At today’s PSTA board meeting, board member and Pinellas County commissioner Janet Long said she was “stunned” to hear that the average cost per rider on bus route 444 is $53.85. Long asked why PSTA staff had not already “eliminated” bus route 444, given its low ridership and consequent high cost per rider.
However, when PSTA staff recommended eliminating route 444 in August 2015, Long voted “no” (meeting minutes here showing that vote.)
“I don’t understand why you wouldn’t eliminate that service [and] provide those people with an Uber to go where they wanted to go,” Long told PSTA Chief Development officer Cassandra Borchers. Rather than addressing Long’s accusation-laden assertion, Borchers awkwardly said “thank you” in response.
“I mean, I don’t understand why we didn’t do that a long time ago, that’s just insane,” Long said in response to the awkward thank you from Borchers. “Thank you,” Borchers replied for a second time.
Long appears to have “forgotten” her 2015 vote. Long may also have forgotten that in order to realign or eliminate a bus route, a public hearing must be held. PSTA staff cannot simply “make it happen” as Long suggested staff do.
Also, wheel-chair-bound passengers can currently board all of PSTA’s buses. “An Uber” would not be able to service those people, thereby putting PSTA in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Guardian has previously detailed the erratic actions of Long, including when Long earlier this year claimed that a local transportation agency’s work was “bullshit.” The assertions she made in connection with her claim were factually inaccurate.