New MCAT service on Longboat Key
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (March 17, 2017) – The Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) and Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) bus services on Longboat Key are changing, beginning April 15, 2017. The Longboat Key Shuttle, a new on-demand/call ahead service, will be available on Longboat Key between Bay Isles and Coquina Beach. This unique and innovative service provides a customer friendly, curb-to-curb service which residents and visitors access either on local streets, or at existing bus stops along the Gulf of Mexico Drive corridor. The Shuttle fare is $1.50 for each trip. The new Shuttle service will replace MCAT’s Longboat Key Trolley. At the same time, SCAT will continue to operate their Route 18, which operates every hour between Bay Isles and Downtown Sarasota.
According to William P. Steele, the Transit Division Manager for Manatee County, “the Longboat Key Shuttle was developed in response to the desires of residents of Longboat Key.” In fact Mr. Steele noted that many residents “voiced a desire for a more personalized on-demand, curb-to-curb service that is more accessible for those that are elderly or have limited mobility. These sentiments were expressed in a meeting organized by the Aging in Paradise organization in January of 2016.”
Users of the Shuttle service simply call to reserve a trip by 5:00 pm the day before they travel, and a Shuttle service vehicle will pick them up and drop them off within the Longboat Key Shuttle service area. Residents will enjoy ease of travel throughout the Island with convenient connections to Anna Maria Island (AMI) and the AMI Trolley at Coquina Beach. Mainland destinations are easily accessed with transit route connections that are available at Coquina Beach and Bay Isles.
For repetitive travel needs, the Shuttle offers subscription service, so that passengers can schedule multiple trips with one phone call. A pre-paid fare option is also available, so that passengers do not need to bring cash fare. Passengers transferring from mainland bus routes benefit as well, as the Shuttle operators accept valid SCAT or MCAT bus passes, in lieu of a fare payment.
Walk-up service is also available at designated bus stops when Shuttle vehicles are in operation. The Shuttle vehicles accommodate bikes and are accessible for people using wheelchairs or other mobility devices. Passengers are encouraged to note their travel aids when scheduling Shuttle rides.
For more information about the Longboat Key Shuttle, visit the MCAT website at www.mymanatee.org/mcat or contact MCAT at 941-747-8621. An educational video describing the new Shuttle service is now available on the Transit portion of the Manatee County Government website.
Please click on the following link to watch a short video on this service: