Case Study: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
“Reducing pickups reduces costs.” It was just that simple for Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority’s Facility Manager Kevin Hoyt. With more than one million riders per month, the PSTA is responsible for 280 square miles in 24 different municipalities, and 830 of its 5,000 bus stops include trash cans.
With an outsourced cleaning contract that has been as high as $500,000 per year to maintain those stops and empty those trash cans, being able to reduce collection-associated costs has been critical during these lean budget years.
Hoyt discovered Bigbelly and immediately saw it as a way to drive down those collection costs, particularly at high-volume stops where the trash was being collected 5-6 times per week.
By utilizing on-site compaction, Bigbelly components are capable of holding more than 150 gallons of waste – up to five times what a traditional trash can is able to hold – before they need to be collected.
Picking Their Spots
“I’ve been involved with the whole trash program for a while so I knew how to approach this with the high volume areas to eliminate the frequency of pickups which equates to savings,” Hoyt said. “It’s all about cost. Everything’s cost.”
Using an ARCGIS map and the data provided by the automatic passenger counts from their buses, Hoyt was able to identify 109 locations that service 100+ passengers per day and would be excellent candidates for this solution.
Hoyt then deployed PSTA’s first 14 stations in some of the locations where they would make the biggest impact. “I wouldn’t put them at every bus stop, but I would like to put them at our most heavily used ones – our problem child spots,” Hoyt said. “I’d like to target those first.”
One area in particular where Bigbelly has had an immediate impact is a transfer point in St. Petersburg where more than 1,000 passengers pass through per day. Hoyt installed four stations to reduce the six collections per week that location had previously required.
Morning Marching Orders
“I love these things. I think it’s great. We get a nice email alert every morning if we need to pick them up,” Hoyt said, referring to the daily notifications powered by the CLEAN Monitoring Console. “First thing in the morning our crews go and empty them.”
But more efficient operations are not the only reason PSTA is happy with their deployment and ordering more each year.
“There’s a buzz, I know from speaking first hand with the passengers in our community. It’s all positive. From what I see on the ground I know that the areas are cleaner, I can tell that people pitch in more,” Hoyt said, adding that being able to prevent the homeless population from getting into the trash area is a major factor in keeping things tidy. “The surrounding area is much cleaner than it was before.”
Putting Green on Display
With its second purchase, Hoyt is also using Bigbelly to further the sustainability image of PSTA and is introducing a recycling option for the first time at the lay-by point near the Authority’s headquarters. “We wanted to show the public a green initiative, that we’re recycling.”