off at their destination.
PSTA leaders say that these new services will connect riders to numerous commercial, medical and recreational destinations throughout the county including other PSTA, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit and Pasco County Public Transit services.
To encourage residents to take advantage of the new services, PSTA will offer free rides on the Connectors through the end of December.