For the first time in the 39-year history of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), it has been honored with the nationwide Outstanding Public Transportation System award. It’s akin to a director taking home an Oscar, or a stage performer winning a Tony. The award recognizes the agency with the highest achievement across 12 areas—ranging from safety and operations to customer service and environmental sustainability. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced the honor yesterday.
“We are extremely humbled to receive such high praise,” said Brad Miller, CEO of PSTA. “I may be a bit biased and have known we were #1 for a long time, but receiving this national recognition is so gratifying because it reflects our employees’ hard work and dedication to making PSTA the leader in public transit, not just here in the Tampa Bay area, but across the country. It is truly a team effort between our staff, board of directors, state and federal lawmakers, and so many other leaders in Pinellas County and throughout Tampa Bay who have supported us, our vision, and our goal to improve the community.”
PSTA continues to innovate on transit options in St. Pete
PSTA was named the most outstanding public transportation system in the nation for its work over a three-year period (2020, 2021, 2022). For this award, the APTA divides transportation systems into four divisions, based on their sizes; PSTA won the award for the medium-sized division. The transit system in Kansas City won this award in 2022 and Sacramento CA in 2021.
Despite the huge challenges during the pandemic, PSTA managed to not only weather the storm but also grow, as ridership numbers have bounced back beyond post-pandemic expectations. Additionally, PSTA developed an innovative partnership that teams Uber and Lyft with Mobility-on-Demand and Access, a paratransit service, to serve riders with disabilities.
Bus Rapid Transit connects downtown to the beach
In 2022, PSTA launched its highly anticipated, first-of-its-kind Bus Rapid Transit line called the SunRunner. The route and bus design, branding, and deployment of the line were all executed during the pandemic, with many employees working remotely for social distancing. Despite the many hurdles, the SunRunner has been a massive success and continues to exceed expectations.
Other factors that helped PSTA secure this significant honor include its efforts in safety, sustainability, customer service, and operations.
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