Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - June 17, 2014
June 17, 2014 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #86

MCAT Proposed Fiscal Year 2014/15 Service and Fare Modifications


Contact and/or Presenter Information

Chad Butzow, Public Works Deputy Director, chad.butzow@mymanatee.org, (941) 708-7432

William Steele, Transit Division Manager, william.steele@mymanatee.org, (941) 747-8621 ext. 7440

Action Requested
Adoption of Resolution R-14-087

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Florida Statutes 125; Florida Statutes 341.052

Background Discussion

To inform the Board of Commissioners (BCC) and Executive Level Staff of proposed transit service and fare modifications, a review session was held on February 18, 2014, in Workshop session. Transit Division and Public Works Department staff and General Services Consultant, Tindale-Oliver & Associates Inc., provided a Power Point Presentation on the proposals and outlined a Public Involvement Process for the spring of 2014. The idea was to engage the ridership, stakeholders, and affected communities in a conversation regarding the proposed service and fare modifications and then conclude with final recommendations to the BCC during the summer of 2014. These proposals are as follows:

  • Realignment of Route 16 - This component involves realigning Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) Route 16 to provide linear service along the 15th Street West corridor and extend service south to the SRQ Airport facility to provide new inter-county transfer opportunities to Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) services.
  • Route 6 Extension/SR70 - This component is to extend the current Route 6 east from the Desoto Station along SR70, which is currently un-served by MCAT fixed routes; and provide a new cross-county east-west transit corridor linking the Gulf Beaches to east Manatee County and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.
  • New North County "Flex" Service - This component involves the establishment of a new fixed route/fixed schedule transit corridor along US41, connecting Palmetto to the Rubonia community in northwest Manatee County. The "Flex" service concept provides for two (2) deviations per bus trip, to serve those that may not be able to access the mainline corridor and who call in and request such route deviations.
  • Fare Modifications - This component is to revise the existing cash fare, daily, weekly, and monthly unlimited ride bus pass rates, eliminate discounted bus transfer rates, add a military half-fare discount, and provide a discount for bulk bus pass sales. At the existing passenger volume, these changes are projected to provide significantly more passenger revenue and increase average fares.

After the February 18 BCC Workshop, several informal workshops were programmed for the communities that will be most affected by the proposed service modifications; however, each workshop session also covered the proposed fare modifications. The setting was informal with several Display Boards with route information, and the proposed fare structure. Interested persons could then interact with staff and members of the consultant team in a more personal way and, hopefully, better understand the proposals. These workshops were held at the following locations:

  • Manatee Technical Institute, April 2 (11 AM - 12:30 PM)
  • Holy Cross I and II, April 3 (10 AM - Noon)
  • Trailer Estates MHP, April 3 (7PM - 9PM)
  • Rubonia Community Center, April 7 (7PM - 8PM)
  • Manatee County Administration Building, Fountain Room     April 24 (2PM - 4PM)

Each workshop included Transit Division and Consultant (i.e., Tindale-Oliver) staff, a participant sign-in sheet and comment cards, Display Boards depicting the proposals, and hand-outs (a summary of the proposals) for participants to keep. Communication was accommodated in a Bilingual manner, both with posters and verbally communicated with participants at Workshops. A formal Public Workshop was held on April 24th in the Fountain Conference Room/Fountain Center, adjacent to the County Administration Center.

Prior to each meeting, posters were provided to the staff at each meeting location for distribution; and posters were placed on-board buses and Trolleys, at Transit Stations, on the County/MCAT website, and via social media. A Press Release was issued that provided all of the Workshop locations, dates, and times. Each Workshop session was then documented with a brief written summary that identifies the date, location, number of participants, and issues/concerns that were discussed.

  • Manatee Technical Institute     At the present time, MTI is several miles from the nearest bus stop. The staff and students support the proposed Route 6 extension because it provides needed  access via the Transit System to/from MTI. Staff suggests route deviations on select trips to service the campus.
  • Holy Cross I and II     Attendees generally expressed support for implementation of the "Flex" Route Pilot Program since it will provide transportation for personal shopping and other needs, while providing travel independence. Additional days and hours of "Flex" service were
  •  requested.
  • Trailer Estates MHP     There was discussion regarding restructuring of routes based upon ridership performance. In addition, the proposed fare structure was considered acceptable with the higher level of service proposed, particularly for economic development purposes.
  • Rubonia Community Center     Bike racks are needed on the "Flex" Route because this method of transportation is very common within the community. Additional days and hours of "Flex" service was suggested.
  • Manatee County Administration Building, Fountain Room  Attendees noted that MCAT fares are significantly lower than other counties in Florida and additional transit services are needed.

The Service and Fare Proposals have been mostly well received throughout the Workshop process. Passengers understand the need to utilize fare revenue to support transit operating costs and are willing to pay for "more service." At the same time, the Service Modifications are well received since they provide more overall service for the community.

Therefore, the following is proposed for Board approval:

  1. Adopt Fare Resolution R-14-087 as the new MCAT Fare Structure effective October 6, 2014.
  2. Approve realignment of Route 16 effective October 6, 2014.
  3. Approve Transit Division staff to proceed with route schedule development and refinement for the proposed Route 6 and North County "Flex" Route Service Modifications, with a tentative implementation date in early 2015 (pending approval of the FY2014/15 Operating Budget).    

County Attorney Review
Not Reviewed (No apparent legal issues)

Explanation of Other

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records
Please, forward the signed Resolution and a copy of the minutes to William Steele, Transit Division Manager, William.Steele@mymanatee.org, (941) 747-8621 ext. 7440

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name
No Cost

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs
No Cost

Attachment:  Public Involvement Prgm FY2015 Proposals.pdf
Attachment:  Summary April 2014 Public Workshops.pdf
Attachment:  Ridership Comment Cards_Emails.pdf
Attachment:  Website Surveys.pdf
Attachment:  April 2014 Sign In Sheets_Public WS.pdf
Attachment:  R-14-087 MCAT Service Fare Resolution.pdf
Attachment:  PPT BCC Workshop 2-18-14 v10.pdf