PSTA Earns National Recognition for Sustainability
PSTA operates Florida’s largest fleet of hybrid-electric vehicles, with more than 80 buses in the fleet. In addition, two all-electric buses are currently in operation.
PINELLAS PARK – As the threat of climate change looms, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority has received national recognition for its sustainability efforts.
The American Public Transportation Association is upgrading PSTA to Silver-Level Sustainability status.
“We know that rising seas are already having an impact on our hometown and daily lives, from flooding to more severe storms. While we still have a long way to go, we are committed to serving as a leader in the transportation industry, showing that the future of mass transit can and should help protect our environment and economic vitality,” PSTA CEO Brad Miller said.
Pinellas County Commissioner and PSTA Chair Janet Long said, “From our pristine beaches to our thriving downtown, Pinellas County is a great place to call home. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to help reduce the devastating effects of climate change, so future generations can continue to enjoy this incredible quality of life.”
PSTA operates Florida’s largest fleet of hybrid-electric vehicles, with more than 80 buses in the fleet. In addition, two all-electric buses are currently in operation, with four more planned for 2020. All future bus purchases will continue to primarily be hybrid-electric vehicles.
Going a step further, PSTA has reduced electricity consumption by 15 percent over five years by investing in facility upgrades, including a new HVAC system. An employee recycling program has diverted more than 35 tons of waste from landfills over the past two years. PSTA also operates an after-hours service that provides Uber and taxi rides to low-income riders going to or from work when buses are not running.
Public transit agencies and businesses voluntarily choose to join the APTA Sustainability Commitment program and pledge to implement sustainability projects. Based on specific measurable achievements, organizations are given Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Level recognition. First started in 2009, 152 public transit agencies and businesses have signed on to the APTA Sustainability Commitment. PSTA is one of only 49 signatories that have received higher level recognition.
St. Petersburg and Tampa are within the top 25 cities susceptible to coastal flooding due in part to sea level rise in the next 30 years. By 2050, about 91,000 people in St. Petersburg and 57,000 in Tampa will live in locations vulnerable to flooding, which will be exacerbated by climate change and rising seas, according to a survey from the nonprofit group Climate Central.
Photo of PSTA electric bus courtesy of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.
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