Florida’s west coast transit agencies brace for Tropical Storm Elsa’s impact

July 7, 2021
Transit services have been suspended with hurricane warnings stretching across much of Florida’s west coast.

Transit services across the Tampa Bay region, as well as up and down Florida’s west coast were suspended Tuesday afternoon in preparation for Hurricane Elsa’s arrival in the early hours of Wednesday.

In Hillsborough County, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) moved service suspension up three hours Wednesday from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and resumed service on July 7 at 10:00 a.m. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office took to twitter to remind residents that if they can stay inside, they should with wet ground and wind causing downed trees.

Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) suspended service on July 6 at 3:30 p.m. with services resuming at 8:00 a.m. on July 7. Prior to Tuesday’s service suspension, PSTA provided county residents and their pets free transport to evacuation centers.

Collier Area Transit in Naples, Fla., and Lee County Transit each suspended bus services at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday and resumed normal service Wednesday morning, but each warned of possible delays due to weather.

Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) cancelled all SCAT bus service, SCAT Plus, Siesta Key Breeze and OnDemand by Sarasota County services July 6 “out of an abundance of caution and not wanting to strand people mid-day.” Sarasota County resumed service at 8:00 a.m., but cautioned OnDemand by Sarasota County could be impacted by flooding.

Citrus Connection, which operates in Polk County, began operations later than normal on July 7 with a start time of 7:15 a.m., which allowed the sun to rise and provide drivers with the visibility needed to see and avoid any flooding that may have occurred.

Elsa started Tuesday as a tropical storm before being upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane as maximum sustained winds increased to 75 mph. The National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center warned of heavy rainfall that could result in “considerable flash, urban and minor to isolated moderate river flooding.” The storm lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical storm as it approached Florida’s Big Bend region for landfall Wednesday morning.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group 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.