Get on the bus with MCAT’s free Travel Training Program

Get on the bus with MCAT’s free Travel Training Program
Posted on 10/04/2019

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (Oct. 4, 2019) – Riding the bus can be an intimidating experience for first-time riders or individuals with special needs. Manatee County Area Transit is making that experience easier with its freeMCAT Travel Training Program. The fully personalized program helps riders understand how to use bus services, covering everything from navigating bus routes to purchasing a mobile ticket.

Anyone interested can make a training appointment by calling (941) 747-8621 Ext. 7633. After scheduling an appointment, an MCAT travel trainer will meets with the future rider to discuss their needs and concerns. The travel trainer develops a customized training plan which typically includes riding the bus together. The training is self-paced, and lasts as long as the rider needs to feel comfortable and understand the bus system.

The travel training program covers education about the MCAT service area, bus routes and schedules, and how to use MCAT’s real-time travel information and mobile ticketing technologies. The travel trainer helps the trainee plan their bus trip and access bus stops, rides with them on the necessary bus routes, shows them how to pay fares and buy bus passes, and prepares them for all the “what ifs.” By the end of the training, the rider will develop the skills to travel independently and with confidence.

“Travel training is a very important community service that helps make the regular bus system a viable travel option for citizens, including those with special needs,” said Manatee County Transit Manager William Steele. “Along with our continuing improvements to bus stops and enhancements to our technologies, we strive to make the MCAT bus system as easy and accessible as possible for everyone.”

Since 2014, MCAT has made over 600 bus stop improvements, including concrete boarding pads, accessibility features, and passenger seating. To improve the bus riding experience, MCAT recently deployed new, state-of-the-art technology including:

  • Automated onboard bus stop announcements
  • Predictive real-time bus arrival information at every bus stop, all MCAT transit stations, and via mobile app
  • An automated wheelchair securement system which ensures complete safety during transport and speeds up the boarding process
  • New video information systems on every bus that provide upcoming bus stop arrival information and information about service detours and public service announcements
  • A “cashless” mobile ticketing fare option

Learn more about the MCAT Travel Training Program at 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.