Central route

Citing a few passengers, Pasco County cuts bus service on the central route

Passengers on the Pasco County public transport bus to Land O ‘Lakes asked county officials a question: Why are we driving 20 minutes away on Collier Parkway when no one is getting on or off?

It turns out they were right. Almost.

On average, only one person per week takes the Pasco bus system to the County Library and Recreation Center on Collier Parkway. And that’s not even the motorcyclist’s final destination, said Kurt Scheible, the county’s director of public transportation. The person then heads south to shop at the Publix store in Collier Commons at the corner of State Road 54 and Collier Parkway.

Tiny ridership is the reason the county is changing its bus service to Land O ‘Lakes and Lutz. As of October 1, the bus will remain on US 41 and N. Dale Mabry and will avoid the route stage on State Road 54 to Collier Parkway.

Additionally, also due to low ridership, the county will stop running buses on Saturdays on all of Route 41, stretching 10 miles between the WalMart store in Lutz and the Pasco County Utilities building on Central. Boulevard.

“Unfortunately, this is not one of our best routes,” Scheible said. “As far as the connection (Collier Parkway) goes, we never see anyone on it.”

Scheible made his comments last week in New Port Richey to the Pasco Metropolitan Planning Organization – county commissioners and city officials serving as transportation planners. The board unanimously approved the changes.

In June, an average of four people took the bus every Saturday. In 2018, the entire route saw 1,932 passengers, representing 0.02% of the county’s ridership of 825,767.

The county started the Land O ‘Lakes route in 2017. But last week two of Pasco’s biggest central bus advocates recognized the inevitable cutback in service.

“We wanted to make sure everyone has access to our public facilities,” said Commissioner Mike Moore. “But if no one participates, we have to reassess. “

Everything is flexible. If there is a request, they will provide it. If there is no demand and no one is using it, we can’t force them, ” said Christie Zimmer of Land O ‘Lakes, a former member of the citizens’ committee that advises the county on transportation issues.

Sandy Graves of Land O ‘Lakes, a member of the advisory committee, agreed.

“Most of the people who live here have cars. People take their cars. If no one is riding it, it doesn’t make sense to keep it going, ”she said.

Under the new schedule, the bus will run 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. between Central Boulevard and the Walmart store at the top of US 41 and N Dale Mabry Freeway. The change is expected to begin Oct. 1, but Scheible said it could be delayed to ensure passengers are aware of new route schedules.

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Service could be restored and Route 41 could be extended north to National Route 52, Scheible said, once plans to widen the SR 52 and US 41 are completed.