Page last updated on 6/16/20 at 10:55 a.m.
This page is continuously being updated.
On June 10th, PSTA received notification from its first bus operator, that the operator had tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The bus operator last reported to work on Monday, June 8th, 2020. The 14 days prior to that time the operator drove the following routes:
- Route 23 – June 8th
- Route 78 – June 7th
- Route 14 – June 5th
- Route CAT – June 2nd
- Route 34 – June 1st
- Route 78 – May 31st
- Route 14 – May 29th
- Route CAT – May 26th
PSTA does not believe any passengers came in contact with the driver, who remained socially distant from all passengers. However, anyone who feels like they experience symptoms should seek medical advice.
The operator is currently under treatment.
PSTA encourages riders to wear protective face coverings while riding and to use transit for essential travel only. Essential travel means taking trips to work, hospitals, health care providers, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, food distribution centers, schools, to provide care for family members, and other similar destinations.
In the middle of March, PSTA announced it is enforcing rear-door boarding only, except for those with mobility devices. Rear-door boarding and temporarily going fare-free reduces crowding at the farebox and limits exposure between passengers and bus operators. In addition, bus operators have the discretion to limit the number of riders on their bus to no more than 12 people at a given time. Lastly, PSTA is supplying bus operators with gloves, masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant.
Based on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is encouraging passengers who are riding PSTA buses to wear a protective face covering. The CDC recommends the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
Examples of protective coverings are disposable masks, cloth masks, bandanas, or a scarf.
Beginning on Monday, March 30th, PSTA will temporarily suspend the downtown St. Petersburg Looper as well as the South Clearwater Beach Jolley Trolley route due to a lack of ridership brought on by business and hotel closures.
The Jolley Trolley North Clearwater Beach Route and North Coastal Route to Tarpon Springs will continue operating on a Saturday schedule that ends 10 p.m.
All PSTA weekday services will begin to run on a Saturday schedule and all PSTA weekend service will be a Sunday schedule beginning on March 29th, 2020. All services will end by 10 p.m. including paratransit. This equates to a 30% reduction in service and allows more than 100 transit employees to stay home, while PSTA continues to provide a vital transportation service to the community. Additional buses will be available for higher ridership routes to limit passenger loads.
Additional Changes Beginning on March 29th:
No service on 52LX only (52 still available) 58, 66L, 100X, 300X
No weekend service on Routes 22, 32, 62, 67, 73, 76, 812, 813, 814
East Lake Shuttle will continue
Direct Connect and all PSTA paratransit programs will continue to operate
TD Late Shift will continue (begins at 9 p.m.) at the co-pay of $9 for the month of April
Effective immediately, PSTA is allowing bus drivers to limit the number of riders on their bus to no more than 10 people at any given time, require patrons to use the rear door of the buses, and is planning to scale back overall service levels by approximately 30% starting Sunday, March 29th, 2020.
“Usually we always thank people for choosing to ride transit.” said Brad Miller, Chief Executive Officer of PSTA, “But of course, now everything has changed. I am hoping everyone practices social distancing and allows the buses to be used by only those who have no option but to use transit to get to essential work, medical appointments or the grocery store.”
The transit agency has been taking steps for weeks to increase vehicle cleaning and operator safety but the plans announced Friday increase those efforts further and for the first time introduce overall service reductions.
Masks and gloves have been distributed to bus operators for the past two weeks and the operator safety shields installed on most buses have proven helpful in enforcing distancing between drivers and passengers. Last week, PSTA enhanced these efforts by suspended collection of fares at the bus’s front door to reduce crowding and requiring patrons to use the bus’s back door. Now, PSTA Bus operators have the discretion to limit the number of passengers on a bus to no more than 10 at any time and radio in requests for additional buses if needed to keep passengers separated. PSTA will station extra buses at peak boarding locations. These efforts will all reduce crowding and limit exposure to passengers and bus operators.
While PSTA already suspended certain transit services due to cancellations like its Spring Training baseball shuttles and Clearwater Beach Spring Break shuttle, starting March 29th, 2020 until further notice, all transit services will be scaled back to a Saturday level of service. It equates to approximately a 30% reduction in weekday service. As more and more businesses close and travel is discouraged, this will increase the number of transit employees that can stay home by more than 100 while maintaining a vital transportation option for those who have no other option. All services will end at 10 P.M.
Following the Pinellas County Commissioners decision to close public beaches effective tonight at 11:59 p.m., the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) has announced it will immediately discontinue the free Park & Ride Spring Break Service, which provides free trolley service from downtown Clearwater to Clearwater beach.
PSTA will continue to provide its regular service, a schedule can be seen here, as well as the regular service of the Jolley Trolley and Suncoast Beach Trolley. In order to reduce crowding and bunching, all transit services in Pinellas County are free. Customers are encouraged to use the back door of the bus to enter and exit.
Due to the growing threat of COVID–19 Coronavirus, The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is temporarily going fare-free on all routes beginning March 19th, 2020 until further advised. This includes DART service.
PSTA’s top priority has always been the safety and well-being of our employees and our riders. By temporarily going fare-free, it will reduce crowding by the farebox and limit exposure to passengers and bus operators.
PSTA is asking that passengers who can to use the back door to get on and off the bus. We understand many, like those with mobility devices and others will have to use the front door for the ramp and they can continue to do so.
Dear Valued Customer,
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) continues to uphold the safety and security of our passengers and employees as one of our highest values. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) is beginning to affect our community, we feel it is important to provide you with an update on how we are addressing it at PSTA.Rest assured we take this very seriously and are taking measures to keep our employees healthy and our vehicles clean for you.
PSTA cleaning crews have tripled their cleaning efforts to thoroughly disinfect all transit vehicles, terminals, and facilities daily with high-grade sanitizers and multi-purpose cleaners. Crews are focusing their attention on disinfecting hard surfaces and high-contact areas such as handrails, fareboxes, doors, handles, windows, panels, and seats multiple times daily.
Bus operators and office staff are keeping their workstations clean by wiping down high-touch surfaces with disinfectant or sanitizing wipes.
As a passenger, we ask that you do your part to keep yourself safe:
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
We will continue to follow the recommendations of local health officials, and encourage you to check back for updates.
As a member of the community we will do all we can to keep the traveling community safe.
Thank you for your continued support.
Chief Executive Officer of Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority