Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PSTA to offer new North Pinellas service

The North County Connector has room for 14 passengers and two wheelchairs.

Pinellas County Transit Authority.

The North County Connector has room for 14 passengers and two wheelchairs.

Although she doesn't consider herself a frequent bus rider, Mary Carol Bartemes hopes her disabled son will be.

"He is 52, and he cannot drive,'' said Bartemes, 76. "If he could ride the bus, it would make him more independent of me.''

Bartemes attended a public information session at the East Lake Community Library on Thursday to learn more about the launch of the PSTA North County Connector. Starting Monday, the new service, with three routes, will offer residents in the northern pockets of the county a chance to better connect with the public bus system.

The North County Connector, with eight shuttle-style buses, will deliver customers to destinations and other bus routes served not only by PSTA, but Hillsborough and Pasco's public bus systems, too. The new service also will offer a pick-up/drop-off service within three-quarters of a mile off the main route to a house, medical appointments, or even a favorite restaurant, for those customers who call ahead.

Here are the three routes:

• The Countryside/Oldsmar/Tampa Connector, which moves from the Westfield Countryside Mall to the Shoppes at Boot Ranch in Palm Harbor and then heads over to Hillsborough County, making a final turn at the HART Northwest Transfer Center in Town N' Country.

• The East Lake Connector, which starts at Shoppes at Boot Ranch, heads up East Lake Road and goes to the Tarpon Mall at Huey and Tarpon avenues.

• The Dunedin/Palm Harbor Connector, which goes from Countryside Mall to the Wal-Mart at U.S. 19 and Alderman Road in Palm Harbor, to St. Petersburg College's Tarpon Springs campus.

PSTA officials learned last January that they would receive about $500,000 from the Florida Department of Transportation for the program.

In April, PSTA began meeting with the public to gather information on where the buses were most needed.

"Countryside Mall was the most requested spot. Along with that, the Tarpon Mall, grocery stores, movie theaters. There was definitely a lot of interest,'' said PSTA spokesman Bob Lasher. "I don't remember a single person coming out and saying, 'Don't do it.'

"Not one person. Everyone seems to want it.''

Ridership on PSTA buses is already at an all-time high. Last month, 1.17 million riders boarded buses countywide. "But we know that the county is still under-served compared to other places,'' he said.

The new, smaller buses, with room for 14 riders and two wheelchairs, will help with that issue.

"They work well in areas where streets tend to be narrow,'' Lasher said. "In this part of the county, there are many gated communities and neighborhoods with smaller roads, and you can only use smaller vehicles to negotiate turns.''

Eleanor Friedley has lived in East Lake for 10 years. She sat next to Bartemes during the information session.

"I want to start riding the bus because I just don't like driving anymore,'' said Friedley, 73.

Friedley said one of her favorite memories is of a day spent with a relative taking PSTA buses from Dunedin to Pass-A-Grille.

"We went all the way down the beach, started way up north and went all the way down, and we stopped to have lunch at John's Pass,'' she said. "All for a $2 in fare. I'm looking forward to doing more of that kind of riding with (the North County Connector).''

Piper Castillo is reachable at pcastillo@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4163.

North County Connector

The PSTA will offer free rides on the North County Connector through Dec. 31. Beginning in January, the cost of an individual fare will be $2. Discounts apply for all-day passes and for seniors and students. To learn more about the service, visit PSTA.net/connector or call (727) 540-1900.

PSTA to offer new North Pinellas service 12/08/12 [Last modified: Saturday, December 8, 2012 2:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.