ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Almost 330,000 people moved to Florida in the past year. That’s making the roads we all rely on much busier.
Soon, there will be a new option connecting Downtown St. Pete and St. Pete this upcoming August 2022.
“It’s incredibly important. Traffic is going to keep plaguing our region and getting worse and worse. We have lots of development in downtown and at the beach that will make traffic worse and so we need transportation alternatives like this,” said Brad Miller who heads up the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Agency.
PSTA just unveiled the first of 16 bus stops for the new Sunrunner Bus Rapid Transit.
The SunRunner will run routes between downtown and the beach every 15 minutes.
“We’ll get people to take it because if you go from here to St. Pete Beach on a Saturday or Sunday, guess what? There’s no place to park,” said Commissioner Janet Long who has been involved with the project for the past 6 years.
The Sunrunner is unique because part of the 10-mile route includes dedicated lanes on 1st Avenue North and South, allowing the bus to continue its quick transit even during rush hour. It’s a model Pinellas County hopes to use on other roadways soon like those leading up to the Howard Frankland Bridge.
“To think that we can continue moving people on highways and roads is just nuts because we don’t have any more space to build roads,” Commissioner Long added.
Pinellas County leaders hope the new route will change people’s minds about public transportation and encourage them to use it in a county where commuting by car is only getting trickier.
“This SunRunner Rapid Transit is different than the rest of the services. It is clean, fun, feels like it’s in St Pete because it’s a unique option for our community,” Miller added.
The SunRunner 40-foot long buses and bus stations also feature art by local artists.