Collier’s public bus system expanding some routes

Collier County’s public bus system is expanding a bit, as of Monday.

And there will be extended hours on some of the routes on Sundays.

Starting Monday, there will be additions to routes. These are:

**Route 9, East Naples-Charlee Estates area, will add one trip a day Mondays through Saturdays.

**Route 2B, East Naples to Coastland Center mall area, will start service an hour earlier.

**Routes 3A and 3B, Golden Gate, will expand to include an additional section of Radio Road.

**Route 8 in Immokalee, will see a reverse route, and stops on Route 8A and 8B will provide service to a new health center.

The public bus system, Collier Area Transit (CAT), initially began service in February 2001 with seven buses traveling five fixed routes, six days per week.

By 2007, CAT had increased its service to 20 buses and 14 fixed routes, including service on Sundays, county officials said in a release.

Ridership increased from about 16,000 passengers to 1 million, county officials said in the release.

Meanwhile, county transportation officials said work is progressing on the new CAT operations center at the intersection of Radio Road and Davis Boulevard. County officials said it is scheduled to open in the near future.

The center will house staff offices, bus storage and dispatch, vehicle repair, fueling and ticket sales.

Major businesses are serviced by CAT routes, including all area hospitals, Coastland Center mall, the Collier County government center, Wal-Marts on Collier Boulevard and on U.S. 41, Kmarts on Golden Gate Parkway and Collier Boulevard/U.S. 41, and many Publix stores.

Also, hotel and hospitality sites are served along the major roads and on Marco Island, as are other places such as fast food franchises, including Burger King and McDonald restaurants.

Route maps are available at area libraries, employment agencies, government office buildings, hospitals, Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce locations and various area businesses and shopping centers.

Route information also can be obtained by logging onto the county’s Web site at www.colliergov.net.

A ride on most CAT routes costs $1.25 and includes a transfer to another CAT route. Reduced fares of 60 cents are available to senior citizens 65 years and older, people with disabilities, and children under 17. Children 5 and younger ride free. All-day CAT passes are $4. Reduced all-day passes are $2 for seniors, children, and the disabled. Monthly full-fare passes are $35 and reduced-fare monthly passes are $17.50.

The Marco Express, which travels a direct route between Immokalee and Marco Island, has a daily fare of $2.50 and $1.20 for senior citizens 65 years and older, people with disabilities and children under 17. Monthly bus passes for Marco Express are $70 or $35 for seniors, children and those who are disabled. The Marco Circulator route is the same $1.25 fare as other regular bus routes.

For more information, call Collier Area Transit at (239) 596-7777.

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