PSTA Board Votes to begin Full SunRunner Fare October 1st

August 23, 2023 by
PSTA Board Votes to begin Full SunRunner Fare October 1st
Protect St. Pete Beach

August 23, 2023

This morning, PSTA Board members met to discuss SunRunner fare options as one item on a full agenda. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri began the discussion with a presentation that included images and facts of what is happening on St. Pete Beach. After 3.5 hours of discussion and public comment, it was the sheriff's support of Rene Flowers' motion to institute a full fare of $2.25 beginning October 1st that swayed the majority vote.

Sheriff Gualtieri said that he would continue to collaborate and allocate $10,000 per week for enhanced enforcement until the implementation of the full SunRunner fare. He also stated that beginning October 1st, these extra measures for safety and enforcement would be removed and data would be collected to see if charging a fare reduced the need for law enforcement in St. Pete Beach.

Public comment was overwhelmingly in favor of ending the free SunRunner. In addition to residents and business owners expressing concerns about quality of life and damage to St. Pete Beach's reputation as a tourist destination, the final group to speak was a large group of PSTA employees and SEIU union members. These employees are both bus drivers and bus monitors who have been asked to help police SunRunner buses over the past weeks. They expressed pride in the PSTA and SunRunner in particular, and shared concern that the value of the SunRunner as a "premium product" would be eroded if a fare is not charged.

The final PSTA Board vote was 12 Yes and 2 No. Voting against the measure were PSTA Board Chair Gina Driscoll and member Vince Cocks.

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