Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - November 3, 2015
REVISED November 3, 2015 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #39

Universal Access Program Agreement between the University of South Florida, Manatee County, and Sarasota County


Contact and/or Presenter Information

William Steele, Transit Division Manager, William.Steele@mymanatee.org, (941)747-8621, Ext: 7440

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

Action Requested

Approval of the Universal Access Program Agreement with the University of South Florida Board of Trustees and Sarasota County, and authorizing the Chairperson to execute the Agreement.

Enabling/Regulating Authority

Chapter 341, Florida Statutes

Manatee County Transit Development Plan (TDP)

Background Discussion

The Universal Access Program Agreement (U-Pass Program) involves three parties: University of South Florida (USF) Sarasota/Manatee, Manatee County, and Sarasota County. This agreement allows USF students, faculty, and employees to ride public transit fixed route/fixed schedule service for free when presenting a valid USF 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 each for both Sarasota and Manatee Counties ($10,000 total) during the initial term of the agreement (January 1 - December 31, 2016).

The U-Pass Program would serve a number of purposes including broadening access to public transportation services for USF students, faculty, and staff throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties, assisting in meeting agency goals in regards to facilitating ridership growth, add an additional source of operating revenue for transit service, and expedite the boarding process at key bus stops. Because MCAT and SCAT jointly operate the Regional, inter-county bus route along the US Highway 41 corridor (i.e. Route 99), which services the USF campus, the U-Pass Program Agreement includes all three parties (USF, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties). As the program evolves, USF ridership grows, and the two transit systems continue to track their actual USF ridership, the lump sum fee can be revised to reflect growing ridership, changes to the fare structure, etc. Similar agreements could be crafted between Manatee County and other universities and colleges in the Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) service area.

Similar university/college and transit agency transit revenue agreements are now quite common. Successful examples are currently in use in 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 major USF campuses located within their respective service areas.

The USF Sarasota Manatee has already approved the U-Pass Program Agreement and Sarasota County is preparing to approve this agreement as well.

Implementation is scheduled for January 2016 to coincide with the new USF school semester. 

County Attorney Review
Other (Requires explanation in field below)

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

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records

Please call Ryan Suarez at ext. 7622 when signed.  He will pick up the agreements and deliver them to Sarasota County.

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name
435001200-Transit Operations

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

Attachment:  USF Interlocal Unlimited Access Program Agreement.pdf