I saw an article last week about wanting feedback for traffic solutions.
I believe that a park-and-ride on Manatee Avenue and or Cortez Road would be a good solution. There are several parcels of open land on both streets that would accommodate a park-and-ride; the city could charge a flat $5 fee to use it and the bus or shuttle.
The route would only go from the park-and-ride to the nearest free ride bus stop on the island; then the user could go to any beach they wanted. It could be timed so as to not be caught by the bridges opening.
The Cortez route could go something like out Cortez to the island, using Bridge Street for a turn-around and back to the park-and-ride. The Manatee Avenue could go out Manatee and use the Holmes Beach parking lot for the turn-around.
This would alleviate a lot of traffic and also make more users to the existing free bus on Anna Maria Island also cutting down on the parking nightmare. I might also suggest it be run seven days a week and that it run until after sunset by one hour each night. There could be fewer runs in the off season and more during season.
Build it and they will come.