Want to go somewhere but don’t want to or can’t drive? It’s easy on Longboat Key.
Residents learned their many transportation options at Transportation Awareness Day Jan. 26, at Longboat Island Chapel.
Sponsored by the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce, Aging in Paradise Resource Center and the Longboat Key Foundation, the event hosted representatives from a variety of transportation providers.
“Many people who have to get to their programs, it’s a real struggle, so they don’t go,” Longboat Key Foundation Managing Director Dave Brenner said. “Many of these people love Longboat like I do, but they’re between a rock and a hard place. They can go to these places, they just need to know their options.”
SCAT and MCAT
SCAT (Sarasota County Area Transit) and MCAT (Manatee County Area Transit) work together to provide bus transportation on Longboat Key approximately every hour from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
The most affordable option at Transportation Awareness Day, a single ride fare is $1.25 for both MCAT and SCAT. Those older than 60 pay 75 cents on MCAT and 60 cents on SCAT, and those older than 80 ride for free.
“We can take you as far north as Palmetto and as far south as North Port,” SCAT Chief Executive Rocky Burke said. “You can take it down to St. Armands and do your shopping and go to Lido or, of course, Sarasota.”
Call 861-1234 for SCAT or 749-7116 for MCAT.
SCAT Plus and MCAT Handy Bus
Both SCAT or MCAT offer door-to-door service for those with difficulty riding due to a disability.
SCAT Plus is $2.50 per one-way ride. Origin and destination locations must be booked in advance and can be anywhere in Sarasota County. SCAT Plus operates Monday through Friday and for medical purposes Saturday. Call 861-1234.
MCAT’S Handy Bus costs $2 per one-way ride and is available Monday through Friday. Reservations can be a maximum of two weeks or a minimum of two business days in advance. Call 749-7116.
ITN (Independent Transportation Network) offers door-to-door services.
Membership in ITN is for people 60 and older or the visually impaired.
The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and rides can be booked at any time.
There is a membership fee of $50 per year for a single person or $75 per couple. Cost for each ride is a $2.50 pick-up fee and $1.50 per mile. Tips are not accepted.
“It’s a good, reliable, affordable option for public transportation,” ITN Suncoast Chairman Arthur Lerman said. “It can take you anywhere you want to go from Palmetto to Englewood for anything you want to do, any time of the day, from yoga class to theater to restaurants to appointments. You name it.”
The most expensive but most luxurious option covered at Transportation Awareness Day was the limo.
Longboat Limousine provides services on an hourly rate and fixed prices to and from various places and events and is licensed to operate at local airports or ports.
“Longboat Limo is here to serve your personal needs,” owner Jimmy Seaton said. “We’re not priced like ITM or the bus service, but we provide personal luxury, door-to-door service. Statistically, if you haven’t taken Longboat Limo, you know someone who has.”
The cost of a limo varies based on distance and time, and the company even provides Liquid Limousine Charters on boats.
“I drive by traffic jams on a boat all the time,” Seaton said.
Uber is the only on-demand, non-appointment service featured at Transportation Awareness Day, but if you don’t have a smartphone, you can’t use the service.
If you do have a smartphone, download the Uber application. Once you download it, you will enter in your name, home address and credit card information.
When you’re ready for a ride, the application will use GPS on your phone to determine your location and how long a driver will take to reach you. It will also give you an estimated cost to get to your destination.
Once you finish your ride, the application will charge your credit card. There are no cash transactions.