Riders awaiting public buses will now be able to check emails or surf the Web at three major terminals throughout Pinellas County.
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
(PSTA) offers free wi-fi at its three main transfer centers: Williams Park terminal at 340 2nd Ave. N. and Grand Central Station at 3180 Central Ave. in St. Pete
, and its Park Street terminal at 525 Park Street in Clearwater
. The password needed to connect to the service is "RidePSTA."
Bob Lasher, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority's community relations manager, says PSTA saw a chance to offer wi-fi with no additional cost, and took it.
"The decision was actually quite simple," says Lasher. "We were upgrading the computer systems and service at our terminals, which allowed us to install wi-fi at the terminals at no additional charge. Of course, our riders are still subject to outages due to Bright House
service interruptions. We hope to offer it on buses someday as well, but that's an expensive project and beyond our scope right now."
Lasher says there are further plans in the works to use technology to make the rider experience easier. "The wi-fi equipment is part of a real-time bus information project that is being paid for with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
(ARRA) funds. Within the next year-and-a-half, riders will be able to find out when the next bus is arriving at any given stop just by using a smart phone, computer or via text message."
Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Bob Lasher, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority