St. Pete and PSTA unveil first electric bus in Tampa Bay


The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority won another $1 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration to purchase two new electric buses for the agency’s fleet, St. Petersburg Congressman Charlie Crist announced Wednesday.

The grant and purchase will bring PSTA’s fleet of all-electric buses to six by 2020.

The announcement came during a ceremony on the steps of St. Pete City Hall unveiling the region’s first all-electric bus. The no-emission trolley will be used for a downtown St. Pete looper.

That service will be free for riders when it launches Sunday. The city of St. Pete allocated $360,000 a year for operating costs to run the looper.

The service will operate every 15 minutes during the day and evening, seven days a week.

“This is a step towards a greener, cleaner future for Pinellas County,” PSTA CEO Brad Miller said.“We’ve led the charge as an innovator and a leader in the transit industry, and now we’ve accomplished another milestone by launching the first zero-emission, all-electric bus service in St. Petersburg.”

PSTA purchased two electric buses from Los Angeles-based electric bus manufacturer BYD Inc. as part of its zero-emission vehicle program.

Pinellas County allocated about $600,000 from its BP oil spill settlement fund for a downtown charging station.

The transit agency used its first $1 million FTA grant to purchase the buses. Two more buses are expected to arrive in 2019,

This $1 million federal grant – for the second year in a row – will “ensure they continue leading the charge in providing sustainable transportation options,” Crist said.

Pinellas County Commissioner and PSTA Board Chair Janet Long said the looper launch is a step in the right direction toward sustainable, regional transit.

“This region has been on the short side of getting federal funding for far too long,” Long said.

The service launches as regional transit planners and elected officials work to implement a regional transit line connecting downtown St. Pete to Wesley Chapel along Interstate 275. That plan has not yet been finalized, but PSTA supports its implementation.

Currently transit between Pinellas and Hillsborough counties is only available on limited routes on the Gandy and Howard Frankland Bridges. PSTA recently launched a connection to Tampa International Airport, but stops on that route are limited to the airport and downtown Tampa.

Riders must connect to other locations by transferring to a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit bus.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704