PINELLAS COUNTY, Florida – An innovative new program is helping key employees who rely on the bus to get to or from work but are no longer able to reliably use PSTA buses due to agency capacity constraints and limited service during the pandemic.
Brad Miller, the CEO of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, said some drivers actually couldn’t get in. Due to COVID-19 security procedures, only 15 drivers are allowed on board at a time.
“Especially in rush hour, you have to leave some people behind,” Miller said.
Stephanie Glover is a key contributor to National Molding in Largo. When the pandemic broke out, their bus route changed from the typical weekday schedule to the weekend schedule. That kept her crawling to get to work on time.
“It made me get to work 20 or 30 minutes late every day,” said Glover.
Glover went to her boss about the problem. She was soon one of about 50 people who are now part of the Essential Workers Program. It started a few months ago.
Through the program, PSTA helps these employees get on or off board with Uber, United Taxi or Care Ride.
Eligibility – You may be eligible if:
- You are a key employee (with employer verification)
- You drive or used to take the bus to work
- You are now late for work or cannot go to work due to the limited bus connection
PSTA staff will contact you within 1 to 2 business days, discuss various options for getting to and from work, and determine your eligibility.
There are also options for disabled drivers who rely solely on public transport to get from place to place to request ridesharing through PSTA.
Miller said these programs also grow in the pandemic.
“We’ve really stepped up our partnerships with Uber and Lyft,” Miller said. “We are seeing more and more record numbers of people with disabilities using our programs. We are very excited about that.”
If you need information on special services for drivers with disabilities during services with reduced capacity during the pandemic or on bus timetables, detours or special services from PSTA, Call the agency InfoLine at 727-540-1900.