Cast Out for Great Fishing in St. Pete/Clearwater

If you haven’t been fishing around here, then you’re in for a real treat. Inshore, offshore, spear, pier, wade, kayak, bridge, family-friendly or party boat—it’s all here to try out. All along the coastline, you’ll find reputable fishing charters that can hook you up (no pun intended) with just about any kind of trip you’re looking for.

St. Pete/Clearwater is its own peninsula, with the Gulf of Mexico on the western shore and Tampa Bay to the east. That means there’s fish to be had just about anywhere, anytime, though spring and fall are the busiest times of the year. Snook, redfish, spotted sea trout, grouper and Spanish mackerel are just some of the species you’ll find in our beautiful waters. Choose where to go fishing from these fishing hot spots.

Check out our 5 tips for an awesome fishing trip and have a great day fishing on the water!

Have a great day fishing out on the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay, or on the many area rivers with these five essential tips.

Go Early and Stay Late

The earlier you depart, the better chance you have of beating everyone else to the best catch of the day. Staying out late will increase your chances of hooking a big catch! Plus, what’s better than spending a whole day out on the beautiful water?

Think Like a Fish

Finding the fish can be a challenge, but there are simple trickts to help you find them in the open waters. If it is a hot day out, look for shadier spots in the shallow water, or deeper spots offshore. If it colder outside, look for spots in the shallows with the most direct sunlight. Also, watch out for schools of small baitfish since the big ones are sure to be right behind them!

Follow the Birds

When fishing offshore, spotting birds in your area can be your best bet at finding larger species feeding on a school of smaller fish. Keep your eye on the horizon for birds swooping and diving towards the water, then head in the direction and cast your line!

Tag along with a Professional

For first time fishermen or visitors who might be new to fishing in the area, hiring a professional guide can be a great asset. Ask questions, observe and take as much advice from them as you can. This should give you the best opportunity to snag some fish.

It’s all about Equipment

Having some handy devices with your such as  chart recorders, sonar and good quality rods and reels can increase your chances of finding and catching fish. A tasty dinner of Gulf-fresh seafood will be yours when the day is done!

From: Visit St. Pete Clearwater

Clearwater Beach Stone Crab Festival

Frenchys | October 20-21, 2017

The most anticipated block party on Clearwater Beach!

The Stone Crab Weekend phenomena was started by Frenchy’s in 1984 when owner, Michael “Frenchy” Preston, decided to offer his signature, fresh stone crab claws to the general public for just above cost.  Today, visitors from around the world flock to Frenchy’s restaurants to enjoy the fresh claws and festive “beach party” atmosphere when season opens on October 15.

“Stone Crab Weekend is the biggest event we have all year,” said Preston. “It’s amazing how many people come here to enjoy our fresh stone crab claws with us year after year.  Some actually plan their vacations around this event!”

In its 33rd year, the Stone Crab Weekend block party has more than just those tasty claws to offer. Check out the fun activities scheduled or book a special room deal now!

In addition to the fresh-off-the-boat claws supplied by Frenchy’s Stone Crab Company at deeply discounted prices, the two-day block party will feature live music on stage, food and drink specials, raffles to win valuable prize packages with proceeds benefiting charity and much more!

Discounted stone crab prices will continue through Sunday, October 22nd, 2017, to round out the weekend in each of the four Frenchy’s Clearwater Beach restaurants and our Dunedin location. WHILE SUPPLIES LAST.

About Frenchy’s Restaurants: In 1981, Michael “Frenchy” Preston opened the Original Café at 41 Baymont St. with a mission to serve the best and freshest seafood possible on Clearwater Beach. Within a very short time, the Cafe became a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Staying true to his mission, Frenchy opened his own seafood company to ensure a constant source of fresh seafood to the Café. His success continued on Clearwater Beach with the opening of Saltwater Café in 1989, Rockaway Grill in 1991 and South Beach Café in 2003. Three decades later, the Frenchy’s restaurants are still regarded as a staple for delicious, fresh-from-the-gulf seafood and reasonable prices in a fun, friendly atmosphere.

 

 

CLEARWATER JAZZ HOLIDAY EVENTS

Sweet Sounds at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

Four days of swinging jazz surrounded by warm breezes and wafts of sea-salty air . . . what better way to enjoy the most American of music styles than outdoors in sunny Clearwater, Florida? At the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, you’ll not only be treated to a warm atmosphere (not just weather-wise, but people-wise), you’ll also take in the sounds of top musical performers. Past featured artists include the jazzy-bluesy Gladys Knight, the Count Basie Orchestra, and Buddy Guy; plus popular singers and instrumentalists like Sheryl Crow and Bela Fleck.

The 2017 event runs from Thursday, October 19 through Sunday, October 22 with a stunning line up! Thursday, catch the legendary The Four Tops and The Tempations. Saturday, gates open at 1 p.m. and acts include Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins. Sunday enjoy Anderson East and The Avett Brothers. Single day tickets start at $16 and full weekend packages are available too.

Find all the details about each day below!

Poblano’s 20 In 40 Taco Challenge (Clearwater)

Poblano’s 20 In 40 Taco Challenge (Clearwater)

 

Where:
Poblano’s Mexican Grill (Clearwater)
Address:
2451 McMullen Booth Rd, Clearwater, FL 33759
Phone:
727-796-7080
Difficulty:
Type: Taco
Price: $1/taco
Weight: 4.5lbs/2kg
Time Limit: 40 Minutes

Description

– The hard tacos aren’t too big, but you have to eat 20 of them.

– There is a 40 minute time limit to finish them all.

– Mondays only when tacos are $1 / EA (special)

Prizes

– Free Meal

– Wall of Fame

Copyright © 2017 FoodChallenges.com All Rights Reserved

Kozuba & Sons Distillery

Founded in 2005 in Poland, Kozuba & Sons is a family-run distillery that produces premium craft spirits. Now at home in St. Petersburg with over 11 years of experience, the Kozubas are focused on sharing their passion with the American market, beginning with Florida. Kozuba & Sons hand-crafted, small batch spirits are made from the finest ingredients, using meticulous processes. Each bottle possesses the trademark Kozuba essence: a striking combination of quality, craftsmanship, and taste.

Zbigniew “Papa” Kozuba, a biochemist by trade, is the company’s master distiller. After a successful career at the helm of a laboratory company, Papa retired to the Polish countryside. Not one to sit idle, he began to dabble in cordials in his retirement. Before long, his wares were the talk of the town, and when sons Matt and Jacob joined the effort, Kozuba & Sons was formed. After cordials, the company began distilling, first vodka, followed by whiskies. As time passed, it was apparent that a move to the United States would best facilitate the growth of their company. The craft market was rapidly emerging in the US, as more and more consumers were choosing local, handmade, and quality whenever possible.  The close-knit family made the decision to move their distillery and after a detailed and lengthy search, St. Petersburg, Florida was chosen as the ideal spot for them to call home.The distillery building, located in the heart of the Warehouse Arts District, was built in the 1950s. A former seafood warehouse, it has been completely updated and utilizes many green technologies. The space is a sprawling 20,000 square feet, housing 2 top-of-the-line 600-liter hybrid copper stills, with plans for a third soon. The company employs the “Grain-to-Glass” philosophy, handling every part of the production process including milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling, aging, blending, and bottling. Over 300 53-gallon American oak barrels currently reside in their warehouse, with a capacity of 1,000 barrels. The building serves not only as the production headquarters for Kozuba & Sons, but also includes a tasting room and retail store. Distillery tours and tastings are offered daily and give guests the opportunity to experience the process through all of their senses. The family hopes to not only become the choice of locals, but also a must-visit destination for tourists.

 

Great Rustic Retreats for Florida Camping

Great Rustic Retreats for Florida Camping

Whether you like to travel off the beaten path or simply enjoy reconnecting with nature, camping in Florida offers plenty of rustic places to spend the night.

“Florida is incredible. It’s one of the most biodiverse places imaginable, with plant and animal species found only here and nowhere else on the planet,” said Kevin Mims, a journalist and nature enthusiast. “More and more people are discovering that Florida is the ultimate outdoor recreation destination, with activities that range from mild to wild.”

Choose from waterfront stilt houses, a historic fort, a hidden treehouse, chickee campsites in the Everglades, an old railroad car or even a luxe teepee.

“I’ve stayed in cabins in a dozen Florida State Parks, and I hope to eventually stay in them all. You can go out with your coffee as the sun rises and almost all of them have fire rings where you can have a campfire under the stars,” said Bonnie Gross, co-creator of FloridaRambler.com, a website devoted to helping people discover Florida’s authentic side. “They’re all situated in places of great natural beauty and solitude, so they are much more of a psychic retreat than staying in a motel or hotel.”

You won’t find any televisions or phones in most of these primitive locales, so get ready to unplug and unwind with an all-natural getaway to the Sunshine State.

Waterfront Stilt House at Bahia Honda State Park

Snorkel underneath a century-old bridge in crystal-clear waters by day and sleep in a stilt house overlooking a picture-perfect lagoon by night. Located in the Florida KeysBahia Honda State Park in Big Pine Key is famous for its beautiful beaches and excellent snorkeling. It also happens to be a great place to explore the historic remnants of Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railroad. Three duplex cabins on stilts overlook the bay and come equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and air conditioning. There’s also a spacious front porch—perfect for dining al fresco on your fresh catch of the day. The catch? These cabins are very popular and can be hard to come by. Your best bet is to make your reservation 11 months in advance. “Bahia Honda State Park is just mind blowing and it’s a great basecamp in the winter months for exploring all of the Florida Keys,” said Mims. In the event the cabins are sold out, opt for one of the tent campsites at the Sandspur or Bayside campgrounds. Admission to the park is $8 per vehicle. Stilt cabins start at $120 per night and campsites are $36 per night. If Bahia Honda is booked, check out the more than 20 Florida State Parks across the state that offer overnight accommodations to campers.

Historic Fort in Dry Tortugas National Park

Up for a true trek? Located 70 miles off the coast of Key West on a protected island and accessible only by boat, Dry Tortugas National Parkis truly a site to behold. And the good news is that you can spend the night. But you might not get much sleep with those stars shining brightly in the sky above—the views are spectacular. Built in the mid-19th Century, Fort Jefferson is a historic wonder where you can explore its decorative brickwork and 2,000 arches on land, and then snorkel with schools of brightly colored fish offshore. Eight overnight camp sites are located on the Garden Key campground, just south of the fort. This is primitive camping at its best and you’ll need to bring all the necessities with you: food, water, tent and charcoal for grilling those fish you caught. And beware that there is no running water on the island. Campsites are available for $15 per night. Hitch a ride on the Yankee Freedom III ferry boat for $175 per person, which also includes the National Park entrance fee.

Treehouse at Camp Chowenwaw Park

Spot a bald eagle’s nest from a hiking trail or a family of manatees at the mouth of Black Creek near its confluence with the St. John’s River. First opened as a Girl Scout camp in the 1930s, Camp Chowenwaw Park is located in Green Cove Springs, just south of Jacksonville. Today the park is managed as a conservation and historic preservation area by Clay County. Go hiking on tree-draped nature trails, plan a family picnic, canoe along the river or go for a dip in the camp swimming pool. With nine treehouses to choose from, these unique structures provide elevated bunk beds that any birdwatcher would fawn over. The electricity-free treehouses sleep four to a cabin and start at $20 per night. There are also log cabins starting at $25 per night and tent campsites for $15 per night.

Chickee Backcountry Campsites in the Everglades

Spanning 1.5 million acres across southern Florida, Everglades National Park is one of Florida’s most stunning natural assets. For an adventure you’ll remember for a lifetime, chuck your smart phone (no cell service here) and get ready to spend some quality time with wildlife. Glide into the heart of the park by canoe or kayak where you can pitch your tent on a “chickee” or elevated camping platforms in the wilderness. If you’re headed out to the backcountry, you’ll need to stop by the Flamingo or Gulf Coast visitor centers and purchase a permit for $15 plus $2 per person per day. If you’d rather drive up in a vehicle and camp on the outskirts, the Long Pine Key Campground is open seasonally (November to May) and is set amongst a forest of tall pines near the Anhinga Trail and Long Pine Key Trail. There you’ll find individual drive-up campsites for $16 per night.

Old Railroad Caboose on Coldwater Creek

Live out your dream to be a train conductor and spend the night inside a restored red caboose on Coldwater Creek, situated between the Alabama/Florida border and Pensacola. Named “Katie’s Kaboose,” this historic railroad car looks like a tiny cottage on the inside, complete with a mini kitchen, small shower and full size bed. Outside you’ll find a charcoal grill, fire pit and a hammock—perfect for taking a snooze on a lazy summer afternoon. When you’re not cozily all aboard the caboose, head out for an action-packed zipline canopy tour across the creek. Or tube down clear, swift flowing streams through the Blackwater River State Forest. Both tours, and more, are offered by Adventures Unlimited Outdoor Center, the same folks who rent out the train cottage and other cabins on the property. Katie’s Kaboose starts at $159 per night.

Teepee in Central Florida’s River Ranch

Forget traditional Florida treehouse camping if you book one of the teepees at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo near Lake Wales. It’s more like you’re staying in a luxurious villa full of upscale amenities. Because let’s be honest: some of us like to “camp” with all the comforts of home and this is the perfect option to get the best of both worlds. Think Native American-themed decor complete with a double-sided stone rock hearth fireplace, cowhide furnishings, a porcelain cast iron claw bathtub and access to the resort’s 1,700-acre dude ranch. You even get a personal “glamping” concierge, who can arrange tickets for you to the Westgate Rodeo, pony rides (on actual horses or a mechanical bull) and swamp buggy rides. Teepees sleep up to four guests and start at $450 per night. If that price tag sounds high, then opt for one of the cottages, cabins, RV sites or traditional tent campgrounds located on the property. You’ll still get access to all the fun activities at the dude ranch.

Check out more great places to stay in Florida and order a free copy of the Florida Camping Directory.

New Tampa Bay Rays Stadium Site May ‘Rays-Up” in Tampa’s Channel District

Officials may have found a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark site in Hillsborough County, but the team’s timing on a decision for a new ballpark is reportedly hinging on a few factors.

For their effort to replace Tropicana Field with a modern new facility, the Rays have been canvassing their site options in both Pinellas County and Hillsborough County. Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa, is believed to be zeroing in on the Channel District-Ybor City area as the site of a new facility.

No final decision on a preferred ballpark site has been made by the Rays, and other contenders could be in the mix, but the Channel District-Ybor City area does offer a few points of intrigue. A ballpark at this location would not only put the Rays in an urban environment, but allow additional development opportunities to take place, following the recent trend that has unfolded at major league facilities such as Atlanta’s SunTrust Park. Downtown Tampa is already undergoing a huge transformation thanks to big investments from Jeff Vinik, owner of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, both in terms of arena upgrades, business investments and real-estate development.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan is cautioning that plenty of things will need to happen for Hillsborough County to land the team, but adds that the county sees an opportunity for the area. More from The Tampa Bay Times:

The officials are narrowing in on the Channel District-Ybor City area and have approached landowners about an option agreement that would secure the rights to those parcels if the Rays chose to move.

There are still moving pieces, Hagan cautioned, but “that fits perfectly in our belief that the ballpark needs to be in an urban environment. It also aligns with many of the Ray’s guiding principles for their next ballpark.”

“Our outside counsel has repeatedly said the next step is to get site control,” Hagan said. “Once we have site control we can go public and hope to have that earnest dialogue on the location and get the community feedback on the possibilities that exist there.”

The area south and east of a roundabout off Nuccio Parkway not far from the gates of Ybor City “has received a lot of attention,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said, “and I think it’s appropriate.” He wouldn’t say it was the leading site, adding there were “other potential parcels,” but said it’s walkability to downtown, space for parking and access to the TECO streetcar line are an advantage.

One factor for the Rays is apparently the current mayoral campaign in St. Petersburg, which includes incumbent Rick Kriseman as well as former mayor Rick Baker. Should Kriseman, Baker, or any other candidate in the field fail to secure at least 50 percent of the vote during the August 29 election, the top two candidates with participate in a November run-off.

Though the Rays have maintained that they have a good relationship with both Kriseman and Baker, the team apparently does not want to be seen an affecting the outcome of the election by announcing a decision by making any announcements before the election it has concluded. More from The Tampa Bay Times:

If the Rays make an announcement in a way that’s perceived to help or hurt Kriseman or Baker, it could hamper negotiations in Kriseman’s second term or Baker’s new administration.

Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg told the Tampa Bay Times in July that he didn’t think the outcome of the race would affect the team’s pursuit of a new ballpark.

“We’ve worked with both the mayoral candidates in the past and we’ve had good experiences with both of them at times, so that all remains to be seen,” Sternberg said.

The team has privately told Hagan the same, noting that the agreement with St. Petersburg runs until January 2019. Even if Baker opposes the Rays leaving St. Petersburg, they don’t think he can stop it, Hagan said.

In early 2016, the City of St. Petersburg signed off on an agreement that would allow the Rays to expand their search for a new ballpark. That agreement is good for three years, before it expires in early 2019.

Saint Petersburg Becomes First Florida City to Commit to 100% Renewables

The Saint Petersburg City Council formally approved on Monday the city’s commitment to transitioning to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. Saint Petersburg represents the first city in Florida and the 20th city in the country to make such a commitment.

In a unanimous vote, the City Council Committee of the Whole allocated $250K of BP Oil Spill settlement funds to an “Integrated Sustainability Action Plan,” which will chart a roadmap to 100 percent clean, renewable energy in Saint Petersburg. In addition, the plan also incorporates components of a climate action plan, a resiliency plan and strategies for Saint Petersburg to achieve a 5 STAR Community rating. The 100 percent clean energy roadmap builds on Mayor Rick Kriseman’s executive order establishing a net-zero energy goal for the city earlier in 2016.

“The movement for clean energy in cities and towns across the country is now more important than ever,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said.

“Saint Petersburg joins 19 other cities from San Diego, California to Greensburg, Kansas that will lead the way to support equitable and inclusive communities built on 100 percent clean, renewable energy for all. Whether you’re from a red state or blue state, clean energy works for everyone and local leaders will continue to move forward to create more jobs, stronger communities, and cleaner air and water.”

Mayor Kriesman will share more information on the Integrated Sustainability Action Plan at a press conference on Dec. 9 on the steps of City Hall. The chancellor of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg will also make an announcement about the university’s recently-completed climate action plan.

“The Integrated Sustainability Action Plan builds on my executive order on sustainability by creating a roadmap to achieve the city’s long-term sustainability goals,” Mayor Kriseman said. “Working towards 100 percent clean energy and zero waste will help ensure that St. Pete remains a ‘city of opportunity where the sun shines on all who come to live, work and play.”

Organizations that support the Ready for 100% St. Pete campaign include Oceana, Environment Florida, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Sunshine State Interfaith Power & Light, Keep Pinellas Beautiful, LocalShops1, Center for Biological Diversity, Chart 411, Craftsman House, The Burg Bar & Grill and St. Peace House.

“This is a historic moment for St. Pete,” Emily Gorman, campaign manager for Suncoast Sierra Club’s Ready for 100% St. Pete, said. “We envision a city where families can raise their kids in communities free from toxic pollution, where everyone has the opportunity for a good job and access to healthy, affordable energy. The transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy will ensure a more resilient, sustainable and equitable future for all our residents.”

Utility Companies Drop Millions On Last-Ditch Effort To Pass Deceptive Florida Solar Initiative

On Tuesday, former Florida Senator and Gov. Bob Graham (D) added his voice to the growing chorus against Florida’s Amendment 1, which asks voters to support a utility-backed initiative that could make it more difficult for the solar industry to develop.

“There is an amendment on the ballot that isn’t what it appears to be,” Graham told reporters.

The amendment has increasingly come under fire in the past few weeks, especially after a recording surfaced of a conservative policy wonk praising the initiative. A vice president at the James Madison Institute referred to Amendment 1 as “political jiu-jitsu,” that used solar’s own popularity as a way to earn support for a measure that would not actually help grow solar in the state.

Even before then, utilities — and conservative groups tied to utilities — had poured more than $22 million into backing the initiative. Last week, the alliance — a group called Consumers for Smart Solar — spent another $3.5 million on ads in the state. Of that, $3 million came from Florida Light & Power and Duke Energy, two major southern utilities.

An audit of donors to Consumers for Smart Solar found that of the only 12 individuals who had donated, 11 had direct ties to the utility industry or one of the conservative groups supporting the organization.

Meanwhile, support for the amendment seems to be falling, as solar supporters have coalesced into an alliance of their own. As recently as late September, the amendment was polling with 66 percent support (a constitutional amendment in Florida requires 60 percent of the vote to go into effect). But a more recent poll put support at only 40 percent — and that poll was conducted in the days before the revelations about intentionally misleading voters.

Supporters of the amendment argue that it is important to enshrine policies that protect non-solar customers from cost-shifting — that is, when some customers have to pay more than others to maintain the grid. Most evidence, though, does not support the theory of cost-shifting, because of the broader benefits of distributed solar generation.

“The economic benefits of net metering actually outweigh the costs and impose no significant cost increase for non-solar customers. Far from a net cost, net metering is in most cases a net benefit — for the utility and for non-solar rate-payers,” the Brookings Institute concluded recently.

In a call with reporters Tuesday, Graham put it even more strongly: “There have been a number of studies on [cost-shifting],” he said. “In virtually every instance… the result is, ‘No,’ but even more, ‘Hell no.’”

“The installation of solar saves customers money because it avoids having to build additional generating capacity,” Graham said.

In St. Pete, Uber, Bike-Share and More Are Factors in Tomorrow’s Transit Agency

In St. Petersburg, a city of about 257,000 residents sitting on the Gulf Coast next to Tampa — people have just a few options for getting around town. They can, of course, drive personal cars, walk or bike; catch a bus operated by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA); or hire taxis and Ubers. From February to August this year, the last mode choice on that list was likely the cheapest, most efficient option for accessing the bus. In an effort to encourage transit ridership and alleviate the impact of service cuts brought on by budget woes, PSTA was subsidizing 50 percent of the cost of taking rides with Uber, United Taxi (the local cab company) or Care Ride (a paratransit service) if those rides were connecting to the bus.

That sort of partnership between public transit agency and ride-hailing company isn’t yet common, but examples are popping up around the country as cash-strapped municipalities look for ways to supplement their bus and rail routes and better serve low-density areas with so-so transit ridership. Those in favor of the arrangement say taking advantage of new technologies and service providers is a win-win for forward-looking transit agencies. Skeptics caution that the things that make companies such as Uber and Lyft profitable are incompatible with transit agencies’ obligation to provide quality, convenient, equitable service.

The partnerships and their potential strengths and shortcomings are also the focus of a new report from TransitCenter, a transportation research foundation in New York City. “Private Mobility, Public Interest” looks at case studies around the U.S. and draws on interviews with over 100 representatives from the public and private transportation industries to analyze the current state of urban mobility and recommend how transit agencies can best leverage their assets to take advantage of opportunities presented by transportation network companies (TNCs), car-share and bike-share.

“We think that because of simple math and geometry, companies like Lyft and Uber are not replacing public transportation systems,” said Jon Orcutt, TransitCenter director of communications and advocacy, in a telephone press conference Wednesday. “But they can provide complements in a variety of settings.”

The report’s core message: The transportation landscape is changing incredibly fast, and public agencies and municipalities are well positioned to use the new technologies to their advantage, rather than get undercut by them.

Partnering with “emerging mobility providers” — Uber, Lyft, Bridj, Car2Go, Zipcar, bike-share and many others — can lead to better first mile/last mile service as well as reach in low-density areas poorly served by fixed routes. In addition to St. Petersburg’s pilot project, the report looks at an Uber partnership in Altamonte Springs, Florida, and a Bridj partnership in Kansas City.

“The core idea is to save money on bus routes that are very expensive for [an] agency to operate [in low-density areas], but still provide comparable service on those routes,” explained Zak Accuardi, TransitCenter program analyst, on the press call. “They can then use that extra funding to reinvest in other parts of system.”

Beyond a chance to better service difficult routes, the partnerships could have other benefits for transit agencies including access to the troves of data collected by the emerging mobility providers that could help improve future planning, and streamlined technologies such as transit planning apps with in-app payment systems. TransitCenter also points out the private companies are often in a better position to parse data or implement new tech than agencies. In order to take advantage of all those benefits, transit agencies need to recognize their assets and set strict terms of the partnership.

The private companies are, of course, enticed by increased business and subsidies from public agencies. But they also rely on public roads, and public parking to function. The report points to the San Francisco Bay Area as a success story. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority leases park-and-ride parking spaces to car-share companies when they can demonstrate they’re generating more transit trips per space per week than a private car. In Seattle, Car2Go traded customer trip data and an agreement to rebalance its fleet evenly through the city in exchange for having no cap on the number of cars in the system.

Mariah Montgomery, a strategist with the Partnership for Working Families, recognizes the need for transit agencies to adopt on-demand transit and new technologies, but is skeptical public-private partnerships are the best path forward.

“Transportation network companies do not adequately serve people with mobility issues or disabilities, and you can’t use it if you don’t have a bank account or smartphone,” says Montgomery. “Also, there’s a risk they’re competing with transit. If you draw people off transit, especially those who can afford to pay a premium, it could further segregate out public transportation.”

The question of whether or not Uber and its ilk are drawing people off transit remains to be fully answered. “More research is needed to understand this dynamic,” says Susan Shaheen, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center. “One of our studies on round-trip car-sharing found that it had a neutral to negative impact on public transit ridership. For every five members that used rail less, four used rail more, and for every 10 members that took the bus less, almost nine took it more.”

Accuardi acknowledges the equity issues posed by the private sector. “ADA accessibility is a major issue and one that remains to be addressed in a really meaningful way [by emerging mobility providers]. And the other overriding equitability challenge is affordability. This is not a substitute for providing affordable service to the people who depend on it most.”

But he points to St. Petersburg as an example of a transit agency setting the terms to help address some equity concerns. By partnering with Uber and United Taxi, PSTA was able to offer subsidized trips from midnight to 9 a.m. to help overnight workers. They’re also working with Uber to implement a phone dispatch service for residents without smartphones.

The public and private sectors have fundamentally different goals. Emerging mobility providers exist to turn a profit. Public transit agencies exist to provide high-quality, equitable transportation. Accuardi thinks that potential rub can be overcome if transit agencies take the lead.

“There are real tensions, and it’s the obligation of the public sector to avoid them,” he said. “If municipal governments and city transportation agencies are really proactive about setting the terms of relationships, they can avoid the pitfalls.”