Category Archives: Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT)

Sarasota County Area Transit sells express bus fleet to Hillsborough Area Regional Transit

A New Life

Many transit agencies go through vehicle replenishment on a regular basis. Here in the United States, most transit vehicles operate anywhere from 10 to 15 years before it’s time for the agency to bid farewell and retire them. Some agencies however will keep buses on the road longer if the need is there – like if a new bus order is delayed or additional demand arises, while others may part ways earlier than planned if the vehicles are no longer needed – many instances due to shrinking budgets and service reductions.


Overall service reductions prompt fleet reductions

In Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT)’s case, the past few years of undergoing service tweaks and reductions have resulted in more buses in the fleet than what the agency needs. SCAT’s cross-county express routes, originally launched in 2013, have suffered very low overall ridership – despite many past efforts to try and enhance service with new branches and destinations. At one time, there were three express routes in operation – the 80X, the 90X, and the 100X. All three routes originated at either Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport or the Downtown Sarasota Terminal, and traveled southward to North Port. The 80X and 100X primarily used Interstate 75 while the 90X deviated through Venice.

#1104X at the South Venice WalMart.

During the past year or so, SCAT has trimmed down the number of express trips and axed the 80X and 90X. While I have reason to believe that the 100X will survive through the end of 2018, I have a strong feeling that the route will reach the end of the line for good in 2019 – especially now that the suburban coach style buses from 2011 and 2012 are leaving the fleet. Just this past July, SCAT expressed its intent to divest itself of the eight buses – numbered 1101X through 1106X for the six 2011 models, and 1201X and 1202X for the two 2012 models. While I’m not sure how many area transit agencies expressed interest in buying them, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) was the agency that ultimately purchased them. HART is currently struggling to maintain a sturdy bus fleet – with its 2005 and 2006 fleet reaching the end of their useful lives. HART intends to use the express coaches for its 60LX and 275LX (Limited Express) routes – which serve Tampa International Airport. While the timeframe for the start of revenue service under HART’s umbrella is not yet definitively known at the moment – the agency is looking to have them in service by January of 2019. While it does take time for the transfer process to occur – including decommissioning of the buses by SCAT, it is currently not known if the buses will be donning temporary wrapping and placed into service as soon as October, 2018, or if the buses will be sent off-site for repainting beforehand.


Upcoming website changes

As part of my broader website updating efforts, both the SCAT and HART fleet pages will be redesigned and will also reflect the transfer. In fact, I’ve already designed a draft post behind the scenes to reflect the addition of the coach buses to the HART fleet. On the SCAT page, the placeholder for the coach buses will remain intact – along with photos of the buses while they were in service with them, but I will also be directing my readers to visit the HART fleet page to see new photos of the buses in action with the latter.


Sources

Information used to put this post together was compiled from the following:


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And one final note…

I’ve been presented with the opportunity to help WordPress test a new editing format. While I like the features, I think the new post appearance looks a bit awkward with my current theme. I really like my current site theme and do not wish to change it, so we’ll see where this goes.

(Soon-to-be-former) Sarasota County Area Transit #1106X in North Port.

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.


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Legalese | Disclosures

SCAT April, 2017 Service Changes

Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) will be enacting service changes during the weekend of April 15 and 16. These changes will affect more than half of the SCAT system. Schedules will be posted to the SCAT website soon, and printed schedules will be available on or after April 10, 2017.


  • Route 1: Buses will remain on Apex/Coburn east of I-75 and will no longer travel on E. Sawgrass Rd.
  • Route 1 Sunday: Route will be reconfigured around Cattlemen Transfer Center. Buses will enter the station via Cattlemen Rd/Bahia Vista
  • Route 2: Routing will be reconfigured around SRQ Airport.
  • Routes 5 and 6: Minor time point adjustments will be enacted to improve efficiency.
  • Route 7: The 5:10AM trip will no longer enter Newtown Estates
  • Route 9: Route will extend to Toledo Blade, North Port Emergency Clinic, Shannon Staub Public Library, and Suncoast Technical College. The 5:05AM trip to Venice will be eliminated.
  • Routes 10 and 10 Sunday: Due to the launch of the Siesta Key Breeze trolley, the 10 will be eliminated. Route 11 will continue service into Siesta Key and will see no changes.
  • Route 13: Frequency will reduce to every 2 hours between Venice Train Depot to Venice Island and will remain on US 41 Business. New Route 23 will serve Venice Island.
  • Routes 14 and 14 Sunday: Minor scheduling adjustments will be made to improve efficiency. A late-evening partial trip will also be added.
  • Route 15: Route will be reconfigured from the Sarasota Pavilion Transfer Center; via Gateway and Stickney Pt. Rd and also around SRQ Airport.
  • Route 16: Frequency will reduce to every 2 hours. The segment on East Dearborn St./Pine St will be eliminated. Buses will instead travel to Englewood Hospital from S.R. 776, McCall Rd., and Pine St. via Merchants Crossing Shopping Plaza.
  • Routes 18 and 18 Sunday (and the MCAT Longboat Key Trolley): Due to the launch of the new MCAT-operated Longboat Key Shuttle, the existing Longboat Key Trolley service will be eliminated. Please visit the MCAT website to learn more about the new reservation-based shuttle service. SCAT will continue to operate a revised Route 18 that will terminate at Bay Isles.
  • Route 23 (NEW): Venice Circulator: This route will operate as a one-way loop from Venice Train Depot to Venice Beach, Venice Community Center, Venice Shopping Plaza on Golf Dr. and Guild St. before returning to the Venice Train Depot.
  • Route 26 (NEW): Englewood Beaches: This route will travel from Englewood Hospital to Old Englewood Village on West Dearborn St. via Englewood Beach.
  • Route 28: Route will end at North Port City Hall. Riders traveling to East Price Blvd. and Toledo Blade Blvd. should transfer at North Port City Hall Park and Ride.
  • Route 30: Route will be reconfigured around SRQ Airport, and the last trip at 10:25 p.m. from UTC to Lakewood Ranch will be eliminated.
  • Seasonal Route 33: Route will be discontinued for season and service will resume in November 2017.
  • Route 99: The final trip from SRQ Airport to Downtown Sarasota, will be adjusted to depart at 10:25pm instead of 10:00pm to allow for connections from the last Route 30 trip from the University Town Center (UTC) area.
  • Route 215 Sunday: Route will be reconfigured around SRQ Airport.
  • Route 1713 Sunday: Time points will be adjusted on the last trip of the evening.
  • Route 100X: Route will be revised to only operate Monday through Friday (due to ultra low Saturday ridership). Service to the Laurel Industrial Center will be reduced to only a select couple of trips.

Website Updates

The SCAT Transit Routes Page on the Global Transit Guidebook will be updated soon.


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Legalese | Disclosures

SCAT April 2016 Service Changes

SCAT April 2016 Service Changes 1

These changes took effect on 4/16/16.

Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) enacted service changes on Friday, April 16, 2016. These changes affect numerous routes throughout Sarasota County, including all three express routes.

Probably the biggest change is the merger of Routes 20, 28, and 29 in North Port. These circulator routes were notorious for duplication of service and it makes much more sense to have only one circulator in the area as opposed to three. Major points of interest will be served by the new Route 28, and Route 9 was extended over to the North Port City Hall via Cocoplum, Sumter Blvd, and Price Blvd.

Routes 80X, 90X, and 100X all saw scheduling changes to better serve customers who are needing to get to major employment centers at specific times.

Route 10 will have a seasonal adjustment; bus will NOT travel east of the Westfield Southgate Mall during the late spring and summer months. Please view the revised schedule for details.

Further details about the above changes, as well as changes to other routes, can be viewed in the flyer below. I will be updating my SCAT Transit Routes page to reflect these changes.

Credit: Sarasota County Government.
Credit: Sarasota County Government.

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Legalese | Disclosures

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

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.


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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).


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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

No New Funding (equals) Cutting existing service to accommodate new service

A SCAT bus awaits departure from the downtown Sarasota transfer center. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
A SCAT bus awaits departure from the downtown Sarasota transfer center. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.

Over the past several years, Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) has seen a steady increase in ridership. Some areas in fact, are warranting the need to new bus service, and SCAT would like to be able to service new areas where the demand for transit is needed. However, in this day and age where keeping a sound budget is more important than ever before, and external funding sources are very limited, bringing in new transit service now often means sacrificing existing services in order to balance out an agency’s budget.

Although pulling back under-performing services and routes is nothing new, it is something that must be faced even more often than ever before due to the recent recession. SCAT’s late-night service, which has some routes running past 10:00pm has not seen the ridership levels that it had hoped for when such services were first introduced a few years ago. At the same time, demand along the University Pkwy corridor has grown, especially the area towards Lakewood Ranch. SCAT would like to bring forth new services to the northeastern side of Sarasota County, but has had no funds to be able to do so.

Now, SCAT has been granted with federal grant of $529,021 dollars to help start the new University Loop service, to be given the route number of 30. This new route is aimed at relieving congestion along University Pkwy, while providing a direct connection between Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. Route 30 would operate from 6:00am until 10:00pm, Monday through Saturday, with 60-minute headways.

Here’s the catch, like most federal grants, a local match amount is required. With SCAT not wanting to dip into reserve funds, it instead examined eliminating under-performing routes and trips. With the cuts; four bus routes that currently run until 12-midnight will have their end-times rolled back to roughly 10:00pm. Additionally, five under-utilized trips along Route 90X, and one under-utilized trip along Route 100X will be eliminated. Both Routes 90X and 100X connect North Port to downtown Sarasota, with Route 90X making a deviation to Venice, while Route 100X does not.

All of the above changes will take effect in July of 2014.

HARTride 2012

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