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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
More people taking the bus in Manatee County
Monday, June 30, 2008

MANATEE COUTY (Bay News 9) -- As gas prices continue to rise, so does the number of people taking the bus in Manatee County.

And while riding a bus may take longer to get to work or any other destination, it is much cheaper than driving. It costs only $1.25 to ride Manatee County Area Transit buses. A monthly pass costs $30.

Manatee County Area Transit says their numbers are up almost 16 percent from 2007.

Bus drivers, such as Tammy Dodd, say from county workers to children going to the beach, just about everyone is trying to catch a ride.

"In the mornings we have standing room only, people going to work -- a lot of the busses are standing room only," Dodd said.

Dodd says she noticed business picking up about six months ago. She says she expects the trend to continue as long as gas prices continue to go up.

Bus leaders say if they ran their buses more often, they'd probably have even more riders.

The American Public Transportation Association says the number of people taking public transportation is up 3 percent.

Manatee County residents can catch the bus from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day except Sunday.

13,967 Posts
Discussion Starter · #43 ·
From that Sarasota/Bradenton Development Thread
A future of fast bus trips?

By Dale White

Published: Sunday, September 7, 2008 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 7, 2008 at 12:02 a.m.

Bus service in the Sarasota-Manatee area is a slow process of stop and go, stop and go, stop and go.

On many routes, bus stops are only a block or two apart, so whenever a passenger wants on or off, the bus halts -- slowing the journey while holding up traffic behind.

So Sarasota County Area Transit is exploring the idea of an express bus service with fewer stops and a lot more go. In the lexicon of transportation planners, it is called "Bus Rapid Transit," or BRT.

Miami, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and numerous other cities include some form of BRT in their transit service. The newly formed Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority, which includes representatives from Sarasota, Manatee and five other counties, is examining BRT as a component in a transit network that could include light rail and other methods of getting commuters across county lines.

The express buses, often hybrids, are supposed to be more convenient and comfortable than conventional buses -- and all try to transport people faster.

In Sarasota County, the express buses would not replace existing bus routes. For example, Route 99 -- a joint venture with Manatee County Area Transit for commuters on U.S. 41 between Palmetto and downtown Sarasota -- would remain intact.

The idea, SCAT Executive Director Anthony Beckford said, is to boost accessibility and use of buses by giving some passengers a faster option.

On Sept. 24, SCAT will ask the Sarasota County Commission to submit an application for a federal grant to kick start an express bus line. The transit agency will also ask the commissioners to select a route.

Although they hope the express buses will eventually reach Sarasota Memorial Hospital and other destinations to the south, and industrial workplaces in Manatee to the north, the proposed first link would be between the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus on U.S. 41 and the Lemon Avenue transfer station in downtown Sarasota.

SCAT initially considered four north-south routes for the express: U.S. 41, an existing railroad corridor, Old Bradenton Road and U.S. 301.

It narrowed its recommendations to two: U.S. 41 and the unused railroad right of way just east of Old Bradenton Road.

The Sarasota City Commission is weighing the pros and cons of each route, and will be asked to make a recommendation on Sept. 15.

Commuters now wait up to an hour for buses along U.S. 41. Express buses would arrive at stations every 15 minutes.

Some BRT systems, such as the one in Los Angeles, have buses three to five minutes apart.

Yet the U.S. 41 route, which could cost nearly $59 million for all the highway enhancements needed, and the $69 million railroad route, for which the rail line would have to be acquired, differ in many respects.

Sarasota City Commissioner Kerry Kirschner says express buses could foster positive change for the North Tamiami Trail and attract more college students and hotel guests as passengers.

Beckford, the SCAT director, warns that the U.S. 41 route could be more disruptive.

"The construction would basically shut 41 down. I don't see the merchants liking that very well."

City Commissioner Ken Shelin noted that the rail route would be closer to working families' homes and get them to downtown jobs faster.

Yet commissioners Kirschner and Dick Clapp worry about the rail route's potential impact on the neighborhoods flanking it. Clapp said some low-income residents might be displaced if SCAT buys land for bus stations and parking.

Newtown resident Mary Mack initially expressed concerns about the railway route to city commissioners. Having been assured that it would not replace existing bus service, she says she now thinks it could be a benefit. "It's better than putting it on U.S. 41 or 301," she said.

Jetson Grimes, a longtime booster of Newtown economic development, says the rail route could be a catalyst.

"It would truly be a plus," Grimes said. "Newtown is in economic redevelopment mode, and it can help accelerate that process.

"Right now, Newtown is isolated. This would be an asset that opens up Newtown to the rest of Sarasota."
I was just discussing in the Chicago forum how ridiculously close bus stops are spaced there. Having bus stops every block is stupid. Of course you're going to have a super long trip if the bus has to pick up/drop off people at each block.

54 Posts
For 27 years, MCAT just made the right choice. MCAT is expanding, for the first time, MCAT will offer evening service. Story by Sarasota Herald Tribune:

Manatee County plans to extend bus hours

By Dale White

Published: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 12:02 a.m.

MANATEE COUNTY - Shelby Jenkins works jobs at two fast food restaurants and hopes that someday she will be able to afford a car. But for the foreseeable future, the 18-year-old relies on buses to get to work and the classes she is taking at Jobs Etc.

Yet Manatee County Area Transit service stops at 7 p.m., and she often works much later.

"I walk home, 21/2 hours," Jenkins said. "I have that option or pay $12 for a cab."

So, Jenkins is relieved to hear that she will not be walking in the dark much longer.

MCAT recently secured a $214,593 federal grant that will enable it to extend bus service on six of its 10 routes to 11 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays for the next two years.

For workers such as Jenkins, night bus service means more than getting home safely.

"I could use the bus at night to get groceries before I go home," Jenkins said.

MCAT director Ralf Heseler said it may be a few months before the extended service starts. "We don't have a date set yet," he said.

MCAT needs to hire an undetermined number of extra bus drivers, decide who will work full or part time, get those positions into the county budget and develop and publish a new bus schedule.

The agency will also have to negotiate with Sarasota County Area Transit about whether SCAT can also run later buses on the Tamiami Trail, a route the two bus systems share.

"They have union issues we don't have," Heseler said, referring to the union that represents SCAT's drivers.

The grant will also enable MCAT to launch a free shuttle service on Cortez Road to Coquina Beach from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays, a day when other buses are not operating.

MCAT already has a free Sunday shuttle on Manatee Avenue to Manatee Beach that typically serves more than 100 riders.

Yet the major advantage of the funding boost is expected to be the extended evening service.

MCAT plans to extend hours on the following routes that have the most job destinations:

-U.S. 41 between downtown Palmetto and downtown Sarasota, including a stop at State College of Florida’s Bradenton campus.

-U.S. 301 in Palmetto and Ellenton.

-Manatee Avenue in Bradenton.

-Cortez Road.

-An Oneco-Bayshore loop that includes DeSoto Square Mall, the Wal-Mart in Oneco and the Bayshore Gardens shopping plaza.

-Bradenton’s 26th Street West.

13,967 Posts
Discussion Starter · #50 ·
That's good news for MCAT. That will make, unfortunately, PSTA the only (urban) bay area transit agency without significant OWL service. We now see SCAT and HART with each a handful of OWL routes. Surprisingly enough, HART does not intend to increase OWL service beyond the 10 routes it has right now. I think it may be a budget issue though.

54 Posts

It's official. SCAT and MCAT says the Route 99 will get a big boost and improvement starting in early 2010. The route will start little early as 5am and the service will expand until 12am 7 days a week and the Route 99 will extended to Venice and new 15 minute service and also special 10 minute rush hours service between 6am to 7:30am and 4:30pm to 5:30pm for these people who need go home faster which means less stops.

Along on the Route 99, all buses will be all Hybird all the time so people can travel Green!

54 Posts

I would like to share with you everyone that I submit my proposal forf next SCAT's system update that is due for April 2010. I hope this will push more commuters to ride the SCAT bus system than before.

What I requested to be done for next SCAT's update:

Local Fixed Routes:

1)Route #1 – Eliminate 1/1A route and becomes a direct #1 route. The trip will make all stops on Fruitville Road to Fruitville Library then to Palmer Packinghouse. The Bahia Vista Street route will be now served by Route #3. Evening service has been added until 11pm. A new hourly Sunday service is being added.
2)Route #2 – Add 10:30pm trip leaving Airport to Downtown Sarasota.
3)Route #3 – Extended the Webber service to Cattlemen Road to Palmer Packinghouse and add evening service until 10pm.
4)Route #4 – Eliminate service to Lido Beach only now goes around St. Armands Circle and return to Downtown Sarasota. Expand until 11pm evening and new Sunday Service. The remain Lido Beach route will be served by #18 Longboat Key Trolley. Service frequently will now every 30 minutes everyday.
5)Route #5 – New every 30 minute frequently and evening service and new Sunday service has been added.
6)Route #6 – 9:50pm evening now changes to 10pm and add new 11:30pm trip and makes full trip to Beneva/Clark. The last trip from Mall at 10:05pm has been added and makes all stops to Downtown Sarasota. The Sunday service now offer hourly service until the end of service.
7)Route #7 – Extend service until 11pm on all trips. Eliminate the 35th/Goodrich and Newtown Blvd stops.
8)Route #8 – Extend the service until 11pm.
9) NEW Route #10 Lakewood Ranch – The route will make all stops on University Parkway from the Airport to Town Centre/Kesier College service being offered all day with frequently of every hour until 11pm.
10) Route #11 – New 6:15am trip leaving Downtown Sarasota has been added. New 5:07am trip leaves Sarasota Pavilion now will make all stops to Downtown Sarasota. New 2 evening trips added at 9:15pm and 10:15pm leaving Downtown Sarasota. New inbound 8:10pm and 9:10pm trips has been added for return to Downtown Sarasota.
11) Route #13 – This will now offer loop bus route from Venice Depot to Jacaranda Plaza via US 41 Business to the Plaza and return on US 41 bypass returning to the Depot.
12) Route #15 - Now offer new stop at Wal-Mart on University offer able for transfer to #12 and #10. Add new evening service until 11pm.
13) Route #17 - New 10:15pm trip leaving Downtown Sarasota and makes all stops to Sarasota Square Mall. The 8:15pm and 9:15pm trips now will end at the Sarasota Sq. Mall instead in Venice. The last trip 11:30pm leaving Downtown Sarasota now will end at Sarasota Square Mall instead Westfield Southgate Mall. The Venice route from Sarasota Sq. Mall now serve new Route #19.
14) Route #18 – Service frequently now change to every 20 minutes to match the Anna Maria Trolley schedule. Route now extend to Lido Beach. The #4 will take over the St. Armbands Circle to Downtown Sarasota. No fare is required on this route.
15) Route #19 – New US 41 service between Wal-Mart in South Venice to Sarasota Square Mall on US 41 with frequently service every hour until 9pm.
16) Route #99 – Add 2 more late evening trips at 10:15pm and 11:30pm trips for Outbound to Airport. The inbound trips has been added 10:30pm trip return to Downtown Sarasota.

Express Limited Routes:

17) Route #40 – Webber Limited -New AM trips at 7am and 8am and new PM trips at 6pm and 7pm.
18) NEW Route #41 US 41 South Limited – Makes express stops between Westfield Square Mall to Downtown Sarasota with limited stops and service frequently every 15 minutes 6am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm and 30 minutes frequently between 9am to 3pm and 6pm to 9pm.
19) NEW Route #42 US 41 North Limited – Makes express stops between Downtown Sarasota to Downtown Bradenton via US 41 with limited stops and service frequently every 15 minutes 6am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm and 30 minutes frequently between 9am to 3pm and 6pm to 9pm.
20) NEW Route #43 Beneva Limited – Makes express stops between Westfield Square Mall to Downtown Sarasota with limited stops and service frequently every 15 minutes 6am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm and 30 minutes frequently between 9am to 3pm and 6pm to 9pm.

Sunday Bus Service:

21) Route #215 – Rename to #50 Airport/TARGET – First bus now leaves Downtown at 6:30am. Frequently will be every hour until 7pm then 2 hours until end of service.
22) Route #1411 – Rename to #51 Siesta/Bee Ridge – First bus now leaves Sarasota Pavilion at 7am. Frequently will be every hour until 7pm then 2 hours until end of service. 11:10pm trip from Sarasota Pavilion has been added and makes all trips to the end of route.
23) Route #1713 – Rename to #52 SRQ SQ MALL - The service now change only serve between Downtown Sarasota to Sarasota Sqaure Mall and frequently is every hour until 11pm. The remaining Venice route will now serve on Route #9S.
24) Route #8517 – Rename to #53 Tallveast/SMH – The frequently will now set to every hour instead every 2 hours and extend service until 11pm.
25) Route #9S – Extend service to Sarasota Square Mall via US 41 with stops at Venice Depot with frequently service every hour until 9pm.
26) NEW Route #54 Fruitville Sunday service has been added with frequently of every hour until 11pm to Palmer Packinghouse.
27) NEW Route #55 St. Armbands Key Sunday service with all day service with frequently of 30 minutes until 11pm.
28) NEW Route #56 NE Newton Sunday Service has been added with frequently of every hour until 11pm. Bus will run full route on Orange Ave bypass Human Services stop.
29) NEW Route #57 Beneva Sunday service has been added with frequently service every hour until 11pm.
30) NEW Route #58 US 41/AIRPORT Sunday service has been added with frequently service every hour until 11pm from downtown Sarasota to Airport via US 41.
41 - 60 of 87 Posts