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JACOBS ENGINEERING

Taxpayers in Tampa Bay have never given the “green light” to a transit rail system, but maybe fast, cheap buses will prove more popular.

Wikipedia Commons

Tampa Bay has the dubious distinction of being the largest metro area in the country without any kind of local passenger rail service. So as our rush hour commutes crawl to a standstill, transportation planners are taking yet another shot at mass transit. The latest proposal might not include rail at all.

Public Transit Ridership Up Nationally

Mar 10, 2014
PSTA

The American Public Transportation Association released a report today stating Americans took a record high number of trips on U.S. public transportation last year. People across the country took 10.7 billion rides on public transit in 2013. Since the mid '90s, ridership growth has been outpacing population growth.

The numbers in Tampa Bay are up as well, with the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) closing last year with about 14.5 million rides.

PSTA Board Agrees to Ask for One-Cent Tax Referendum

Jan 23, 2013
PSTA

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority unanimously agreed to ask the Pinellas County Commission to put a tax for bus transit expansion and light rail on the ballot. 

The vote came after 3 hours of public comment with speakers for and against the idea.

Five out of 7 commissioners say they support the referendum but PSTA spokesman Bob Lasher says this is only the beginning.

"Some of our board members said this is just the very first step, there's a whole lot of water yet to go before we cross the other bridges," he says.

PSTA Increases Bus Ridership Despite Low Gas Prices

Jan 9, 2013
PSTA

One of the things that increases bus ridership is a rise in gas prices. But gas prices were lower in December than they have been in awhile. 

PSTA's increase in bus ridership last month may have been for another reason.

Bus ridership increased 8 percent last month for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority compared to December in 2011.

HART / HART

Merging Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties’ public transit systems does not make financial sense.

That's the initial report from a consulting firm hired by the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. The findings were discussed Monday in a meeting that included board members from both groups, according to this article in the Tampa Tribune.

Here’s the financial breakdown:

More people are taking public transportation in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) saw a 2.8 percent increase in bus ridership last month as compared to the same time last year. 

Though bus ridership was about average during the Republican National Convention, streetcar ridership did go  up.

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority also saw in increase in ridership, a 10 percent jump from August 2011.