Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Popular bus route to Pinellas may run less

NEW PORT RICHEY — Catching a bus on Pasco County's most popular route will soon take longer if a proposed budget cut is approved.

The U.S. 19 route from State Road 52 to Pinellas County would be reduced from 30-minute pickup intervals to 45-minute waits starting Oct. 1.

The reduction is part of the county's 2008-09 budget proposal to be discussed at a County Commission meeting today.

With voter-mandated tax cuts, Pasco's property tax revenue is expected to drop $17-million for 2009, prompting 5 to 20 percent budget cuts across county departments.

"I know that once this hits the newsstands, this is going to create a lot of concern from people who use the bus service," said County Commissioner Ann Hildebrand, whose district includes part of the route. "I think this is just the tip of the iceberg of the things we're going to see (in budget cuts)."

The county's budget problem is going to be felt in Moon Lake, too. A new bus route there was delayed last year — and will likely be shelved in 2009 also, although the board has to review and approve cuts.

The county will have a public hearing on the U.S. 19 route on Aug. 27, but only if it receives at least one written request for one by July 24.

Reducing the service along Route 19, which is what the U.S. 19 route is called, is expected to save almost $65,000 a year, said Assistant County Administrator Dan Johnson.

Two jobs assigned to the route will be cut from the county's budgeted staff of 62 drivers, but the employees will fill other jobs, Johnson said.

All other county mass transit buses make stops every 60 minutes. In 2005, however, pickups on Route 19 were increased from every hour to every half-hour.

But even county officials say the timing of the Route 19 cutback isn't the best with fuel prices up and growing demand for public transportation. Half of Pasco's nearly 1.2-million riders say they use the bus to get to work.

Pulling back service on the route allowed the county to keep holiday service elsewhere, Johnson said.

The proposed cut also comes as a consultant's report this month tabbed Route 19 as the most-used segment of Pasco's service. It will account for nearly 417,000 riders, a third of the users in 2009, according to a report from Tindale-Oliver & Associates in the Pasco County Public Transportation's proposed 10-year plan.

The route is so popular that the report recommended eventually increasing pickups to every 15 minutes and starting an express service line on U.S. 19.

"As the route with the highest ridership levels, Route 19 has been successful. The commuters who use this service have indicated that express service would be a better way to meet their work travel needs," the Tindale-Oliver report said.

With money short for its transit system, the commission doubled bus fares to $1 in March. But fares account for only 10 percent of the cost to run buses, with the remaining expense covered by local, state and federal money.

David DeCamp can be reached at ddecamp@sptimes.com or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6232.

Popular bus route to Pinellas may run less 07/14/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 7:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What to watch this weekend: 'GLOW,' second season of 'Preacher'

    Blogs

    Ready to rumble: GLOW

    Four words: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Yes, the fluorescent, body-slamming soap opera GLOW starring a cast of exaggerated characters is back, this time as a fictionalized Netflix series. Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men) stars as Ruth, a down-on-her-luck actor …

    Alison Brie, left, and Betty Gilpin in GLOW on Netflix.
  2. Exploratory Lab Boot Camp provides real-life technology training to students

    Science

    CLEARWATER — At this graduation ceremony featuring some of the brightest local minds in tech, it was the youngsters who stood out.

    Laszo Leedy, 17, a senior at Shorecrest Prep, presents part of his team's project for SPC's Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. Students presented their ideas at the end of the SPC Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. The program provides real-time business training to students. This year's graduation celebrated 15 students that finished the program. 
[JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  3. Editorial: Trump, not military, should set troop levels in Afghanistan

    Editorials

    There is no task more solemn for any American president than the decision to send troops off to war. In delegating authority over troops levels in Afghanistan to the Pentagon, President Donald Trump has shirked his obligation to own and defend his Afghan policy, while further divorcing America's military strategy there …

  4. North Korea says it's 'biggest victim' in U.S. student's death (w/video)

    World

    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday called itself the "biggest victim" in the death of an American student who was detained for more than a year and died days after being released in a coma.

    Mourners line the street after the funeral of Otto Warmbier, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wyoming, Ohio. Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, died this week, days after returning to the United States. [Associated Press]
  5. Kentucky recruit, former Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox among top prospects for 2018 NBA Draft

    Preps

    Less than 24 hours after the NBA Draft, analysts have already begun looking ahead to 2018.

    Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox finishes a layup during the McDonald's All-American game in March at the United Center in Chicago. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]