PETERSBURG, Fla., (November 5, 2018) Pinellas County’s transit organization, The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), engaged HCP Associates earlier this year to conduct a community sentiment study. The organization conducts rider surveys but despite rising ridership, a majority of Pinellas County citizens are untapped by their services. This realization promoted the organization to extend its data collection beyond their base of riders and to collect sentiments from those who never utilize PSTA services or utilize on solely a non-routine basis.

The baseline sentiment study was created to gain insight into community sentiments and perceptions about PSTA. The questionnaire was created with collaboration from C-level PSTA leadership to uncover basic knowledge – what the community knew about PSTA, its services, how well it was meeting community expectations and general sentiments about the organization. The study produced quantitative baseline data, which enables data points to be tracked in years to come.

The telephonic survey yielded a statistically valid representation from all areas of Pinellas County. The survey gave light to positive community feedback, including strong recognition of PSTA as Pinellas County’s transit organization and brand awareness. Additionally, 90% of respondents agreed that the PSTA delivers a valuable service to residents of Pinellas County. PSTA also wanted to gauge how the community associates the organization with their own values; therefore, the community was asked to rate their level of agreement with statements from their Path Forward document. The Path Forward document is PSTA’s strategic plan, outlining priorities, their mission and vision for the future.

Upon completion of analysis, operational areas of opportunity include: safety at the bus stops, decreased wait times, reduced traffic congestion and knowledge about programs, services and branding of their services.

HCP’s Research Coordinator, Madelin Ghomshe stated, “The transit organization utilized this community survey in conjunction with rider surveys and employee surveys to really uncover and delve into sentiments from three key stakeholder groups. Being able to understand rider and non-rider sentiments independently of each other is very helpful in future user conversion.”

HCP’s presentation of their findings is available here and the final report can be accessed here.