Sarasota County transit system considers merger - WFLA News Channel 8

Sarasota County transit system considers merger

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SARASOTA COUNTY, FL -

Manatee County's transit system is considering a merger with Sarasota County's bus system.

Nicole Lewis just moved to Manatee County from Philadelphia. It's a slower pace of life down here and in some cases that can be a bad thing.

Lewis said, "I'm used to catching the bus, being from Philadelphia, every two minutes. Here, it's every hour, and you can't go from city to city here."

When commuters like Lewis need to go to Sarasota, there's only one route. Some say it's not convenient.

Lewis said, "Took too long, didn't know how to connect."

Chris Hillfiger takes the bus to Sarasota for work.

"People like me that depend on public transportation could expand their horizons and go farther," said Hillfiger.

"To get to Sarasota, I've got to leave my house about an hour and a half early. When it's only 15 miles," he said. "When you get there, you either gotta walk within the range of their bus terminal or spend more money on their day pass which is more expensive than the one in Manatee."

Now, Manatee County's transit system, called MCAT, is considering a merger with Sarasota's bus system, known as SCAT. 

Each bus system is run by its respective county government and the leaders are looking to see if a merger could better serve the community and save money.

The SCAT Director, Glama Carter, says if a merger were to happen, the transition would be seamless, and resources would be combined.

Carter said, "First of all, we are exploring. This is not a definite."

Scat is currently gauging public opinion.

Carter said, "We would have more than one route that would cross county boundaries without necessarily requiring a transfer."

Lewis said, "I think it would help the working class people who are not driving."

On October 15th, County Commissioners from Manatee and Sarasota will discuss whether a merger is a good option. Commuters like Lewis are already big fans of the idea.

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