New tram service proposed for Bradenton Beach

Local News

BRADENTON BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – A new tram service is being planned to take beachgoers across Anna Maria Island.

But officials say its just the start of a major transit overhaul.

When you have beautiful views like what you’ll find at Anna Maria Island, everyone is going to want to see it, and for the locals, that’s a problem.

“[Traffic is] nerve-wracking, its stressful actually. Its very stressful because you get off work, working 8-10 hours and then you have to deal with bumper to bumper, its horrible and sometimes its not safe,” said island resident Beverly Shoemaker-Fay.

“You just gotta take the good with the bad. Its pretty frustrating but it is what it is,” said island resident Joel Fay.

A parking garage is not a solution. Officials say Bradenton Beach’s comprehensive plan won’t allow for it.

So city and county leaders are moving forward with a jitney tram service.

“We wanted to look at something that would be environmentally friendly, we want to look at something we could use these dollars and benefit residents, use these tax dollars and benefit tourists,” said Bradenton Beach city attorney Ricinda Perry.

This micro transit service, funded by taxpayer dollars, would ferry visitors between Cortez Beach and businesses along Historic Bridge Street.

“It just adds to the people’s experience, when you make this long trip out to the beach, you’re not just going to the beach, you can go shopping, you can go dining,” said Bradenton Beach Commissioner Jake Spooner.

But this is just the beginning. Island officials have plans in the works for a water taxi.

The jitney trams will help to ferry passengers from the boat to the beach.

The Florida Department of Transportation is proposing big plans for the region, including road improvements and other possible services like an urban cable car service.

Officials see this jitney tram as a way to kick start new environmentally friendly ways to address congestion.

“This is not the be all end all solution, but it is a step toward that solution,” said Perry.

The jitney tram service is in the planning stages and a boat for the proposed water taxi service is ready in Fort Lauderdale, so you can expect these new services sometime in the near future.

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