Caitlin Johnston - Transportation and General Assignment Reporter

Transportation and General Assignment Reporter

I write about transportation, a subject that affects all of us as we navigate our busy lives. I let you know how new projects will impact your commute and quality of life, while also dissecting complex policies and budgets. My work takes me from bus stops to government meetings to sitting in mind-numbing traffic jams. I’m a proud Hoosier, a slow runner, and a lover of mountains. I studied journalism and political science at Indiana University and earned my master’s at the University of Maryland. I joined the Times in 2012, first covering breaking news in Tampa and east Hillsborough. I attend 9-hour meetings and read traffic studies from the 1960s so you didn’t have to. I’m always looking for story ideas.

  1. Now in its second year, the Cross-Bay Ferry sails daily, November through April, from St. Petersburg to Tampa and back. Ridership so far this year has nearly doubled over the same period last year.
  2. Ben Limmer addresses the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority board Friday before being terminated as chief executive officer.
  3. Chief executive Ben Limmer attended a special meeting of the Hillsborough County transit agency board where members voted to fire him.
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  5. The St. Petersburg City Council voted Thursday to expand its bike share program by replacing its existing bikes with new ones and adding 50 electric bikes.
  6. Florida's Supreme Court justices listen to arguments Wednesday in Tallahassee on Hillsborough County's transportation sales tax. From left are Alan Lawson, Ricky Polston, Chief Justice Charles Canady, Jorge Labarga and Carlos Muñiz
  7. Members of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority board discuss an investigation into the agency's chief executive officer, Ben Limmer, during a board meeting Monday.
  8. Ben Limmer, chief executive officer of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, has been on paid leave for three months during an investigation stemming from a whistleblower complaint. Limmer oversees an operation with more than 800 employees and about 180 vehicles.
  9. Chris Murray with the Downtowner ride service drops off a passenger in the Channelside area. The popular free service is now in jeopardy.
  10. Members Pat Kemp, left, and Kathleen Shanahan quarreled over contracts during a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit committee meeting.
  11. Brandi Dobbins, 28, talks with bus operator Paul Robinson while boarding the PSTA bus at Grand Central Station in St. Petersburg, Florida on Thursday, January 23, 2020.
  12. A scooter rider navigates Platt Street on Friday morning during the calm before the storm — successive weekends of downtown Gasparilla parades. Scooter companies like Jump warn users it’s a violation of their rental agreement to operate one while under the influence.
  13. Ben Limmer talks to a large crowd during a public forum on Atlanta's proposed transit expansion in 2018.  Limmer was named the new CEO of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority in February and placed on paid leave in November in the wake of whistleblower allegations of purchasing issues. [STEVE SCHAEFER   |   Atlanta Journal Constitution]
  14. David Hastings, left, speaks at a climate change solutions summit in St. Petersburg during October 2014. Hastings has been named in a sexual exploitation lawsuit filed against Eckerd College, his former employer.
  15. Brooke Anne Otto, 26, is in custody after police said she shot 27-year-old Sean Elsner on the morning of New Year's Day.
  16. The warning period is up. Law enforcement officers can now issue tickets carrying $60 penalties for texting while driving in any location and for even holding a phone in school and work zones.
  17. Jordan Moseley of Greensboro, N.C., was on board the Carnival Legend and tweeted a picture of the the Carnival Glory after the two ships collided Friday at the port of Cozumel, Mexico.
  18. Florida Rep. Ben Diamond, D-St. Petersburg, joins other environmentalists at the Sierra Club Friday to ask Gov. Ron DeSantis to dedicate at least $300 million to land conservation.
  19. Cleveland, Ohio, has one of the highest rated bus rapid transit lines in the country, with features including a dedicated traffic lane. Hillsborough transit officials are making plans for bus rapid transit line between downtown Tampa and the University of South Florida.
  20. A Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy responding to a domestic violence call at the Jasmine Terrace apartments on Skipper Road shot and wounded an unarmed 17-year-old on March 26. The deputy thought the teen was armed at the time. The teen was paralyzed, and the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office has ruled that the deputy will not face charges. [TONY MARRERO   l   Times]
  21. "Lefty Lucy, Righty Tighty?", Siomara Bridges-Mata, 32, asks her coworkers as they assemble one of 900 bikes Friday when Amalie Arena transformed into Santa's Bike Shop. Bridges-Mata volunteered with Frameworks of Tampa Bay, Inc.
  22. The Cross-Bay Ferry cruises along the Vinoy Yacht Basin as it heads toward Tampa. The Vinoy condominiums can be seen in the background. The city hopes to attract more vessels for entertainment and tourism to the downtown waterfront. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]