For years, planners have discussed building a bus rapid transit line linking St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Wesley Chapel. A study underway right now will determine that project’s future.
The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority voted earlier this year to move ahead with an environmental study of the project. It will take about three years to complete.
“If there are periods throughout the 28 months where we might need to slow down and engage a little bit more with the public and have more dialogue, then we certainly have the opportunity to do that," said David Green, TBARTA's Executive Director.
Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, runs in dedicated lanes. The trip is more like a train ride than taking a regular bus. During the study, the transit authority is also rolling out a new name for the project: Regional Rapid Transit.
“When you say the name to people, unlike BRT, a lot of people don't know what BRT is, or bus rapid transit, we wanted to give it a name that was kind of easy to understand,” Green said.
Other BRT projects are in the works around the region. Pinellas County will break ground later this year on a line linking downtown St. Petersburg and St. Pete Beach. Tampa is studying a possible route from USF to downtown.