Sarasota News Leader

02/01/2013

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Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Zambella pointed out that with county plans calling for five buses to look like trolleys, the savings between the kit and wrap almost would pay for another bus. In talking with representatives of both the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and the Siesta Key Village Association the previous evening, Patterson said, she had mentioned the county might opt for the wrap. Their response, she said, was, "'That's fine. We need the transportation.'" Page 57 ridership had increased from 8 percent to 14 percent. A major reason for that, she said, was the popularity of the county's express bus service. Rider fares on those routes pay for 30 percent of the county's expense, she noted. Regarding "headway," the amount of time a rider has to wait for a bus on a specific route, Carter said the headway is 30 minutes on five county routes and 60 minutes on 17 routes. The express routes take about 75 minutes one-way, she added. Patterson added to Carter, "So I don't think Except for the express routes, she said, you're going to get a lot of push-back." SCAT's goal is to have most routes working with a 30-minute headway. "That's fantastic news," Carter replied. "The kit is a little cuter," Patterson said, "but Carter also pointed out that the routes with [the wrap], to me, is fine, if we're going to save 30 minutes of headway or less are the most popular with riders. $61,000." Carter also noted that the colors and design of The newest express bus route, 90X, began on the wrap could be different from those depict- Jan. 28. It has stops in North Port and Venice ed in a PowerPoint presentation she provided as it brings passengers to Sarasota. to the commission. EFFICIENCIES Patterson said she felt the Siesta Key trolley would prove very popular in transporting In one other SCAT vote on Jan. 29, Robinson did join her fellow board members in supporttourists to the island. ing Carter's request to convert 17 part-time SOME STATS positions to seven that would be full-time, a During her presentation, Carter pointed out move Carter and her staff characterized as that except for a 3 percent decrease in rid- creating more efficiency and saving money in ership on the SCAT routes in the 2012 fiscal the long run. year, usage of the bus service has grown con- Robinson pointed out that, unlike the earlier sistently over the past several years. vote, it did not represent a shift from private The county's cost per rider is $4.89, Carter firms handling work to county staff doing it, noted, with 70 percent of that paid by the so she would approve it. county's general fund; 20 percent by grants; Patterson said she relied on confidence in Carand 10-13 percent by rider fares. ter's cost analyses that the move would not From 2008 to 2012, Carter explained, the per- end up adding to county expense for the SCAT centage of fare revenue covering the cost of system. %

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