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PSTA is looking for ways to save money without cutting some of its bus routes

Man at an electric charging station next to a Pinellas County Transit Authority electric bus
Duke Energy
But routes 5, 32 and 58, which all run though St. Petersburg, were initially in the plans to be cut.

Routes 813 and 814 that run through Dunedin and Safety Harbor, respectively, are likely gone.

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority has to cut $500,000 from its budget, while eliminating few routes as possible.

Six bus routes with the lowest ridership were among the first the PSTA board considered cutting from its $113 million budget.

Routes 813 and 814 that run through Dunedin and Safety Harbor, respectively, are likely gone.

But routes 5, 32 and 58, which all run though St. Petersburg, were initially in the plans to be cut.

But after a recent board meeting, they were saved from the chopping block.

Gina Driscoll is a St. Petersburg City Council member and PSTA board chair. She says the board heard from several riders who use those routes.

“Route 5 is the only one that really takes people from downtown St. Petersburg to St. Pete College on the west side,” Driscoll said. “These folks are trying to better themselves and get an education and I want us looking for ways to make that easier, not harder.”

The board proposed alternatives, like cutting down on free ride days PSTA offers, scaling down on trash pickup or cutting service around 10 p.m. on certain nights.

Driscoll said the latter is something she is not a fan of.

“There are so many people who have retail jobs and many retail stores that are open at 10 o'clock or later,” Driscoll said. “A lot of these folks are the folks who do rely on the bus to get to their job. And I want to make sure that we're there for them."

Another option is combining routes.

“There are some routes that could be cut, or could be absorbed into another route,” Driscoll said. “So maybe it's a different bus stop, that's maybe one or two blocks away. And we'll still help people to get around.”

For people that are seeing their routes cut, Driscoll is looking into the entity’s Transportation Disadvantaged Program, or other programs it offers.

She said she wants to continue hearing from the public as the board makes decisions that impact them.

“We hear from, we hear from folks usually when something is being considered for cutting and that input, and that real life experience helps us with making those decisions,” Driscoll said.

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