The region’s first bus rapid transit system will be growing its footprint with a new station in downtown St. Petersburg.
Located near the Sundial parking garage at 150 1st Avenue North, the new stop will give residents and visitors closer access to the St. Pete Pier, Beach Drive, the Cross Bay Ferry, and all of the restaurants, businesses, and hotels along the downtown waterfront.
Currently, from 5th Street station, it takes 12 minutes to get to the Pier, with this new stop it would be a five-minute walk.
“SunRunner’s colorful, efficient buses and beautiful bus stops have literally transformed our community,” said Brad Miller, CEO of PSTA. “There are fewer vehicles on the road, more people attending events, eating out, shopping at local businesses. SunRunner is truly improving our quality of life and helping drive our economy.”
Ridership has increased every month since the service launched in October, with more than 115,000 people using SunRunner in March alone.
The new service is also helping people get to special events like Halloween on Central, Localtopia, and the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which all saw ridership numbers surpass 10,000 on their respective weekends.
To meet the growing demand, PSTA said it will be adding buses to its SunRunner fleet.
“Residents and visitors are saving time and avoiding the hassle of looking for parking downtown by riding the SunRunner to special events in our city,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch. “The service is also providing new opportunities for local businesses to open along the route. Land that was under-utilized or vacant is being redeveloped because residents and businesses want to be near the SunRunner.”
The original SunRunner project came in $5 million under budget, so PSTA added that it will be using the leftover federal dollars to fund the expansion. The new station will be open for service in 2024.
The SunRunner is free through Oct. 31.