MCAT asks for feedback on proposed busing changes

March 18, 2014 

MANATEE COUNTY – Officials at Manatee County Area Transit are asking MCAT riders and potential riders to give feedback on a proposal to enhance bus service and modify fares to offset costs for additional services.

MCAT officials are asking for the public to learn more about the plan and then to give feedback on the county’s social networks. Throughout April and May, riders may share their thoughts on the proposal by posting comments with hashtag #MCATplan to the MCAT Facebook page or by tweeting @ManateeGov. People can also take a survey and learn more about the plan at www.mymanatee.org/mcatplan

The proposed route changes resulted from public input for MCAT’s 2013 Transit Development Plan and MCAT staff recommendations. They include:

· Realigning Route 16 to connect to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, along with transfer opportunities with Sarasota County Area Transit;

· Extending Route 6 along State Road 70 to provide a link between the Gulf beaches and Lakewood Ranch;

· Adding new service to connect Palmetto and Rubonia;

Also under the proposal, rider fares would increase from $1.25 to $1.50, a day pass would increase from $3 to $4 and monthly passes would change from $30 to $40. Weekly passes would drop from $15 to $12. A 25-cent transfer fee would be discontinued. A new half-fare discount for active and retired military personnel is also being proposed.

“We want people to review the plans on our website and to tell us what they think about the extended routes and fare changes on Facebook and Twitter,” said MCAT Manager Bill Steele. “We realize not everyone will be able to make it to our public meetings, so we want Facebook and Twitter to be an accessible area riders and potential riders to give us input.”

MCAT will host four informal workshops to discuss the plan with neighborhoods and interested parties who will be directly impacted by the changes. The meetings will be held: · 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 2 at Manatee Technical Institute, 6305 State Road 70, Bradenton; · 10 a.m. to noon April 3 at Holy Cross Manor, 510 26th St. W., Palmetto; · 7-9 p.m. April 3 at Trailer Estates Park and Recreation District, 1903 69th Ave. W., Bradenton; · 7-8 p.m. April 7 at Rubonia Community Center, 1309 72nd St. E., Palmetto.

A fifth, more formal workshop will be held at 2 p.m. April 24 in the Fountain Room, 1002 Manatee Ave. W. MCAT staff and the project consultant will outline the plan, offer maps and take questions and feedback from the public. Feedback from the meetings and social networks will be compiled into one report before presenting final recommendations to the Manatee County Commission in June.

“This is an important time for the future of MCAT and riders have a prime opportunity to be a part of these decisions,” Steele said. “We hope word gets out well and everyone has a chance to participate.”

Information: Go to mymanatee.org or call 941-748-4501.

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