Kudos to Manatee County Area Transit for superior bus service to the blind

January 24, 2014 

The downtown Bradenton MCAT bus transit station. TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE/Bradenton Herald

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Recently, two of my husband's and my friends (who both are blind) and their guide dog, Ireland, visited us. They stayed at the hotel on the river.

Because I do not drive for medical reasons, they relied on public transportation to get around to experience and do things. They commented several times to me how friendly and helpful the drivers are in Manatee County.

From the hotel, they rode MCAT bus 3 to the downtown transfer point. Every morning, Rosa greeted them with a smile and welcomed them on her bus. This helped them to have a pleasant start to their day.

They transferred to MCAT bus 99 south, on which Fil drove. He was also kind and helpful to them, and made sure they got to sit together and in a convenient location for them and Ireland their dog.

Fil was also good at maintaining good control on his bus if a passenger was starting to cause any trouble while riding. Fil did this with coolheadedness yet maintained order without hurting anyone's feelings.

My friends felt very safe while riding with Fil. The last bus to our house was MCAT bus 8. They commented how nice Dave S. and Greg were to them on their bus.

Both friends stated that they felt welcome here. Not only were the drivers helpful and courteous, but passengers helped them as well. They stated that our bus system is so much friendlier and genuinely helpful than where they live.

In fact, they are considering moving to Florida and the friendliness of our community is helping them to really consider our area as the place to settle down.

Besides their thanking the ones already mentioned, I want to thank any and all of you who helped my good friends to feel welcome and "at home" here in Manatee County, Florida.

Heidi Pooley

Bradenton

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