MCAT's Skyway ConneXion express route receives first place regional award

  • Apr 28, 2017

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (April 28, 2017) – The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council today awarded Manatee County regional express bus service, Skyway ConneXion, a first place award as part of the 25th annual Future of the Region Awards.

 The new Manatee County Area Transit service won first place in the Transportation and Mobility categoryThe Florida Public Transportation Association (FPTA) also awarded Manatee County the prestigious 2016 Innovation and Creativity Award for Skyway ConneXion service development in December.

Today's award recognized the Skyway ConneXion for "innovative and creative service concepts, and applicability in service optimization that benefits the public transportation industry."

“This award from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council is proof positive of the outstanding team of professional staff in Manatee County Government, and exemplifies the County’s commitment to new and improved services," said Manatee County Public Works director Ron Schulhofer. "Manatee County Government is blessed with very gifted and committed staff, who consistently develop unique, innovative and cost-effective approaches to service delivery.

"The combination of an effective transit service optimization plan, while realizing a rare opportunity to establish new regional transit service connectivity, is truly visionary. This team of Manatee County Government employees  demonstrates regional leadership through their outstanding daily work efforts and commitment to excellence in service delivery enhancements,” Schulhofer said.
 
On April 1, 2016, Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) began operating regional express service, branded as “Skyway ConneXion,” connecting Manatee and Pinellas County.  The ConneXion route serves all three of Manatee County’s Bus Transfer Stations (DeSoto, downtown Bradenton and Palmetto stations), with express service across the Skyway Bridge. Skyway ConneXion also serves key bus stops in Pinellas County that include 54th Avenue South, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) Grand Central Terminal, the PSTA Tyrone Square Mall transit center and the C.W. Bill Young/Bay Pines Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital. All of these Pinellas County stops provide regional service connectivity for PSTA and MCAT system users.
 
 
Manatee and Sarasota counties work together to facilitate transit system connectivity and jointly operate service on the US Highway 41 corridor. The two counties also work together conducting the annual operational skills rodeo and with Universal Pass (i.e. U-Pass), pre-paid fare agreements. “This ongoing commitment of Manatee County Government to work with regional partners to better serve the community and the larger Tampa Bay region, is very evident, and the ConneXion express service to Pinellas County is just the latest example,” said Jim Egbert, Manatee County’s Transit Operations Chief. 
  
The County continues to serve area veterans by providing express service for health care at Bay Pines. The County’s Handy Bus program provides important “feeder” service for veterans to access the Skyway ConneXion route at MCAT’s Bus Transfer Stations. Traditional MCAT passengers use ConneXion service for travel between Manatee and Pinellas counties.

“The Skyway ConneXion is clearly a winning proposition which benefits Manatee County residents and visitors, veterans, and the Tampa Bay region,” said William Steele, Manatee County’s Transit Division Manager.
 
For more information on Manatee County Area Transit or to obtain more information on riding the Skyway ConneXion to Pinellas County, visit online at www.mymanatee.org/mcat or call (941) 749-7116.   
 
For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at www.mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/manatee.county.fl and on Twitter, @ManateeGov