The Pinellas Suncoast Travel Authority is the latest to take a hit as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
As travel options continue to fade, Tampabay.com reports that PSTA announced some changes coming to their services this week. One of which includes the indefinite suspension of the St. Petersburg Looper. The Looper provides free trips through the downtown St. Petersburg area. They have already provided nearly 11,000 rides in February, doubling its 2018 numbers.
The next on the PSTA suspension list is the South Clearwater Beach Jolley Trolley. The Jolley Trolley averages 427 riders daily. The travel authority announced that both of these ride services will be dormant as of Monday March 30th. Not what may who use these services want to hear.
For now, there will be limited service on The Jolley Trolley North Clearwater Beach Route and the North Coastal Route to Tarpon Springs. Those will continue to operate, but with a limited Saturday schedule that ends at 10 p.m.
The transit authority cited the Pinellas County resolution to “stay at home” as the reason for the big change in service. The county resolution (not an order) has caused a massive lack of ridership, due to the closing of many small businesses and hotels along the Trolley’s route. People aren’t moving about except for essential activity like getting groceries or mediations.
Hillsborough County may soon follow. They are reportedly working on a similar measure, but it’s transit agency has not yet suspended any routes. That being said, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority did previously announce reduced hours for the TECO Line Streetcar, a ride free option in downtown Tampa and Ybor City.
That change was initiated by the previous closing of many downtown area restaurants and bars and the limiting of restaurant hours. For now, the streetcar is running from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday -Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.
It’s the trickle down effect. Each closing will ultimately cause more hardships for another business or person. Another reason Governor DeSantis has been cautious to use any kind of “stay home” language.
We all need to pull together and limit our social contact with others (a good rule during every cold and flu season anyway) but especially this episode. Covid 19 is a nasty virus.
Please remember, not to panic. It is NOT the end of the world. This too shall pass.
In the meantime…
Tampa area businesses: who’s open, who’s closed, who’s changed their hours…
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