Category Archives: Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT)

Getting Around Pinellas During Spring Break 2018

It’s hard to believe that March is just around the corner, and with that comes the rush of college students and families from all across Pinellas County and beyond to enjoy the county’s award-winning beaches. Also along with that, comes a lot of traffic and parking headaches. In this post, I will break down some of the alternatives available to you should you join in on the Spring Break hustle and bustle.


Extra Transportation Options in Clearwater Beach

Looking towards Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach, a hotspot of tourist activity during Spring Break.

Let’s first begin in Clearwater Beach, which is extremely popular amongst county residents and visitors alike. In fact, the beach was just named the best beach in the United States by TripAdvisor, based on reader reviews. It’s also one of the most congested beach communities in Pinellas due to the massive amounts of traffic that come across the Memorial Causeway bridge each day during the peak tourist season.

To help alleviate some of the congestion and to promote an alternative option to get to and from Clearwater Beach, the City of Clearwater and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) collaborated last year to provide additional bus trips between the beach and designated park-and-ride lots in downtown Clearwater. While the initiative was considered a success, it was met with many challenges – including where to let customers on and off at once at Clearwater Beach.

For this year, PSTA – along with the City of Clearwater – constructed the Clearwater Beach Transit Center along the westbound lanes of the Memorial Causeway, just east of the Clearwater Beach roundabout.  This facility includes a bus pull-in bay that can accommodate up to three transit vehicles, as well as shelters for customers. The PSTA Suncoast Beach Trolley, as well as both Jolley Trolley routes (Beach and Coastal), will serve the facility.

Whether you’re driving into the Clearwater area, or using a PSTA bus route to connect to the trolleys, you can leave the driving to your bus operator and not have to worry about changing lanes or battling other visitors to find a parking space. I will tell you right now that finding parking in Clearwater Beach is extremely difficult during the peak tourist season, and you could be waiting over 15 minutes in some cases just to find a parking space.

For the Spring Break 2018 season, PSTA has created a page on its website where you can learn more about the expanded trolley service and park-and-ride lot locations. Buses will depart the park-and-ride lots every 15 minutes (with PSTA and Jolley Trolley vehicles alternating trips) and customers will be able to park at the lots for free. Once at Clearwater Beach, you will be able to exit at the Clearwater Beach Transit Center and will only need to walk a short distance to get to the powder white sand of the beach, or other nearby shopping and dining destinations.

Anyone who parks their vehicle at one of the designated Park-and-Ride Lots will receive a FREE day pass for use throughout the entire PSTA system.

In addition to the PSTA and Jolley Trolleys, the Clearwater Ferry is also making improvements to handle this year’s Spring Break crowds – by adding boats and boosting its schedule. The service is also planning to execute an expansion to Dunedin, with further plans to expand to other beachside destinations. Fares are $4.00 each way, with discounted fares available for Seniors, active Military members, and children.


Transportation Options to St. Pete Beach

A Central Ave Trolley vehicle at Pass-A-Grille.

St. Pete Beach is another tourist hotspot during Spring Break, but isn’t as congested as Clearwater Beach. Nonetheless, roadways can get jammed at times and parking can be a hassle. Additionally, roadway construction around Pass-A-Grille is making getting around a headache of its own.

PSTA provides trolley service to St. Pete Beach and Pass-A-Grille via the Central Avenue Trolley. The trolley operates every 20 minutes during the day on weekdays and every 30 minutes during the evening and all day on weekends. Please note that some trips may be delayed or rerouted due to construction in Pass-A-Grille. PSTA is currently exploring the possibility of truncating Central Avenue Trolley service at the Don Cesar Beach Resort stop, and having customers transfer to a shuttle bus or van to complete their trip to Pass-A-Grille.

St. Pete Beach also serves as the southern terminus for the Suncoast Beach Trolley – which departs every 30 minutes. You can catch either trolley at the Gulf Blvd/75th Ave transfer point and quickly get to and from the beaches – whether you’re coming from St. Pete, Clearwater, or somewhere in between.


What if I’m going to another beach?

Most of Pinellas’ award-winning beaches are served by either a PSTA bus or trolley, or the Jolley Trolley lines. The only exceptions are Fort Desoto Park/Beach, Honeymoon Island, Sunset Beach, and Fred Howard Park, as there is no transit service to these destinations. However, bicyclists can ride to these areas without having to venture too far off from a bus route or The Pinellas Trail system.

The Central Avenue Trolley serves the following destinations:

  • Pass-A-Grille Beach
  • St. Pete Beach (transfer point to the Suncoast Beach Trolley is at 75th Ave @ Gulf Blvd)
  • South Pasadena
  • Central Avenue Corridor & the historic Grand Central District
  • PSTA Grand Central Station
  • The Edge (Arts & Entertainment) District
  • Downtown St. Petersburg (including Beach Dr, Sundial Shoppes, and The Pier District)

The Suncoast Beach Trolley serves the following destinations:

  • St. Pete Beach
  • Treasure Island
  • Madeira Beach (including the John’s Pass Shopping District & Boardwalk)
  • Reddington Beaches (including Reddington Shores)
  • Indian Shores
  • Indian Rocks Beach
  • There are no stops in the Belleair Beach or Belleair Shores areas. Unfortunately, these communities are not very friendly to transit and do not wish to place any funding towards transit service, so thus there are no trolley stops in these communities.
  • Sand Key Beach
  • Clearwater Beach (including dining and entertainment)
  • PSTA Clearwater Beach Transit Center
  • Island Estates (early morning trips only)
  • PSTA Park St Terminal
  • Downtown Clearwater dining and entertainment
  • The Jolley Trolley Beach Route serves Island Estates after 10:00am. The route also serves many popular Clearwater Beach destinations throughout the day. Departure times are staggered so that you don’t have to wait too long for either a PSTA Suncoast Beach Trolley or a Jolley Trolley vehicle to arrive if you’re traversing the island.

The Jolley Trolley Coastal Route serves the following destinations:

  • Sand Key Beach
  • Clearwater Beach (including dining and entertainment)
  • PSTA Clearwater Beach Transit Center
  • Island Estates
  • PSTA Park St Terminal
  • Downtown Clearwater dining and entertainment
  • Various coastal destinations throughout Dunedin, Ozona, and Tarpon Springs – including the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks.

Regardless of where you venture off to via PSTA, be sure to download the Transit App before you go!


What other transportation options are available?

For those who aren’t using transit to get around, but still don’t want to rent a vehicle, you can utilize Uber and Lyft. Just keep in mind that surge pricing may be in effect during periods of high demand. Taxicab companies will also be busy shutting people around the area.

If you’re visiting Downtown St. Petersburg, you can also take advantage of Coast Bike Share. Fees are affordable and there are numerous hubs located throughout the city.


Going to Manatee County?

If you decide to venture into Manatee County during the week, Manatee County Area Transit continues to provide its award-winning Skyway ConneXion bus route (Route 203) with two trips per day, Monday through Friday. A one-way fare is $5.00 (with the intercounty fare being $3.00). A day pass can be purchased on board the bus for $10.00, which can be used on all MCAT bus routes. For more information, please visit the MCAT website.


Please be sure to bookmark my website: globaltransitguidebook.com | Contact Me.

You can also find me on Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube

Legalese | Disclosures

MCAT & SCAT Winter 2018 Service Changes

It’s that time again, time to enact service changes across multiple transit districts. In this post, I will be discussing the various service changes going into effect for Manatee County Area Transit & Sarasota County Area Transit.


Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT)

MCAT enacted the following changes on Saturday, February 3, 2018

Select the route number to view the new schedule.
I will post the Route 99 schedule link once SCAT has enacted its changes.

  • Route 1Overall span of service will reduce to reflect ridership patterns. The first northbound trip from Palmetto to Ellenton, leaving the Palmetto WalMart at 5:03am was eliminated.
  • Route 2: The northbound trip starting at Manatee County Public Works at 5:38 a.m. via the Red Barn Flea Market was eliminated. Start of service will now be the first southbound trip to DeSoto Station at 5:50am.
  • Route 4: The first westbound trip from the Downtown Bradenton Station, departing at 5:15am for Blake Hospital, was eliminated.
  • Route 6: A new late night westbound trip was added, departing at 8:05am from DeSoto Station. This trip will not serve Blake Hospital and will end at 75th St W.
  • Route 13: The current southbound trip at 6:20 p.m. will end at Palmetto Walmart/US 301 at 6:47p.m. This trip will no longer continue to Palmetto Station.
  • Sunday/Holiday Beach Express Trolley: Westbound service will now begin at 9:15am from the Downtown Bradenton Station instead of 9:00am from the State Rd 64 WalMart.
  • Joint MCAT/SCAT Route 99: Evening service span will be adjusted to reflect ridership patterns. Some trips may leave earlier or later than they currently do, and other trips may be eliminated due to lower ridership.
    • MCAT added a southbound trip from the DeSoto Station, departing at 8:02pm, to travel to Downtown Sarasota. This trip will skip stops serving State College of Florida and depart the Downtown Sarasota Transfer Center at 8:40pm, terminating at SRQ Airport.
    • SCAT will eliminate the 10:00pm run between SRQ Airport and Downtown Sarasota.

View the schedule change flyer.

Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT)

SCAT will enact the following changes on Saturday, February 10, 2018.

Schedules are not yet available.

  • Route 1: The first westbound trip will depart Cattlemen station 5 minutes earlier, at 5:44am, to arrive at the Downtown Sarasota Transfer Center at 6:05am. This change is being made to provide better connectivity to Route 18.
  • Route 1A: Saturday service will be eliminated. Service will only operate Monday through Friday.
  • Route 3: Overall span of service will be reduced to reflect ridership patterns.
  • Route 9: Saturday service will be eliminated. Service will only operate Monday through Friday. Combined Route 17/13 will take over for Saturday service. Weekday schedule adjustments will be made to help keep buses running on time.
    • The southern terminus will change to include the North Port Suncoast Technical College/NP Library on North Cranberry Boulevard as the end of the line. SCAT will continue to serve the North Port Memorial Hospital Emergency Room in one direction.
  • Route 11: Segment between Downtown Sarasota & Westfield Siesta Key (formerly Southgate) will be eliminated. Alternative services will be provided by Routes 14 & 17. This change also applies for the Sunday variant.
    • Sunday variant will have a reduction in overall span of service.
  • Route 14: Service will be extended to Downtown Sarasota on all service days, including the Sunday variant.
  • Route 15: Buses will no longer perform the loop via US 41 & Proctor Rd and will instead terminate at the Sarasota Pavillion Transfer Center. Alternative service along US 41 will be provided by Route 17 on weekdays and Route 17/13 on weekends. Alternative service on Swift Rd will be provided by Route 5.
    • Sunday variant will have a reduction in overall span of service.
  • Route 16: Two AM trips & two PM trips will be added between Venice & Englewood.
  • Route 17: Saturday service will be eliminated. Service will only operate Monday through Friday. Combined Route 17/13 will take over for Saturday service.
  • Route 26 (Seasonal): Seasonal service began in December, 2017.
  • Route 28: Saturday service will be eliminated. Service will only operate Monday through Friday.
  • Route 30: Overall span of service will be reduced to reflect ridership patterns.
  • Route 33 (Seasonal): Seasonal service began in December, 2017.
  • Joint MCAT/SCAT Route 99: Evening service span will be adjusted to reflect ridership patterns. Some trips may leave earlier or later than they currently do, and other trips may be eliminated due to lower ridership.
    • MCAT added a southbound trip from the DeSoto Station, departing at 8:02pm, to travel to Downtown Sarasota. This trip will skip stops serving State College of Florida and depart the Downtown Sarasota Transfer Center at 8:40pm, terminating at SRQ Airport.
    • SCAT will eliminate the 10:00pm run between SRQ Airport and Downtown Sarasota.
  • Route 17/13: Hourly service will commence on Saturdays and will mirror the Sunday schedule. The route will also be extended to Toledo Blade Blvd and Cranberry Blvd.

View the schedule change flyer.


Please be sure to bookmark my website: globaltransitguidebook.com | Contact Me.

You can also find me on Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube

Legalese | Disclosures

My experience using the MCAT Skyway ConneXion bus line

Travelling between Pinellas and Manatee Counties has always been a challenge. Being that there has been no public transit services, outside of any intercity bus lines (i.e. Greyhound), everyone is pretty much left to drive from A to B. That picture changed on April 1, 2016 with the introduction of Manatee County Area Transit’s Skyway ConneXion express bus line (Route 203).

The route operates Monday through Friday between MCAT’s DeSoto transfer station and the Bay Pines VA Hospital near St. Pete. Stops in between include MCAT’s Palmetto and Bradenton hubs, Tyrone Square Mall (street-side stop), and a stop near the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA)’s Grand Central Station. While there are only two round trips along the route (one AM and one PM), there are longer term plans for expansion should funding and ridership dictate. From what I’ve heard, many Manatee County area residents like the route and PSTA has been working with MCAT to try and spread the word about the route in Pinellas. If you are a PSTA rider, you probably have noticed links to MCAT’s website on the recently revamped PSTA.net, along with a link on the Schedules/Maps page to the MCAT route. On MCAT’s website, references to PSTA.net are up as well.

In April of 2017, roughly a year after the route’s launch, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council awarded MCAT and Manatee County Government a first place award as part of the 25th annual Future of the Region Awards. This award recognized MCAT’s efforts to plan and launch an innovative regional service at a time where regional transit connectivity is becoming more important to Tampa Bay but few avenues are available to establish new regional services.


MCAT bus #50746 making its northbound AM trek to the Bay Pines VA Hospital.

Travel Log

With the above all said, I’d like to now take a few moments to share my own experience using the Skyway ConneXion service. Now to be very honest, when the service was first announced in March of 2016, I thought it was an April Fools scheme, and it took me a while to realize that it indeed wasn’t. Once I did realize that this service was becoming a reality, I began planning a day where I could hop aboard the bus and take a trip to one of my favorite Manatee County destinations.

Every now and then, I like to stop by the Red Barn Flea Market on US Hwy 301 in Bradenton to see what kinds of items I can find. Usually, I would make the drive down I-275 and the Sunshine Skyway, and then park my car at the market’s parking lot. However, on May 20, 2016, I decided not to make that drive. I instead left my car at my apartment and walked down to the bus stop off MLK St N and 94th Ave N. I then connected to PSTA Route 59 (this was prior to Route 59 being truncated to Ulmerton Rd only) to Downtown St. Pete and the Central Ave Trolley to Grand Central Station. I then walked over to the stop on US Hwy 19 near 1st Ave S to wait for the MCAT bus to arrive.

I made sure to time my departures correctly so that I could catch the MCAT bus on time, given the limited schedule. I also made sure to have $10.00 cash on hand for the day pass. $10.00 may seem pricey for some, but when you compare riding the bus to driving and having to pay tolls, $10.00 can go a long way. The day pass issued on board the Route 203 bus is also valid for all local routes in the MCAT system.

Catching the bus to Bradenton was a breeze!

When the bus pulled up, I was greeted by a very friendly operator and I immediately informed her that I was getting a day pass. I inserted my $10.00 bill into the farebox and obtained my pass. Turning around to take a seat, I quickly realized that I was the only customer on board the bus – and it would remain that way for the entire duration of the trip.

The bus made a quick stop at the Palmetto Station in Palmetto before stopping at the Downtown Bradenton Station, where I got off and transferred over to Route 3. I then took Route 3 to US Hwy 301 and 9th Ave and walked the rest of the way to the Red Barn. All in all, the journey from Pinellas to the Red Barn took roughly an hour and the same was said for the journey back. I decided to spend about an hour at the flea market before having to return to the Downtown Bradenton Station for the return trip back to Pinellas. While I did not find the items that I was looking for at the market, I was able to allot enough time to grab a bite to eat at the food court. The Red Barn has over 500 vendors, including the farmer’s market outside.

To return to the Downtown Bradenton Station, I decided to walk along US Hwy 301, 9th Ave, and 13th St W, as the Route 2 already passed by when I was still eating my lunch. However, the weather was not bad considering it was still a cooler time of year. Once I returned to the terminal, I only waited about ten minutes before the bus pulled into the station with the same operator behind the wheel as that morning. I quickly boarded the bus, swiped my pass, and relaxed for the trip back to Pinellas.

It’s great when you’re not having to do the driving over the Sunshine Skyway!

While the Skyway ConneXion is definitely a good start for Manatee/Pinellas bus service, more needs to be done to improve the regional transit connectivity in Tampa Bay. One step to achieve that be adding limited express routes from Hillsborough into Manatee as well as Hillsborough into Polk – both of which are on Hillsborough Area Regional Transit’s long-term radar. Of course, we have no clue if or when the funds will come around.


Please be sure to bookmark my website: hartride2012tampa.wordpress.com | Contact Me.

You can also find me on Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube

Legalese | Disclosures

Improving Regional Bus Connections in Tampa Bay

Making inter-county travel via transit even better!

With the launch of an improved Purple Bus Route in Hernando County and the upcoming cross-bay connection between Pinellas and Manatee Counties, traveling from one county to another couldn’t be any easier!

An illustration showing all intercounty bus routes, as well as key local connections. Please bear in mind that the lines shown on this map may not actually reflect the true routing of the bus lines. Created by HARTride 2012 using Google Maps and Microsoft Paint.
An illustration showing all intercounty bus routes, as well as key local connections. Please bear in mind that the lines shown on this map may not actually reflect the true routing of the bus lines. Created by HARTride 2012 using Google Maps and Microsoft Paint.

As shown in the illustration above, various transit agencies have launched cross-county bus services in order to improve regional connectivity and provide better services overall to their customers. While many of these services only operate during peak weekday hours, they are no less vital to the overall transit structure and will serve as part of the broader plan for a regional fare structure that is currently in development.

Current Services

Now that I’ve outlined which services operate, let’s take a look at each inter-county route in a bit more detail.

Route 18 – Pasco County Public Transportation (PCPT): This local Monday through Saturday bus route travels from the Cross Bayou K-Mart near US 19 to Tarpon Springs, where connections to Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) Route 66 are available.

Route 19 – Pasco County Public Transportation (PCPT): This local Monday through Saturday bus route travels along US 19 from Tarpon Springs, where connections to PSTA Routes 19 and 66 are available, to Bayonet Point Plaza, where connections to PCPT Route 21 are available. Route 21 in-turn connects to the Scheer Commerce Center, where connections to the Hernando Bus Purple Route are available.

Route 20X – Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART): This peak weekday express bus route was established back in the 1980s and allows for customers to connect to Downtown Tampa from Lutz and Lake Magdalene. In 2011, the route was extended into the southern fringe of Central Pasco County, where it begins its AM runs from the Super Target parking lot on County Line Rd and Dale Mabry Hwy. Future expansion of the route could allow for connections to Pasco County Public Transportation (PCPT) Route 54.

Route 51X – Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART): Introduced during the 2000s, this peak weekday express bus route provides connections between Downtown Tampa, New Tampa, and the Wesley Chapel area of Pasco. PCPT Route 54 connect to the HART service at the Victorious Life Church Park and Ride Lot during selected trips. Future modifications of the route will allow it to better serve Wesley Chapel by serving the Shoppes at Wiregrass and the Florida Hospital campus. Use of the Victorious Life Church Park and Ride Lot will eventually discontinue.

Route 99 – Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) and Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT): Launched in 2004, this Monday through Saturday local route connects Palmetto to Bradenton and Sarasota. Connections to both agencies routes are available along the way.

Route 100X – Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA): Introduced in 1985 as a HART route, PSTA took over the 100X in 1993 and midday trips have since been added to what was originally a peak only weekday express route. This route currently connects Downtown Tampa to South Tampa and the Gateway region of St. Petersburg, but future plans have the route being extended towards Downtown St. Petersburg and the addition of Saturday service is not too far off either.

Route 200X – Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART): Route 200X started out as a state-operated experimental shuttle in the 1970s. By the 1980s, it had become a vital connection between Downtown Tampa and eastern Clearwater. The route currently operates during peak hours, Monday through Friday, but modification could occur if a planned Clearwater Beach to Tampa International Airport express route is launched.

Route 300X – Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA): Launched in 2003, this peak weekday express route provides connections between the Ulmerton Rd Park and Ride Lot on Ulmerton Rd and Starkey Rd, and Downtown Tampa. Midday trips are provided and future expansion could hold more trips for this service.

The Oldsmar/Tampa/Countryside Flex Connector – Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA): Launched in 2012, the OTC Flex Connector provides Monday through Saturday cutaway van service to the Countryside/Boot Ranch area of Pinellas, as well as Oldsmar and Town-N-Country. The route’s western terminus is Countryside Mall and the eastern terminus is HART’s Northwest Transfer Center. Both transfer hubs provide connections to both agencies own routes. Customers wishing to continue from Town-N-Country from the Flex route can use HART Route 30, and those wanting to connect from Countryside Mall can use PSTA Route 19 to get to St. Petersburg’s Grand Central Station, the Pinellas Park Transit Center, or Tarpon Springs. For those wanting to travel toward Downtown Clearwater, PSTA Routes 76 and 78 can get you there.

The Longboat Key Trolley (Route 18) – Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) and Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) Not Shown on the Map Above: The Longboat Key Trolley provides a cross-county beach-side connection from Downtown Sarasota to Longboat Key. Those wishing to go northward can connect to the Anna Maria Trolley, and connections to MCAT Route 6 is also available.

The Hernando Bus Purple Route: While the Purple Route has been in service for some time now, the western terminus fell short of the Pasco/Hernando County Line. In January of 2016, this changed when the route was extended to the Scheer Commerce Center, allowing for connections to PCPT Route 21. The Purple Route operates only Monday through Friday.

The Skyway ConneXion – Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT): Launching on April 1, 2016, the Monday through Friday two-round-trip express route will allow for connections between the MCAT and PSTA systems via I-275. The route will operate as a pilot for the first few months to evaluate ridership demand.

Megabus Service to Orlando and Miami Not Shown on the Map Above: Megabus.com launched its Florida intercity bus services in 2014 and allows for connections to nearly all major Florida cities.

Redcoach and Greyhound also provide intercity bus services to many major Florida cities.

Filling in the missing links

While the above services lay the foundation for vital inter-county connections, more funding is needed to expand upon what we have and allow for even more connections to other counties in the future. PSTA and HART are both currently planning  additional connections between Pinellas and Hillsborough, specifically to connect to Tampa International Airport, which is currently only served by HART Route 30. HART also has short term plans to enhance its New Tampa and Central Pasco service, as well as longer term plans to provide even more service to Pasco, as well as create connections to Manatee and Polk Counties. Hopefully one day, one can be able to seamlessly travel throughout the entire Central Florida Region via transit; including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, Manatee, Sarasota, Polk, Osceola, Orange, Lake, Seminole, and Volusia Counties.


Please be sure to bookmark my website: hartride2012tampa.wordpress.com | Contact Me.

You can also find me on Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube

Legalese | Disclosures

The Travel Log by HARTride 2012 Facebook Group is now open!

MCAT Skyway ConneXion

MCAT SX Banner 1

Starting Friday, April 1, 2016, you’ll have a new way to cross Tampa Bay between Pinellas and Manatee Counties! Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) will be launching its new Skyway ConneXion express bus service between Bradenton and St. Petersburg via I-275 and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The service will start out as a pilot that will have two trips during the day, Monday through Friday. The first trip will start out in Bradenton during the late morning and make a round trip to St. Pete and back, with a second round trip crossing the bay during the afternoon.

Planning

The idea for the new Skyway ConneXion service originated from the fact that MCAT was already doing Paratransit runs between Bradenton and the Bill Young VA Hospital at Bay Pines. Recently, demand for this trip has grown to the point to where MCAT began to use a Gillig Phantom transit bus instead of a cutaway van. Since the Paratransit trips are already funded, the new service will not require additional dollars to operate as-is. If demand for the new service increases, MCAT will consider adding in trips to meet customer needs. For the long term, I’m sure that MCAT will need to embark on securing state dollars for further expansion, which include FDOT Urban Corridor Project funds, which play a role in various cross-county express bus services across the state.

Original aspirations for transit service between Bradenton/Sarasota and Tampa Bay

While the Skyway ConneXion is a new service, this isn’t the first time that cross-county service between the Bradenton/Sarasota and Tampa Bay areas have been planned. In 2011, Sarasota County Area Transit proposed two routes – one between Sarasota, Bradenton, and St. Pete, with the second going to Tampa. However, funding issues led to this proposal being abandoned. In the future, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) may launch a cross-county limited express route from southern Hillsborough into northern Manatee.

Route and Stops

The Skyway ConneXion route will only load and unload customers at designated bus stops with the orange and blue MCAT decal.
The Skyway ConneXion route will only load and unload customers at designated bus stops with the orange and aqua MCAT decal.

Since the Skyway ConneXion is an express bus service, there will be very limited stops along the route. The southern portion of the route will connect MCAT’s three major transfer hubs – the DeSoto Station by the DeSoto Mall, the Downtown Bradenton Station, and the Palmetto Station. From there, buses will travel northward along US 41 to US 19 and I-275 and cross the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Once in Pinellas, buses will exit the interstate at the US 19/Pinellas Bayway/54th Ave S interchange and travel northward on US 19 (34th St S). The first Pinellas County stop will be situated at the intersection of US 19 and 50th Ave S, adjacent to Bay Pointe Plaza, where MCAT customers can connect to Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) bus routes 11 and 19. The next stop is along US 19, just shy of the 1st Ave S interchange by Checkers. This stop is just a short walk away from PSTA’s Grand Central Station, where customers can connect seamlessly to numerous destinations throughout Pinellas. From there, there is one more street-side stop along Tyrone Blvd and 68th St N, next to the Tyrone Square Mall, before the route terminates at the VA hospital at Bay Pines.

Fares

A one-way cash ride on the Skyway ConneXion will be $3.00 if only traveling within Pinellas or Manatee Counties, and $5.00 if you decide to cross county lines. An all-day $10.00 pass is available and will be valid across all MCAT operated bus routes. It is currently unclear if PSTA will be providing any sort of incentives (such as a free PSTA transfer) for MCAT customers.

More Information

More information about the Skyway ConneXion service can be obtained at MCAT’s website.


Please be sure to bookmark my website: hartride2012tampa.wordpress.com | Contact Me.

You can also find me on Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube

Legalese | Disclosures

The Travel Log by HARTride 2012 Facebook Group is now open!

Columbus Day Holiday 2015 Transit Schedule

Columbus Day 2015 Banner 2

Monday, October 12, 2015 is Columbus Day. Unlike most Federal holidays, where transit services are typically limited to weekend-level services, most transit districts tend to operate on a typical weekday schedule on Columbus Day, with some districts operating weekday services with modifications.

In the Tampa Bay Area, all area transit districts (HART, PSTA, MCAT, SCAT, PCPT, and Hernando THEbus) will operate on a normal weekday schedule. This includes the TECOline Streetcar, HART MetroRapid, HART and PSTA flex bus services, and various trolleybus routes throughout the metro area.

In the Hampton Roads Area, all HRT services (bus, LRT, and ferry) will also operate on a normal weekday schedule. However, MAX (Express) routes 918, 919, 922, and 965 will NOT operate.

If you have any questions regarding holiday transit services, please contact your respective transit district for details. Customer service centers will be open normal hours (unless otherwise specified by the transit district).


Please be sure to bookmark my website: hartride2012tampa.wordpress.com | Contact Me.

You can also find me on Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube

Legalese | Disclosures

Holiday Transit Services for Independence Day – July 4, 2014

Independence Day will be on Friday, July 4, and as with many holidays, transit services will be limited. Please see the listing below to see what level of service that each transit district will operate.

Continue reading Holiday Transit Services for Independence Day – July 4, 2014

Memorial Day 2014 Holiday Transit Schedules

Memorial Day will be on May 26, 2014, and as with many holidays, transit services will be limited. Please see the listing below to see what level of service that each transit district will operate.

Continue reading Memorial Day 2014 Holiday Transit Schedules

Holiday Transit Services for Labor Day – September 2, 2013

Labor Day will be on Monday, September 2, 2013, and as with many holidays, transit services will be limited. Please see the listing below to see what level of service that each transit district will operate.

Continue reading Holiday Transit Services for Labor Day – September 2, 2013

Holiday Transit Services for Independence Day – July 4, 2013

Independence Day will be on Thursday, July 4, and as with many holidays, transit services will be limited. Please see the listing below to see what level of service that each transit district will operate.

Continue reading Holiday Transit Services for Independence Day – July 4, 2013