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Bus Ridership Plummets Across the Tampa Bay Region
"Bus ridership saw a sudden drop in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties last year, mirroring a nationwide trend," reports Caitlin Johnston.
"The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority saw the steepest decline, dropping 10 percent. The agency provided about 1.5 million fewer passenger trips, falling to 13.4 million trips from fiscal year 2015 to 2016," according to the article.
"Across the bay, the slide was smaller but still substantial, with Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority ridership falling more than 6 percent to just over 14 million rides. That's nearly 1 million trips fewer than in fiscal year 2015," adds Johnston.
The ridership numbers are now fodder for an ongoing debate in the region about transit funding. On one side are transit advocates and agency employees who say ridership will rebound. On the other side are Tea Party voices who resist any funding for transit projects and programs.