BRADENTON -- At Tuesday's BOCC work session, officials described in detail MCAT's (Manatee County Area Transit) planned additional routes and services, scheduled to be completed by year 2017. Proposed route extensions and modifications will also usher in a new Flex-Route, extended hours, and a rate increase.
Chad Butzow, Deputy Director Public Works, introduced Transit Manager William Steele who walked Manatee County Commissioners through a presentation of the proposed Phase-1 of the county's 10-year Transit Development Plan.
In Phase-1, the first projects are: Route-6/SR 70 extension, and modifications to the Route 16/15th Street route; providing new service to the east SR 70 corridor as well as the 15th Complete Streets project, which will expand more frequent services to the SRQ (Sarasota/Bradenton Airport), and both are scheduled to be completed in FY 2015.
Likewise, scheduled for FY2015 is the North County "Flex" Route. The flex stands for flexibility in operations and route. If a intended rider lives within the route area, the transit can reroute to assist a resident unable to make it to the regular designated stop. A service MCAT says residents have often requested. Request for special pick-up and drop off will have to be booked 24 hours in advance.
For years, folks at the Holy Cross Manor have been asking MCAT to extend their services a mile or two north of the Palmetto station. MCAT will soon go all the way to Rubonia.
Rate changes will also be proposed in Phase-1 of the FY 2015 schedule.
In the FY 2016 segment of Phase-1, Route-3 (Manatee Avenue), plans to increase the frequency of stops, to one every 30 minutes and expand the Route-3 service span.
And by FY 2017 there will be a new service added to Lakewood Ranch.
Four additional busses will be needed; MCAT currently has two ready for service and will need to purchase two more.
The county's revenues are expected to primarily come from available transportation grants.
Commissioner Robin DiSabatino suggested Public Works approach the three or four educational institutions (ex. MTI and New College) for revenue. Other commissioners supported DiSabatino's suggestion, agreeing that these institutions will rely on and benefit from the increased and more frequent MCAT services.
SRQ will also be asked to share in the expense.
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