More convenient public transportation options are on their way to Countryside residents this winter.
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is adding three flex routes to connect riders in Dunedin, Palm Harbor, East Lake, Tarpon Springs and Oldsmar to the main Pinellas bus routes, Pasco County Public Transit and HART.
The North County Connector service will start Dec. 10 and operate Monday through Friday on an hourly basis between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. and also hourly on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. It uses the same fare structure as the PTSA system, but ridership is free during the kick-off month of December, PTSA says.
How it works:
The connector will pick up riders within a three-quarters of a mile radius from PSTA's fixed routes (with some flexibility). Riders must make trip reservations at least two hours in advance. The reservations are made on a first-come, first-served basis and accepted Monday through Saturday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to PSTA plans.
An Aug. 15 presentation indicates that PSTA plans the following three flex routes:
- Countryside / Oldsmar / Tampa Connector will operate between Westfield Countryside Mall and the HART Northwest Transfer Center. Route will provide connections to PSTA routes 19, 62, 67, 76 ,78 and the Dunedin/Palm Harbor 17 Connector at Westfield and HART routes 16, 30, 34, 39, 61LX and Town & Country Flex at the HART Northwest Transfer Center. Route 30 serves Tampa International Airport.
- Dunedin / Palm Harbor Connector will operate between Westfield Countryside Mall and U.S. 19/Alderman (Walmart) primarily via State Route 580 / Main Street, downtown Dunedin, County Road 1. It will connect to PSTA routes 19, 62, 67, 76, 78 and the Countryside / Oldsmar / Tampa Connector route.
- East Lake Connector will operate between Tampa Road/East Lake Boulevard to Tarpon Mall where connections can be made on PSTA Route 19 and 66 and PCPT Route 19. Connections to PSTA Route 62 and the Countryside/Oldsmar/Tampa Connector are available at the Shoppes of Boot Ranch.
The decision to add the routes is based largely on 250 surveys and feedback from approximately 150 groups, business, civil and religious organizations, according to PSTA.
The added routes are possible though $476,000 in FDOT funds.