The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority received a top industry award Monday, marking it as one of the highest-performing public transportation agencies in North America.
The American Public Transportation Association gave the agency one of its Outstanding Public Transportation System awards, which were distributed to agencies in four size brackets based on their work from 2020 through 2022.
The Transit Authority won the award for agencies with between 3 million and 15 million annual passenger trips. It’s the first time in the agency’s 39-year history that it’s won the award, said spokesperson Stephanie Weaver, and highlights the agency’s post-pandemic strides, including the launch last year of the SunRunner, a rapid bus line connecting downtown St. Petersburg to the Pinellas beaches that has so far been free to ride.
“Receiving this national recognition is so gratifying because it reflects our employees’ hard work and dedication to making PSTA the leader in public transit, not just here in the Tampa Bay area, but across the country,” agency CEO Brad Miller said in a news release.
The American Public Transportation Association, founded in the late 19th century as the American Street Railway Association, represents more than 1,500 agencies, covering about 90% of the people who ride public transit in the U.S. and Canada, according to its website. It started handing out awards in 1983, the year before the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority was created.
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority’s award came in the third-largest ridership bracket. Recent winners of similar size include transit agencies for Kansas City, Missouri, in 2022 and Sacramento, California, in 2021.
It’s the first time a Tampa Bay area agency has won the award since the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority received it in 2010, in what was then a category for agencies with annual ridership between 4 million and 20 million.