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A PSTA bus at a stop in Williams Park in downtown St. Petesrburg
Pinellas Suncoast Transportation Authority Facebook page / Pinellas Suncoast Transportation Authority

The lack of widespread public transit in the Tampa Bay area is no secret. Talks of  how, when, where, and what kind of transportation options to fund have been lengthy, and largely unproductive at the state and county levels, leaving individual cities to fend for themselves.

In Washington D.C. though, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is hopeful they can secure federal funding for improving transit infrastructure. The association met with representatives of Congress this week to discuss the federal government’s role.

Sam Newlon / WUSF Public Media

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority displayed a 40-foot electric bus Wednesday. Even though the bus was running, the loudest part of the presentation was the rain falling outside and cars speeding past.

People board a HART bus.
HART

Jeffrey Seward, interim CEO of Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), is in Washington D.C. to speak with congressional leaders about the importance of public transit.

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority Facebook livestream.

During it's "State of Transit" meeting, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority announced plans for a regional transit study starting Oct. 1.

Mayors Show Support for Pinellas, Polk Transit

Sep 25, 2014
Yoselis Ramos / WUSF

The Tampa Bay Partnership hosted a transportation forum Wednesday in St. Petersburg and the Greenlight Pinellas referendum received lots of attention.

The transportation forum included commissioners from Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk Counties, and representatives from the region's transportation authorities.

Megabus Arrives, Bringing Bargain Fares

May 20, 2014
Yoselis Ramos / WUSF

It's now possible to get to Orlando or Miami from Tampa for less than it costs to drive with the arrival of a new  inter-city bus service called Megabus.  To celebrate its arrival in Tampa, the company has been offering $1 fares during the first two weeks. That drew a crowd to the Marion Transit Center in downtown Tampa recently, and WUSF was there to see what the new bus service was like.

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.