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Q&A with Kim Rankine on Her Journey as a PSTA Rider and Paratransit Advocate

Explore the story of Kim Rankine, a passionate advocate and PSTA Access rider, in our latest blog where she discusses her advocacy and daily life as a PSTA Access user, and how her collaborative efforts with Spare are shaping a better transit experience for paratransit riders in Pinellas County.

Lynda Chau

At Spare, we’re deeply committed to enhancing the mobility experience for our riders. Our hackathons are a key part of this commitment. During these events, Spare developers and product managers visit customer sites to listen to users and develop new features to address their needs. It was during one such hackathon at PSTA that we first met Kim Rankine. Together with Kim, the Spare team worked to enhance the PSTA Access App.

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Kim. Kim is a dedicated PSTA Access user, a Dali Museum volunteer, and a vital PSTA Transit Riders Advisory Committee member. Her journey with PSTA Access since 2003 has been filled with advocacy, service, and a deep commitment to the community. Here’s what she shared with me in our discussion.

As someone who uses PSTA Access frequently, can tell us about how you use PSTA Access?

Kim: PSTA Access takes me out and about. I use it because I volunteer at the Dali Museum. Plus, I'm on committees for the county, so I like the independence it gives me. It’s a great feeling, you know? I use it about four or five times a week. I book my ride six days in advance, then I receive a 24-hour notice confirmation before the ride and a 1-hour notice before the ride. It’s great!

You've been with PSTA for quite some time. What has your experience been like working with them?

Kim: It's been great! I mean, shoot, it's been over 20 years, and the people there really care about the clients. That's one thing I love: whenever I have an issue, they're like, “We're sorry, Kim. We're gonna look into that, get back to you right away, and ensure that it doesn't happen again.”

I understand that you are a power user of the PSTA Access App that Spare developed. How has the app changed your experience with PSTA Access?

Kim: Oh, it's awesome, I love the app! I use it to make my reservation, get the status of my ride, and confirm that I have my reservation scheduled. It’s also nice to be able to track the driver and what time they will actually pick me up.

I’ve recommended the PSTA Access App to four or five of my friends. They’ve started using it too and absolutely love it. It’s like night and day. They were all surprised I hadn't told them about it sooner.

A photo of Kim Rankine
Kim RankineParatransit Advocate and PSTA Access Rider

I’ve recommended the PSTA Access App to four or five of my friends. They’ve started using it too and absolutely love it. It’s like night and day. They were all surprised I hadn't told them about it sooner.

What was it like working directly with Spare during the hackathon at PSTA?

Kim: I met with Nick (Spare’s User Experience Product Manager) back in September.  Bonnie (Director of Mobility Services at PSTA) and I had a meeting with Spare. I was working with Nick, trying to make the app even better for everybody. I gave Nick and his team all my issues and concerns, and they were already working on it the next day. Talk about being proactive!

Were the changes you suggested put into the software? 

Kim: Oh, heck, yeah. It was awesome. It's funny, I peeked at my phone, like, look at this, honey, it's already been done. You know, I just was so happy that we had that meeting with Spare.

Your volunteer work at the Dali Museum must be quite enriching. Can you share what a typical day looks like for you there?

Kim: I work the information booth. So, like, if you have a question about the Dali app or about the tours, or you want to know where the galleries are at or you want to know where local transportation is, where restaurants are in the area, I'm your lady. Walking into the museum, I'm there to meet you. It’s really cool. I mean, I meet people from all over the world there.

As we wrap up our conversation, could you elaborate on your advocacy role within the community, especially on the Transit Riders Advisory Committee?

Kim: On PSTA, the Transit Riders Advisory Committee, I represent Access. I do things to make access better for the physically challenged in our community. We just need to make sure that we keep our commitments to physically challenged people because, I mean, it’s not like they can get around whenever they completely rely on PSTA to get out in our community.

PSTA Access provides paratransit services for individuals unable to independently use the regularly accessible PSTA buses. PSTA’s Access app allows ADA-eligibile riders to schedule their trips with door-to-door service and make payments easily. Spare began work with PSTA in 2022. Read PSTA's case study here.