Door-to-Door Service May Replace SCAT Buses in South Sarasota County

SCAT Door-To-Door Service May Replace Buses

VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - Public transportation may soon be changing throughout Sarasota County.

In an effort to make SCAT more efficient, officials have looked at eliminating some bus routes or even increasing the number of stops on others. However, the county is now considering another option that would take away the traditional bus service in some cities and replace it with something more modern.

“We need to put our county ad our taxpayers In position to be able to innovate and adapt, and move forward towards the future,” Sarasota County Commissioner Christian Ziegler said.

The days of a bus being your only option for inexpensive public transportation may soon be over. Sarasota County wants to provide improved options to residents, while also keeping cost around the same.

“Because when you look at SCAT, we’re probably spending close to $30 million when we’re only taking about a million and a half in receipts, so something needs to change,” Commissioner Ziegler explained.

The county is now considering a restructured transit system that could eliminate all bus routes south of the Venice Terminal and instead provide smaller, door-to-door services for the rest of South County. These areas would become mobility hubs with hopes to be more user-friendly.

“I don't drive. I can't drive. There are people in the building that will help me out, but I don't want to ask and bother anyone. It also makes me feel more independent by having to pay,” Bona Lee, a frequent SCAT Rider, told us.

Riders would still be able to use the transit system in North County, and then instead of transferring to a difference bus in Venice, they would be taken in subsidized services similar to Uber – directly to their destinations.

“One of the biggest complaints you here now is that there are all these big buses with no one on them. Hopefully maybe we can shorten that bus and have maybe vans pick people up and it could be a little bit quicker or maybe the buses could be more efficient,” said Commissioner Ziegler.

All the logistics are now being looked at to see how the transit can provide the best service possible.

“I think this is a great opportunity for the county to become innovative and take some additional steps that could hopefully increase ridership and also make the service a little bit better for the customers – which are the taxpayers,” added Commissioner Ziegler.

The County Commission has now asked staff to come up with more of a concrete plan in order to fully discuss this option. No word yet on when that meeting will be.

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