Planning And Implementing The First Public Transit System In Charlotte County, FL

In 1996, the Charlotte County-Punta Gorda Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) adopted its first Transit Development Plan (TDP). Three years later, after several rounds of additional public debate, the Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) approved the implementation of the TDP-recommended paratransit system. The proposed “Dial-a-Ride” service would augment the existing transportation disadvantaged (TD) paratransit program. The TD program was funded through Federal Section 5310 and Section 5311 with state TD funds and other coordinated funds such as Medicaid. The Dial-a-Ride program was funded with Section 5307 and state block grant funds. Many debates took place against the TDP proposals. However, the prescribed planning strategies worked, the operational strategies were implemented and the initial problems were overcome. This discussion provides a comparison of planning estimates and forecasts compared to actual outcomes and shows advanced planning techniques that included the establishment of target marketing goals, the formation of a Transit Marketing Work Group (TMWG), and the garnering of public input through focus group meetings, random sample survey and the use of other consensus building techniques to develop the Dial-a-Ride program. Early on the in the planning stages, Charlotte County looked at other successful agencies for direction and used the most compatible approaches to develop a program for Charlotte County. There is no one right way to develop a transit program. Each community is unique. To the south of Charlotte County, Collier County established a fixed-route service, as did neighboring Lee and Sarasota Counties. Martin County, which is often compared to Charlotte because of its size and demographics, established a demand responsive service with a downtown circulator. Charlotte County chose to develop a demand responsive curb-to-curb paratransit service that requires 24-hour advance notice. All of these systems are successful and enjoy broad-based community support. This paper gathers ideas from the Charlotte County experience that may benefit other communities who are establishing a new transit system in a small to medium sized community.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Pagination: 14p
  • Monograph Title: Eighth National Conference on Transportation Planning for Small and Medium-Sized Communities, September 18-20, 2002, Cincinnati, Ohio

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01045209
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 8 2007 2:53PM