Welcome aboard MCAT!
Page was last updated on 07/08/2019
Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) is the public transit district in Manatee County, Florida, serving the municipality of Bradenton and the county’s gulf coast beaches. MCAT operates a fixed-route local bus system comprising of ten routes, a flex route called the North County ConneXion, a door-to-door paratransit service (the Handy Bus), a beachside trolleybus route (the Anna Maria Island Trolley), and an express trolley shuttle from downtown Bradenton to the Gulf Coast beaches during weekends and holidays (the Beach Express). Because Bradenton is a much smaller municipality, the bus system is also smaller, but no less very important to the citizens of Manatee County.
The remainder of this page will go through a general overview of the MCAT bus system; including the structure by which MCAT bus routes operate on, transit centers and other major bus transfer points, and customer information such as current fares.
System Structure & Transit Centers
The MCAT system is primarily hub-spoke, with centralized hubs to allow for seamless transfers. There are three main transfer hubs within Manatee County, with smaller transfer points throughout the network. Most of MCAT’s routes serve the central portion of the county, with lesser service along the beaches & even lesser service in east county. Low ridership & funding constraints have made it nearly impossible to serve outskirt communities such as Lakewood Ranch.
- MCAT System Map (from rideMCAT.org).
Situated at the northern fringe of Downtown Palmetto, the Palmetto Station serves the needs of Palmetto with three bus loading slots, restrooms, a park-n-ride lot, & a customer service window. The hub currently serves Routes 1 & 13, as well as Route 201 (the North County ConneXion) & Route 203 (the Skyway ConneXion).
Situated within the heart of Downtown Bradenton, this vital transfer hub has five bus loading bays, restrooms, & a customer service window. While there is no on-site park-n-ride lot, affordable metered parking is available at the nearby 12th St W parking garage. The hub also features a public artwork display that encompasses the entire length of the bus loading area. The hub currently serves Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 13, the joint MCAT/Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) operated Route 99, the MCAT Beach Express Trolley (Sundays & Holidays), & MCAT Routes 201 & 203.
Located within a county-owned complex (a former shopping center) along 301 Blvd (former US Hwy 301), just across from the DeSoto Square Mall, the DeSoto Station replaced a former bus transfer point that was situated on the mall’s property. The hub features eight bus loading slots, restrooms, park-n-ride spaces in the main complex lot closest to the terminal building, and a customer service window. The hub currently serves Routes 2, 6, 8, 12, 16, the joint MCAT/SCAT operated Route 99, & MCAT Route 203.
Span of operating service
Except for the Anna Maria Island Trolley, the Beach Express Trolley, & the Skyway ConneXion (Route 203), all MCAT bus routes operate Monday through Saturday. The joint MCAT/SCAT Route 99 also operates Monday through Saturday. Most MCAT bus routes begin between 5:00am & 6:00am, & operate until 6:00pm or 7:00pm.
The Beach Express only operates on Sundays & Holidays with a limited service schedule. Route 203 only operates weekdays with a late AM round trip & an early PM round trip. Individual route schedules can be obtained on the MCAT website.
- MCAT Holiday Schedule (from rideMCAT.org).
Service to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport
The joint MCAT/SCAT operated Route 99 provides frequent, 30-minute, Monday through Saturday service to Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport, while MCAT Route 16 provides more limited service. Customers can take the bus to or from the on-site bus hub by the airport terminal.
For the most up-to-date fare information, please visit the MCAT website.
- Other Notes:
- MCAT is currently NOT PARTICIPATING in the regional Flamingo Fares program. If you are connecting to the SCAT system, you will need to board a SCAT-operated Route 99 trip (the SCAT Route 99 timetable distinguishes between MCAT-operated & SCAT-operated trips). For MCAT customers, MCAT is currently testing the Token Transit App, which can be downloaded to your Apple or Android device.