Local grassroots activists have taken to the internet through Change.org petition to tell the Pinellas Transit Agency: spend our money wisely! Big government supporters with an extremist and unnecessary environmental agenda have been pusing the agency to buy large, expensive buses to replace 40 foot, empty buses now used by PSTA.
The group, Citizens for Smart Transportation have a better idea: Buy smaller buses. By proven, low-cost diesel buses. This will represent a wise use of taxpayer dollars, that will cost less and not be risked on an unproven, more expensive electric bus technology. Those who agree with smaller, less expensive, proven bus technology can sign their petition is here.
The full announcement from the group is reproduced below.
PSTA is preparing to purchase replacement vehicles for thirty five 12 year-old 40′ diesel buses aging out of service. We all know how often we see these huge buses nearly empty around our county and now seems like a great time to identify under performing routes and find the most reliable smaller vehicles on the market to purchase and use on these routes. All efforts should be made by the Board to protect the long term financial sustainability of the entire operation of PSTA by purchasing the types of vehicles that actually meet the demand of the each particular route in terms of ridership.
With ridership down nearly 10% in 2016 from 2015 reducing the size of buses on certain routes to 30′ and thus the expense is obvious prudent management. Certainly any thoughts of experimentation with costly new untested technology such as electric million dollar buses is better borne by the private sector bus companies and not by taxpayer dollars of hardworking citizens while this technology is evolving and uncertain.
In conclusion, on routes with high ridership please replace the old 40′ buses with new efficient 40′ diesels as recommended by CEO Brad Miller to the Board, and purchase the smaller 30′ buses on the routes with less ridership in this bus replacement purchase that is upcoming and as a matter of future policy.