Land O’ Lakes route to lose bus stop, weekend service

Bus Route 41, in Land O’ Lakes, no longer will be making a stop on Collier Parkway — and also will discontinue operating on Saturdays.

Those changes were approved by the Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) board on Sept. 12.

Pasco County Public Transportation will remove the bus stop on Collier Parkway from Route 41, which runs in Land O’ Lakes. The entire route, which mainly runs along U.S. 41, also will exclude Saturdays from its service.(Courtesy of Pasco County Public Transportation)

The changes were prompted by a recommendation from Pasco County Public Transportation based on its research and public feedback.

“We received some concerns from some of our riders on Route 41,” Kurt Scheible  director of public transportation for the county told the MPO board.

“Unfortunately, it’s not one of our better routes.”

The route begins at the U.S. 41 intersection with Central Boulevard. It continues south to multiple stops, including where U.S. 41 meets Gator Lane, State Road 54 and the apex where U.S. 41 and North Dale Mabry Highway branch off.

Although other stops are along U.S. 41, the route also included a jog onto State Road 54, over to Collier Parkway, where riders could pick up the bus near the Land O’ Lakes Recreation Complex.

However, Scheible said, very few patrons took advantage of the stop and those riding the bus considered the stop to be an inconvenience because it delayed them in getting to their destinations.

A study done by the transportation department in June revealed a low volume of riders on Route 41, Scheible said.

There were only 250 trips made on weekdays and 20 on Saturdays during the month, he noted.

During 2018, of all of the county’s 825,767 bus trips, Route 41 only had slightly over 1,900 – making it the lowest performing route in the county’s transportation system, he said.

The study also showed that barely any riders used the service on Saturdays, he added.

The director also noted that those using the Collier Parkway stop were primarily using it to get to shops along State Road 54.

Because of the findings, the bus service decided to drop the Collier Parkway stop and to end Saturday services on the route.

Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore, who sits on the MPO board expressed agreement.

“Obviously we wanted to make sure that everybody had access to our public facilities, including the library and the rec center,” he said. “But if nobody’s taking part in it, [it is] obviously understandable that we need to reevaluate that.”

The MPO board’s approval was the final action needed to push the initiative forward.

Scheible also mentioned future plans to extend Route 41 further north up to State Road 52, once that corridor has widened.

While services are being reduced in one part of the county, the MPO board took another action that may have the effect of boosting ridership countywide.

The board approved free bus transportation for veterans, active military and county employees who present proper identification.

The Pasco County Commission made the change official during its Sept. 18 meeting.

“The whole idea is: walk on [with a] picture ID, they hit the button and they’re riding for free wherever they need to go to,” Scheible said during the MPO meeting.

The changes to Route 41 and the free bus rides will take effect in October, the transportation director said.

Published October 2, 2019

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