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Business Observer Monday, Nov. 29, 2021 2 months ago

City reaches milestone in new rapid-transit project

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St. Petersburg takes delivery of its fleet of SunRunner buses, plans to unveil first completed station.

ST. PETERSBURG — The long-awaited SunRunner bus rapid transit (BRT) system, scheduled to begin in summer 2022 in St. Petersburg, has taken a big step forward with the delivery of a fleet of nine hybrid-electric buses.

Manufactured by Gillig, the 40-foot buses will offer free Wi-Fi, onboard bike space and level boarding at all doors, according to a news release. Their livery will feature the Mr. Sun image created by local artist Chad Mize.

Running along First Avenue North and First Avenue South, the SunRunner BRT route will connect USF St. Petersburg in the east to St. Pete Beach in the west. The buses will operate in semi-dedicated lanes every 15 minutes during the day and 30 minutes in the evening. Boarding platforms are being constructed along First Avenue North and First Avenue South, with the first completed station expected to be unveiled on Friday, according to the release, at the intersection of First Avenue North and Fifth Street North.

The $43.9 million project was funded by the City of St. Petersburg, the Florida Department of Transportation, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and Federal Transit Administration. Riders will pay a flat fee of $5 to use the SunRunner, which is expected to cut travel time from downtown St. Pete to St. Pete Beach from 55 to 35 minutes.

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