GoPasco — Pasco County’s public transit agency — is planning to take a look at the services it provides and whether it needs to change them.
Kurt Scheible, the county’s director of public transportation, discussed the upcoming study with the board of the Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization.
The Pasco MPO board — made up of elected leaders of Pasco County, Zephyrhills, Dade City, New Port Richey and Port Richey — is the transportation planning agency for the county.
Scheible said a study, which will be awarded based on a request for proposals, will aim at helping the county deliver the services based on customer needs and demand.
Essentially, he said, the question is: “What can I do to make it better for people in Pasco County go get to where they want to — easy? How do I help them overcome transportation barriers to get to where they need to go?
“I don’t care what the destination is. That’s what we’re looking for. Nothing is off the table,” Scheible said.”
Some ideas he would like to explore, include:
- Can we get to some of the beautiful sporting complexes?
- Is there a way we can serve Saint Leo University better?
- What about providing a shuttle during the holidays between The Shops at Wiregrass and Tampa Premium Outlets? That way, motorists could park at one place, and go back and forth to shop and dine.
He told MPO board members that he wants a robust public participation process and told the board that its members will have the chance to weigh in on the issues.
“We’re looking at every aspect of the county,” he said, and the goal is to let the citizens and the MPO board have a significant impact on where the transit agency is going.
Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez welcomes the opportunity.
“I’m happy that we’re having this conversation,” she said. “I look forward to being included.”
Scheible said possible approaches could include a “mobility system on demand.”
He said he may be unfamiliar with such systems, but a consultant with experience of seeing transportation systems across the nation might be knowledgeable.
“I may have read about it in an article or heard about it from somebody, but they have actually helped design it somewhere across the country,” he said. “Maybe they can put something in place like that.”
Scheible made it clear: “I’m not saying what needs to be done. The citizens, the stakeholders, are telling me what needs to be done.”
The study should reveal the centers where people are traveling to, he said.
“We won’t be able to meet everybody’s needs, but we’ll come up with the best solution that we can do and move forward,” Scheible said.
Zephyrhills Councilman Lance Smith said that transit is likely to play a larger role, as increased traffic continues to slow movement for motorists across the county.
“It takes 20 or 30 minutes to get to a place where I used to be able to go to in 10 minutes,” Smith said.
“Every one of you knows how bad the traffic is, and it’s not going to get any better,” Smith said.
“So, I think people may be willing to ride public transport.
“I think we all need to work together on it.
“Thanks, Kurt, we’ll put on our thinking caps.” Smith added.
On another issue, Scheible updated the board on the status of pursuing some new bus shelters across the county.
Jacksonville’s transit agency has a bus shelter contract that Pasco can use to speed up the process, Scheible said.
“The good news about this is that the company will actually be able to design what we would like to have done and they’ll tell us what the price is, and we can move forward from there,” Scheible said.
“So, we’ll be able to present some options to you and you’ll have some input on which shelters you’d like in your area.
“The other good news is that we actually got the concrete and the civil engineering contracts in place to be able to put the bus shelters in.
“We’ll pour the concrete and make sure that we meet all of the codes, and so forth,” Scheible said.
Published January 19, 2022