SunRunner will launch in a few weeks, easing St. Pete Beach parking headaches

Beachgoers in Pinellas County know finding parking can be a real hassle, especially during holidays like Labor Day – but those worries may soon be a thing of the past as the SunRunner is scheduled to be up and running in October.

It's the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority's new bus rapid transit service. The 10-mile line will connect St. Pete Beach to downtown St. Petersburg. It will launch Oct. 21.

Photo: Shows the SunRunner which will launch in late October 2022

PSTA's new SunRunner will launch in late October 2022

Buses are scheduled to run every 15 minutes during the day and every half hour in the evening. There are 30 stations between downtown St. Pete and the beach. The first was unveiled in December 2021.

PSTA officials said because it has dedicated bus lanes and stations – not stops – it operates faster, like a train. They said it's more about getting people from one destination to the other.

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"It's going to provide economic development opportunities, affordable housing opportunities for more housing in a long line," said Brad Miller, CEO of PSTA. "You already see that in St. Petersburg, where apartments are being built and things are being built along the SunRunner stations... That's why we want to provide this service, too, and to improve our community."

For the first six months, the SunRunner will be free. When the fare kicks in, it will be more affordable than having to park at the beach in many areas. 

A one-day group pass for up to five people is just $10. Kids who are 8 years old or younger can ride for free.