PSTA unveils new electric buses in St. Petersburg

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Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) introduced 4 new electric buses to its fleet to kick off February 2021. About half of PSTA’s fleet is now electric or hybrid. This underscores PSTA’s commitment to clean energy and sustainability in Pinellas County.

“Our electric buses now will be running in all parts of Pinellas County,” Brad Miller, Chief Executive Officer of PSTA said. “We are committed to sustainable choices that are environmentally responsible and financially stable. Our electric bus program will contribute to improved air quality for Pinellas County residents, and it will reduce the costs of operating our fleet.’’

A new electric fleet in St. Petersburg

Their 6 battery-powered electric buses produce 0 emissions. Add to that number the agency’s 88 hybrid buses. PSTA hopes to eliminate all diesel buses from its fleet within the next decade, according to a release.

“Pinellas County leads the state with the largest fleet of hybrid buses and it’s this type of attention to sustainability and innovation that is literally driving PSTA and our great county forward,” added PSTA Board Chair and Pinellas County Commission Chair Pat Gerard.

Each electric bus is powered by a rechargeable, environmentally friendly battery and averages 180 miles or about 14 hours of operating time on a single charge. PSTA will save about $20,000 a year in diesel fuel costs with each electric bus, or $240,000 over 12 years.

This latest investment in electric buses reflects PSTA’s commitment to viewing every project and service through a sustainability lens. It also demonstrates how the agency keeps its focus on its triple bottom line: People, place and price.

This isn’t the only thing to be excited about from PSTA.

Rapid transit will connect downtown and the beaches

Rapid transit is at the heart of economic development and improving the quality of life in the region. A new SunRunner service as part of the Bus Rapid Transit service will help cut down on overall congestion, and assist in getting more residents to lessen their use of cars.

The BRT plan is a specialized, train-like transit service with frequently arriving buses – often running in their own specially dedicated lane.

BRT features specially branded buses and stations that give riders the look, feel and experience of rail transit. The vessels also feature WiFi for added customer experience.

According to PSTA, BRT will offer an unprecedented affordable commute option for the 50,000 jobs that are located within a half mile of the project corridor.

The 20-mile roundtrip service will feature 31 stations with a proposed pickup frequency of every 15 minutes during the day, and every 30 minutes in the evening.

Multi-million dollar allocation from the Department of Transportation

A few months ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it will allocate $21.8 million for transportation project. BRT’s total projected cost is a little more than $43M.

You can see a full outline of the plan on PSTA’s website. The projected debut of BRT could be sometime in mid to late 2021.

Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is the Editor of ilovetheburg.com. Follow him on Twitter @harlanyoungII and Instagram @harlanyoung. Send tips and potential stories to info@ilovetheburg.com.