Stories about the coronavirus pandemic are free to read as a public service at tampabay.com/coronavirus. If this coverage is important to you, consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Tampa Bay Times at tampabay.com/subscribe.
• • •
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.
• • •
Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage
GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and Tampa Bay, six days a week
ISOLATED ENTERTAINMENT: Lists of ideas to help entertain yourself and your kids at home
LISTEN TO THE CORONAVIRUS PODCAST: New episodes every week, including interviews with experts and reporters
HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips
We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.