PSTA to purchase three additional buses for SunRunner service

May 25, 2023
The addition of the 40-foot hybrid buses will support delivery of 15-minute frequency along the route.

Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is using savings from delivering its SunRunner project under budget to purchase additional vehicles for the bus rapid transit service. The PSTA Board of Directors approved the purchase of three additional 40-foot BRT Plus BAE Series hybrid electric buses from Gillig.

PSTA says the additional buses will ensure 15-minute frequency continues along SunRunner’s 10.3-mile corridor. The buses were also needed to serve an additional station in downtown St. Petersburg.

Since its debut in October 2022, SunRunner has served more than 635,000 riders. Ridership has proven popular during special events, including Halloween on Central, Localtopia and the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which all saw ridership numbers surpass 10,000 on their respective weekends.

“As the ridership numbers show, the SunRunner is our most popular route, and with these new buses, we will be able to move more people in fast and convenient way,” said PSTA CEO Brad Miller.

The project was constructed using a $21.8 million grant through the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants Program. Because the project was delivered for $5 million under budget, PSTA can use the savings to further enhance the federally funded project, which it is doing with the new bus stop and additional buses.

“I am proud PSTA continues its work to improve an already impressive service,” said Gina Driscoll, chair of the PSTA Board. “By coming in under budget and making plans to add more buses and a new station closer to the pier, PSTA is enhancing our quality of life and helping to drive our economy.”

The new buses are expected to be delivered next spring and will include interior onboard bike racks, passenger information displays, extra-wide boarding doors and will be capable of hosting transit signal priority systems.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.