Re: "Bus Boy"
by Scott Harrell (January 7-13)
Thanks very much for this article. Though Scott Harrell finds a lot of fault — which is there to be found — I believe that whatever brings public transportation to the public's attention is good.
Those of us who come from places with good public transportation (in my case, NYC) sorely miss it here and are convinced that its absence hinders our fullest development. (Manhattan dwellers tend to effuse delightedly about their freedom from parking worries, insurance bills, etc.; they rent a car when one's needed and have far lower costs than owners face.)
We haven't the same density of population here but still very much need effective public transportation. Harrell's experience, taking three hours to get to Ybor from St. Pete, makes the point that reduced ridership results in reduced service, which results in fewer riders, and so on. We need to break that cycle.
For approximately the last 20 years I have worked for better public transit in Pinellas County by publishing The Pinellas Passenger and various advocacy efforts. For example, I convinced Senator Sullivan to draft a law altering the makeup of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority Board of Directors to require two non-elected officials, which the Legislature ultimately adopted.
Your article showed a great deal of insight into the problems of a new or infrequent passenger on our inadequate bus system. The more publicity the problems of the PSTA gets, the more likely it is that someday the management and makeup of the agency will be revised in order that it may become more professional and more usable.—John Royse
Via e-mailPinellas County has a very poor mass transit system. First of all, if you aren't home by 9 p.m. you should be looking for a park bench because that is where you are going to spend the night. PSTA wants people to ride the bus, but they do not provide service for anyone who works anything but the normal day shift. Forget second or third shift.
Second: On weekends everyone who rides busses is stuck in Pinellas County. It would be nice if just one of the X routes would run on the weekends, even a half-schedule. A lot of weekends I would like to go over to Tampa but cannot. Also I imagine that there are a lot of people who would be interested in coming over here from Tampa for a lot of things, e.g., Sunday baseball games.
Just wanted to let you know I (and plenty of others, I'm sure) appreciate your style and commentary on various topics — especially the "shirtless walking dude" (absolutely classic), and the bus. I took it once to the office; it took an hour but I can bike it in 20 minutes, not to mention the guy next to me who had pissed in his pants for the last week or so with no shower in between.
I really enjoyed your article on trying to ride the bus to work. As a long-time bicycle commuter, I have to say your punch line was perfect: Buy a bike.
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