Pasco County Public Transportation wants input on how it rolls
WESLEY CHAPEL - Pasco County Public Transportation officials will hold four workshops across the county, starting Saturday at The Shops at Wiregrass. The workshops will be the public's chance to offer input on the types of service the transit agency provides. As the county puts together its 10-year plan, which is done every five years, in conjunction with Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization, it wants public input to help map out the future of public transportation. "It's definitely very important," said Nina Stampfli, program coordinator for Pasco County Public Transportation."People can come out and let us know how they feel," she said. "Not only about what they want to see, but how they feel about the service and let us know how we're doing. "Also, these workshops serve as a way for us to provide information to people and answer questions." The county has 10 bus routes, six serving west Pasco and three for east Pasco. The 10th route went into service in March 2012 and moves passengers from one side of the county to the other along State Road 54. Budget issues derailed a route along Moon Lake Road in New Port Richey, but that project is back under consideration, Stampfli said. There were no dates on when any of the suggestions might be implemented. The transit agency will, however, add 80 shelters at bus stops across the county. PCPT uses 18 buses to service its routes, stopping at bus stops every hour in most spots and every 30 minutes along U.S. 19. PCPT hopes to make the 30 minutes between stops a countywide norm. The transit system had 975,000 riders last year, which is close to the record set in 2008 when 1.05 million people rode PCPT buses. When comparing fiscal years, which run from January to October, 2012 ridership was up by 13 percent compared with 2011. Officials say that if the trend of rising ridership continues, 2008's record numbers will be eclipsed. "When we added (the S.R. 54 route) and increased the frequency on 19, it became more attractive to people to not use their vehicles and hop on the bus," Stampfli said. "And gas prices also helped, especially for people who are low-income or elderly," she said. "For $18 you can ride for 31 days, so that's attractive." The first workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at The Shops at Wiregrass' Paseo Drive Center Court. On Feb. 16, a workshop will be held at the West Pasco Government Center, 8731 Citizens Drive, New Port Richey. The final two will be held April 12 at Hugh Embry Branch Library, 14215 N. Fourth St., Dade City, and April 23 at the West Pasco Government Center. Stampfli said PCPT takes suggestions throughout the year, and those remarks are used to improve the 10-year plan. For those who can't attend the workshops, written comments can be sent to PCPT through April 26. The address is Pasco County Public Transportation, 8620 Galen Wilson Boulevard, Port Richey FL 34668. Those comments can be submitted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information, call Pasco County Public Transportation at (727) 834-3322 (west Pasco), (813) 235-6073 (central Pasco) or (352) 521-4587 (east Pasco). People with disabilities who need help to participate in the workshops can get assistance at no cost. At least five business days before the desired meeting, contact: Consumer Affairs Section, West Pasco Government Center, 7530 Little Road, New Port Richey FL 34654, or call (727) 847-8110 in New Port Richey and (352) 521-4272, ext. 8110, in Dade City. The hearing impaired should call (800) 955-8771.
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