The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority continues to set all-time ridership records. Early figures for May indicate that 1,187,231 rides were taken last month, which is a jump of more than 46,000 rides over May 2011.
“Not only is this the highest ridership ever for the month of May, but it’s also the second highest monthly total ever for PSTA – second only to March 2012,” says PSTA Spokesperson Bob Lasher in a news release.
Agency leaders say transit ridership typically jumps when fuel prices spike and, as in past years, they’re seeing that when prices come down, riders continue using PSTA.
Gas in St. Pete has fallen sharply since March by dropping nearly 70 cents. This past week the average gallon of gas in St. Pete was $3.27 while that number hovered around $3.95 in early March.
“It’s just a matter of people finally taking that first ride,” Lasher adds. “Once they learn how easy, inexpensive and stress free it is to ride, they stick with us.”
According to the county, PSTA’s record ridership is also increasing demand for the agency’s popularBikes on Buses program, where riders use bus mounted bike racks to travel with their bicycles. Because of the increased demand for rack space, PSTA leaders are encouraging passengers to bring folding bicycles on board buses even if the front bike racks are empty.
Since folding bikes don’t take up much room, officials are asking riders to bring folding bikes on board to save the front bike rack space for standard bikes. On average, PSTA now carries more than a thousand bikes a day.