MANATEE -- Transit riders and would-be riders can comment on proposed new MCAT routes and fares during four informal workshops over the next week.
Through April and May, the public may also comment via various social media networks, use comment cards on buses and fill out an online survey offered by the county transit agency, Manatee County Area Transit, according to Nick Azzara, county information outreach manager.
A fifth workshop in a more formal setting is set for April 24 where MCAT staff and
consultant will field questions and comments.
Feedback will be compiled into a report with final recommendations expected in June for review by the Manatee County Commission, Azzara said.
The workshops are important to gauge public support for proposed transit service and fare changes, said William Steele, transit division manager.
"These proposals are designed to improve and expand transit services, and thereby bolster the local and regional economy," he said.
Public comment will help to fine-tune agency' recommendations, he added.
Workshops are slated for 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at Manatee Technical Institute, 6305 State Road 70, Bradenton; 10 a.m. to noon Thursday at Holy Cross Manor, 510 26th St. W., Palmetto; 7-9 p.m. Thursday at Trailer Estates Park and Recreation District, 1903 69th Ave. W., Bradenton; and 7-8 p.m. Monday at the Rubonia Community Center, 1309 72nd St. E., Palmetto.
The fifth workshop is set for 2-4 p.m. April 24 at the Fountain Room, 1002 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
Proposed route changes include:
Re-aligning Route 16 to connect to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, along with transfer possibilities with buses from Sarasota County Area Transit.
Extending Route 6 along State Road 70 to link the Gulf beaches and Lakewood Ranch
Adding new service to connect Palmetto and Rubonia
Proposed fares for riders would increase from $1.25 to $1.50, a day pass would increase from $3 to $4 and monthly passes would go from $30 to $40. Weekly passes would drop from $15 to $12 and a 25-cent transfer fee would be discontinued.
Officials have also proposed a new half-fare discount for active and retired military personnel.
Information: mymanatee.org/mcatplan, call 941-748-4501, comment via Twitter @ManateeGov or go to the MCAT Facebook page.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.