Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - June 21, 2016
June 21, 2016 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #41

Universal Access Program Agreements with Local Colleges


Contact and/or Presenter Information

William Steele, Transit Division Manager, William.Steele@mymanatee.org, (941) 747-8621 x7440

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

Action Requested
Approval and authorization for the Chairperson to execute two (2) Universal Access Program Agreements with the following parties:  1. Ringling College of Art and Design and Sarasota County; and 2. New College of Florida and Sarasota County.

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Florida Statutes Chapter 341

Background Discussion

The subject Universal Access Program Agreements (U-Pass Program) both involve three parties:  the local college, Manatee County and Sarasota County. The two local colleges include Ringling College of Art and Design and New College of Florida. The agreements allow college students, faculty, and employees to ride public transit fixed-route/fixed-schedule service for free when presenting a valid college issued photo identification when boarding. A lump sum annual fee is paid to Manatee and Sarasota Counties to cover fare revenue. This lump sum fee is revisited annually to address ridership volume and revenue implications. The fee is $5,000 for each U-Pass agreement and both Sarasota and Manatee counties will receive $10,000 total during the initial term of each agreement (August 1, 2016, through July 31, 2017).

The U-Pass Program serves a number of purposes including broadening access to public transportation services to area college students, faculty, and staff throughout Manatee and Sarasota Counties, assisting in meeting agency goals in regards to facilitating ridership growth, adding an additional source of operating revenue for transit service and expediting the boarding process at key bus stops. Because Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) and Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) jointly operate the regional, inter-county bus route along the US Highway 41 corridor (i.e., Route 99), which services both the Ringling College and New College campuses, the U-Pass Program Agreement includes all three parties (College, Manatee County, and Sarasota County). As the program evolves, U-Pass Program ridership grows, and the two transit systems continue to track their actual U-Pass Program ridership, the lump sum fee can be revised to reflect growing ridership, changes to the fare structure, etc.

A similar agreement was approved in November 2015 between the University of South Florida Sarasota Manatee (USF), Manatee County and Sarasota County. Similar university/college and transit agency revenue agreements are now quite common. Successful examples are currently in place throughout the Tampa Bay region including Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk counties. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) currently have an agreement with the corresponding USF campus located within their respective service areas.

All parties, including Sarasota County, Ringling College, and New College are ready to approve their respective agreements. Implementation of the subject U-Pass Programs are scheduled for August 1, 2016, which coincides with the beginning of the fall school semester.

County Attorney Review
Other (Requires explanation in field below)

Explanation of Other
The agreement was reviewed by the Chief Assistant County Attorney Rob Eschenfelder and recommended changes were incorporated.

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records
Three signed, original copies of each agreement are needed. Please call Ryan Suarez, Transit Division Planning Manager, at ext. 7622, when the agreements are signed. Ryan will pick up both sets of agreements and deliver them to Sarasota County.

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name
4350012000-Transit Operations

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

Attachment:  SCAT and MCAT Universal Pass Agreement New College 60816.pdf
Attachment:  SCAT and MCAT Universal Pass Agreement_Ringling 60816.pdf