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PSTA named a ‘most outstanding transit system’

Veronica Brezina



From left: Mayor Ken Welch; Chris Steinocher, CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce; Brad Miller, CEO of PSTA; Councilmember Gina Driscoll; Councilmember Deborah Figgs-Sanders; and Vince Cocks, PSTA board member.

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Agency has been ranked among the most Outstanding Public Transportation Systems in the nation.

This week, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the sole non-profit association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation, honored 14 organizations and leaders with awards to recognize those who have demonstrated significant leadership, are outstanding role models of excellence and whose accomplishments and innovations have greatly advanced public transportation.

The Outstanding Public Transportation System award recognizes the agencies with the highest achievement across 12 areas ranging from safety and operations to customer service and environmental sustainability, according to APTA, which reviewed PSTA’s milestones from the past three years. 

“This is the first in our 39-year history and proves how we’ve become more innovative,” PSTA spokeswoman Stephanie Weaver said. 

Post-pandemic, PSTA developed an innovative partnership with rideshare company Uber and Lyft to offer mobility-on-demand and access, a paratransit service for riders with disabilities. 

In 2022, PSTA launched the SunRunner, the region’s first bus rapid transit line, a bus system that travels 10.3 miles through downtown and St. Pete Beach. APTA also recognized PSTA’s enhancements in safety, sustainability, customer service and operations. 

PSTA serves over three million annual passenger trips and has roughly 600 employees and 210 buses. 

PSTA is currently working on several projects, including a future green energy-powered Clearwater transit center for its growing electric bus fleet. Weaver said PSTA may extend its SunRunner line to more corridors. 

Other Outstanding Public Transportation Systems

  • SunLine Transit Agency: Thousand Palms, California – Serves three million or fewer annual passenger trips
  • Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit): Oakland, California – Serves more than 15 million but fewer than 50 million annual passenger trips
  • New Jersey Transit: Newark, New Jersey – Serves 50 million or more annual passenger trips

Executives in public transit primarily serving large metros such as California, Utah and the District of Columbia were named awardees in additional categories for innovation, and outstanding individuals and members. 

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Eileen Higgins, who also serves chair of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Transportation Steering Committee (TSC), was named an Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member. 

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