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St. Petersburg’s free downtown Looper and Clearwater’s Jolley Trolley are the latest Tampa Bay transit options to take a hit as travel options continue to narrow in the face of the widespread coronavirus.
Pinellas Suncoast Travel Authority announced multiple changes to service Wednesday, including the indefinite suspension of the St. Petersburg Looper, which offers free trips through the city’s downtown.
The Looper provided nearly 11,000 rides in February, doubling its 2018 numbers. It’s annual budget is $663,000.
The transit authority will also suspend the South Clearwater Beach Jolley Trolley, which averages 427 riders daily.
Both services will go dormant starting Monday.
The Jolley Trolley North Clearwater Beach Route and the North Coastal Route to Tarpon Springs will continue to operate, but with a limited Saturday schedule that ends at 10 p.m.
The transit agency spends $2.4 million to operate the all legs of the Jolley Trolley.
The county transit agency cited “lack of ridership brought on by business and hotel closures” for the changes.
Pinellas County announced a “stay at home” order Wednesday that limits many businesses from operating and prevents people from moving about except for essential activity, like trips for groceries, medical needs and jobs deemed essential. Hillsborough County is working on a similar measure, but its transit agency has yet to suspend any of its routes.
The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority did previously announce reduced hours for the TECO Line Streetcar, a free transit option for those in downtown Tampa and Ybor City. The change was triggered by the recent shutdown of bars and other entertainment activities, along with the limiting of restaurant hours.
The streetcar is running from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
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