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Sarasota Friday, May 21, 2021 1 year ago

Commission approves fare for mobility-on-demand service

The new addition to the Sarasota County Area Transit system will cost $1.25 a ride.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

For the same price as a pack of gum, residents will be able to use the county’s new mobility-on-demand service when it launches in June.

Sitting as the Sarasota County Transportation Authority, county commissioners approved a resolution establishing $1.25 fares for Sarasota County Area Transit’s new service. 

Commissioners in April approved a one-year, $2.3 million contract with River North Transit LLC to provide the services, which will replace many of the county’s fixed bus routes with mobility hubs that will allow riders to access an on-demand service. 

Now, commissioners have decided on fares for the service, which will be effective June 1. 

Staff proposed a fare of $1.25 for riders ages 6 to 79, which mirrors the fare structure on the county’s fixed routes. Children ages 5 and under who are accompanied by a fare-paying rider will ride for free, but must request a trip so the vehicle capacity is properly booked. 

SCAT also proposed a free fare for passengers 80 and above, with a valid form of identification. 

However, the first two weeks of the mobility on-demand service will be free to orient users with its operation.

The new mobility-on-demand service will link county bus service with ride-share companies to take passengers to a trunk-line bus stop, or when it makes more sense, their final destinations. Riders can use the new service immediately or schedule a future ride. By replacing lesser-used bus routes with the service, SCAT expects to eliminate about $4 million in ineffective service.  

Federal requirements direct transit agencies to conduct an equity analysis to ensure there are no disproportionate impacts as a result of the fare. However, SCAT’s consultant Vanasse Hangden said those regulations do not apply to mobility-on-demand services. 

Typically, transit systems have to provide half-fare or discounts for fixed route services. So, a reduced fee from the county’s one-way fare of $1.25 is $0.60. 

However, the reduced price does not apply to the SCAT Trolley, SCAT Plus or the new mobility on demand services. 

The first date of collection of fares for the mobility on demand service will coincide with the resumption of fares which were suspended over the COVID-19 pandemic.

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