Business owners excited about new SCAT Turtle Beach bus route

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SARASOTA FLA. - Sarasota County Area Transit unveiled a new beach route on Saturday that runs the length of Siesta Key.

“It goes all the way down Midnight Pass Road and makes various stops along the way and all the way ultimately down to Turtle Beach,” Kendra Keiderling told ABC7.

SCAT previously had buses running routes on Siesta Key but they did not go to Turtle Beach leaving a big gap in coverage on the south end of the island.

 “It has been a big problem for us, explained Ari Rubinfeld who owns the Turtle Beach Resort. He told ABC7 he is excited about the added beach route and believes it will get lots of use. “Even with our employees and our guests, they can get to the south bridge but we are still about two or three miles away. People come and they don’t book a car and they get here and they are kind of stuck. We do provide bicycles but it is still a three mile ride to the grocery store on a bicycle so they are going to be very relieved. It is Florida you know, you want to sit in that air conditioning when you can.”

“This will hopefully alleviate a lot of traffic and parking concerns that people do have,” said Keiderling, Marketing & Public Outreach Coordinator for SCAT.

Tanja Hofmann, owner of The Taste of Germany in Siesta Village knows how hard it can be to find available parking on the key.

“In high season this is very bad with parking here,” she said pointing to the small parking lot in front her business. Hofmann says it is common to see people fight over an available parking spots. She's hopeful the new route will ease traffic congestion and bring in additional customers.

“Little businesses like me, we need people to come in.”

The Turtle Beach route is one of two brand new routes SCAT started on Saturday. The other route runs from the Sarasota Bradenton Airport to Lakewood Ranch.

“It starts at the Sarasota airport and stops at the new University Town Center Mall and it will go through the Lakewood Ranch Professional Park,” explained Keiderling.

Along with adding two new routes on Saturday, SCAT also put 19 new buses into service.