(Clearwater, Fla. - WFLA)  The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is adding buses to the agency’s most crowded bus route.  Effective Sunday, June 8, 2014, PSTA riders will enjoy enhanced service along the Route 52, which in recent years has struggled to keep up with demand. “We’ve wanted to make this improvement for a long time, but didn’t have the money” says PSTA CEO Brad Miller.  “Property taxes make up a large portion of our operating funds and the drop in property tax revenue from the recession has limited our ability to add service.” PSTA officials say the agency has lost more than $40 million dollars since 2008. 

Miller says that thanks to all-time record ridership and efficiency-related cost savings identified by staff, PSTA is now experiencing a budget surplus, which is being used to provide the long-awaited improvements to the Route 52 (operating from Downtown Clearwater to Downtown St. Petersburg primarily along East Bay/West Bay Dr. and 49th St.). “We’re adding five trips in each direction. It will definitely help with the overcrowding on this one route and we're thrilled to improve this service, but PSTA still has too many routes that operate infrequently and end too early to be reliable to our customers.  It's a proven fact that increased ridership results from increases in bus frequency.  

Other changes taking effect for PSTA this Sunday will be new schedules that more accurately reflect bus arrival times for Routes 30 and 23.  Plus, a detour around the Betty Lane closure in Clearwater on Route 78 will become permanent due to the popularity and increased ridership along the detour.  

The new timetables are available at PSTA’s Customer Service Centers, on board the buses, via mail, and in digital form at www.PSTA.net <http://www.psta.net/>. Riders can also plan their trip at www.PSTA.net <http://www.PSTA.net> by using the agency’s Google Trip Planner located on the right side of the PSTA homepage. 

Photo courtesy of PSTA