Post-season demand one key to adjustment
Service changes for the City of Sarasota’s popular Bay Runner open-air trolley will take effect starting June 1, city staff has announced.
The new hours of operation will be as follows:
- 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday.
- 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
The new hours reflect an adjustment to service as the numbers of part-time residents and visitors decline in the summer, a city news release explains. The change also offers riders an opportunity to reach their places of employment prior to 8 a.m., the release adds.
“We want to provide not only the best customer service to the community, but also focus on cost savings during the off season,” City Manager Marlon Brown said in the release, adding, “The Bay Runner has been an incredible success. And we continually encourage utilizing this free and convenient travel option to explore our beautiful city.”
Since its first day of service on March 2, 2022, the Bay Runner has carried nearly 200,000 passengers, the release points out. “This convenient, safe and free service” runs on a fixed route along Main Street through downtown Sarasota, over the Ringling Bridge, around St. Armands Circle, and on to Lido Beach and Ted Sperling Park, the release continues.
A route map is available at www.SarasotaBayRunner.com. A mobile app with real time tracking and arrival information may be downloaded via the Apple App Store and Google Play, the release adds.
The Bay Runner carries a maximum of 28 passengers, it is equipped with a wheelchair boarding lift, and it transports bicycles, the release points out.
The service is operated by CPR Medical Transport, the same company that runs the popular Siesta Key Breeze trolley.
A city trolley and micro-mobility options were identified as a priority for the city on the basis of residents’ comments during the creation of the city’s first transportation master plan, Sarasota in Motion. The City Commission adopted the plan in 2020.
The City Commission partnered with the Downtown Improvement District (DID), the St. Armands Business Improvement District (BID), the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and city staff to launch the trolley service. In addition to city economic development funds and a $1.5 million FDOT grant, the DID and BID each is allocating $50,000 annually toward the expense of the initial three-year program