- December 8, 2021
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority on Thursday will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $44 million SunRunner, the region’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) system.
First announced in August 2020, the SunRunner will connect downtown St. Petersburg to the Pinellas County beaches. Buses will travel in dedicated lanes and make stops at new raised platforms along the 10.3-mile route.
According to a news release, the ribbon-cutting ceremony begins at 2 p.m. at the corner of 1st Avenue North and 5th Street North in St. Pete. It will be attended by St. Pete Mayor Ken Welch, Florida State Rep. Michele Rayner, Yvette Taylor of the Federal Transit Administration, David Gwynn of the Florida Department of Transportation, St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership CEO Jason Mathis, PSTA CEO Brad Miller and Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard, who also serves as PSTA board chairman.
The SunRunner will commence operations at 6 a.m. Friday. The first 500 riders, the release states, will receive a limited-edition SunRunner Gold Card that will provide discounts at more than 30 local businesses, including the Dali Museum, Pete’s Bagels, Tombolo Books, Green Bench Brewing and Wild Roots.
“One of the benefits of the SunRunner is the foot traffic it will bring to local businesses along the route as well as the discovery of new and interesting places that people might overlook when driving by in their car,” Miller states in the release. “This Gold Card program highlights some of those unique businesses and how easy it is to get to them while riding the SunRunner instead of driving.”