Manatee County earns four awards from state transit organizations

Manatee County earns four awards from state transit organizations
Posted on 10/22/2018

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (Oct. 22, 2018) — Two statewide transit associations have awarded Manatee County Area Transit two group awards and individual awards to Commissioner Carol Whitmore and Manatee County Fleet employee Mike Ruth.

The Florida Public Transportation Association (FPTA) and Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged (FCTD) presented the awards during a conference last week in Daytona Beach. The awards are:

  • Commissioner Carol Whitmore, chair of the Manatee County Local Coordinating Board, was selected as the 2018 Elected Official of the Year. Commissioner Whitmore works closely with MCAT staff and agency partners to make the Manatee County Transportation Disadvantaged (TD) program as effective and efficient as possible. Some TD advancements in the recent past include:
    • A one-day unlimited ride bus pass program for transportation disadvantaged client medical appointments; and a monthly unlimited ride TD bus pass for only $20.
    • Income-based eligibility for TD clients, and a sliding scale based upon household size and the national poverty guidelines. 
    • Improved trip scheduling for Handy Bus trips in remote service areas, coupled with diversification of the MCAT Handy Bus paratransit fleet to include high-top, lift-equipped vans. This combined effort improves service delivery operations and enhances operating flexibility.

  • FPTA named MCAT its 2018 Innovation and Creativity Award winner for an Outcome-Based Technology Procurement Process. MCAT developed a creative approach to bring technology into full operations more efficiently, while encouraging broad vendor participation and competition.

  • MCAT won a separate Innovation Award for a tailored one-on-one and group “Travel Training” assistance program. This program trains anyone interested how to navigate MCAT's fixed-route bus system. Many senior citizens and people with disabilities benefit from travel training, including newfound freedom of movement and expanded travel horizons. In addition, work-study program students acquire travel independence, and benefit from unlimited fixed route rides on the MCAT bus system during the summer months.

  • Mike Ruth, with MCAT for three years now, was named runner-up for the 2018 FPTA Fleet Technician of the Year Award. Winners are selected based on safety and attendance records, technical certifications, proven leadership and proficiency.

"These competitive awards represent the best-of-the-best in the State of Florida, and demonstrate the commitment of an outstanding team of dedicated professionals in Manatee County Government," said William Steele, Manatee County Transit Manager. "This gifted team of professionals consistently develop unique, innovative and cost-effective approaches, as part of their regular work. Manatee County Government is recognized consistently now by both the FPTA and the FCTD for demonstrated leadership, outstanding work efforts and a commitment to service innovation and excellence.”

For more information on Manatee County Government, visit or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.