Category Archives: Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT)

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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Local Transit News Roundup – May, 2015 Edition

Local Roundup - 2015-05-30

In today’s blog post, I present to you a new way of getting several pieces of transit news across to my readers. I will be publishing periodic newsletters called the Local Transit News Roundup. Unlike my paper.li virtual papers that cover transit news from across the globe, these newsletters will only show transit-related headlines from across Tampa Bay and Hampton Roads. In this inaugural edition, I will cover several topics including; the planned revamp of the HART In-Town Trolley and the result of the recent city council vote in Virginia Beach on light rail.

If you happen to have any story ideas for future editions, or want to comment on the newsletter in general, you can drop me a line via the Contact page. Alternatively, my email address is printed in the left sidebar of the second page.

Accessing the Document

If you’re new to my site, the Microsoft Word file can be accessed and downloaded through Dropbox. Don’t have a Dropbox account? Not a problem! Anyone can access and download this file. Even then, Dropbox provides a free “basic” service for you to upload and share files to.

For Dropbox Mobile App users, you will need to have the Microsoft Office App installed. Select the Local Transit News Roundup document in Dropbox and it should open up for you.

Access the May, 2015 Edition of the Local Transit News Roundup.

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

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

No new funding = Bare-Bones service

As you may have heard; HART and PSTA posted news last week of record ridership during the month of April, which continues to be an amazing trend despite the current state of the economy throughout the Bay Area.

However, I really have to make things clear about the reality of the current transit funding situation, because some people don’t seem to realize that you can’t have expanded transit service without money to fund those services. When I was reading comments on HART and PSTA’s Facebook pages, some people were asking why can’t we get more routes or buses? Again, if there is no funding available, then there is simply no way to get new buses or routes…it’s as simple as that.

Continue reading No new funding = Bare-Bones service