Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - November 18, 2014
REVISED November 18, 2014 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #63

MCAT Proposed Fiscal Year 2014/15 Service Modifications


Contact and/or Presenter Information

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

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

Action Requested

Approval of Route Schedules for Route 6 (extension to Lakewood Ranch) and the North County Connexion (connecting Palmetto and Rubonia).

Approval of Passenger Bus Stop Access Agreement for service deviations.

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Florida Statutes 125; Florida Statutes 341.052

Background Discussion

To inform the Board of County 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 and fall of 2014. These proposals are as follows:

  • Route 6 Extension/SR 70 - 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 County Connexion 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 "North County Connexion" service concept provides for paratransit "feeder" connections to serve those that may not be able to access the mainline corridor and who call in and request "feeder" connections to Wal-Mart or Palmetto Station.

After the February 18 BCC Workshop, several informal workshops were programmed for the communities that will be most affected by the proposed service 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 (7 PM - 9 PM)
  • Rubonia Community Center, April 7 (7 PM - 8 PM)
  • Manatee County Administration Building, Fountain Room,   April 24 (2 PM - 4 PM)

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 service concept since it will provide transportation for personal shopping and other needs, while providing travel independence. Additional days and areas of 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 North County Connexion Route because this method of transportation is very common within the community. Additional days and hours of 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 Proposals have been well received throughout the Workshop process. The enhanced fare structure effective October 6, 2014, is well received by transit passengers; they 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.

To fulfill operating requirements, services on both the North County Connexion and Route 6 will deviate onto select properties including: Holy Cross, Manatee Technical Institute (MTI), and LECOM on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard. Therefore, a Passenger Bus Stop Access Agreement was developed in conjunction with the County Attorney's office. These agreements are critical to the success of these service enhancement projects.

The Purpose of the Public Hearing today is to afford an opportunity to receive comment on the proposed Route Schedules. On June 17, 2014, staff received BCC approval to proceed with development of Route Schedules for proposed Route 6 and the North County Connexion routes.

Therefore, the following is proposed for Board approval:

  1. Approve Transit Division staff to proceed with the Route 6 and North County Connexion Service Modifications as proposed.
  2. Implement the North County Connexion effective December 8, 2014, and new Route 6 effective January 3, 2015.
  3. Provide free fare for the first few weeks of implementation: Through December 31, 2014, for the North County Connexion; and through January 31, 2015, for the Route 6 service east of DeSoto Station.
  4. Approve Public Works Director (or designate) to execute a Passenger Bus Stop Access Agreement with Holy Cross, MTI, and LECOM.

County Attorney Review
Other (Requires explanation in field below)

Explanation of Other
Form Agreement approved per RLS 14-300

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records
Please, forward 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

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

Attachment:  Holy Cross Access Attachment.pdf
Attachment:  LECOM Attachment.pdf
Attachment:  MTI Attachment.pdf
Attachment:  Passenger Bus Stop Access Agreement 110414 v3.pdf
Attachment:  MCAT Service Modifications PPT 111814_v4.pdf