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Date of Issue: October 01, 2008

MCAT offers driving alternatives for bridge closure

The Manatee County Area Transit will provide Islanders and mainlanders with several alternatives for transportation during the scheduled 45-day closure of the Anna Maria Island Bridge that began Sept. 29.

An MCAT press release said MCAT will have an Island shuttle from the Blake Medical Center transfer station to Coquina Beach operating daily every 30 minutes on the detour route during the bridge closure starting at 6 a.m. until not later than 8 p.m., depending upon traffic conditions.

MCAT route 3 and route 6 customers may transfer to and from the Island shuttle for free, the release said. Otherwise, the transfer fee is $1.25. M-Card transit passes will be available.

Route 3 normally utilizes the AMI Bridge, but will turn around at Perico Bay during the closure period, MCAT said. Route 3 serves Blake Medical Center only on its eastbound trip, the release said.

Persons who want to get to the Island from a location other than Blake, may park at Central Station on Old 301 Boulevard across from the DeSoto Square Mall and ride route 6 to Coquina Beach. The fare is $1.25, and transfers are 25 cents, the release said.

MCAT Manager Ralf Heseler said in the release that the options are a “great opportunity for Manatee County residents to see the value of public transportation. Congestion is what makes public transit an appealing alternative. This will be a wonderful litmus test for the public’s interest in sustaining and growing public transit in Manatee County,” he said.

During the bridge closure, the Island trolley will continue to operate its free service, Heseler has said previously.