Bruce Acosta wants to go back to Coconut Point Mall in Estero.
The Golden Gate accountant lost his job three years ago and has been unemployed since. Acosta sold his car last month and has been riding the Collier Area Transit system, which he says costs him about $5,000 less annually than owning a car.
Acosta was one of a few dozen CAT riders who attended an informational meeting at the Collier County Museum Tuesday night about the new LinC route, which will connect the two county systems for the first time.
“For a person who’s unemployed and looking for work, it’s a really good to be able to go to Fort Myers to look for work,” Acosta said. “And I like to go to Coconut Mall, at least I did when I had a car.”
Starting October 6, the new segment will start at Coconut Point Mall, run south to Bernwood Drive then east on Old 41 Road. From there the loop will travel south to Bonita Beach Road and then west to U.S. 41 before turning south and traveling to the Creekside Transfer Center at the southeast corner of U.S. 41 and Immokalee Road in North Naples.
Routes run every 90 minutes daily at six stops for a $1.25 fare.
The LinC (short for Lee Tran in Collier County) segment is part of a public transportation expansion that could soon include two additional routes in the Bonita Springs area. A second route will be established in season that runs from Lovers Key State Park to the east end of Bonita Beach Road. That segment will run between January 12 and April 11 each year.
The total cost for the expansions is $977,890. The Florida Department of Transportation is putting up $411,208 while Lee County will contribute $395,376.
Stacey Revay lives in Bonita Springs and works for the Collier County Health Department. She has been driving her car to the CAT stop on Immokalee, parking her car and then catching the bus to government campus downtown.
“I’ve been waiting on this for a year,” Revay said. “Now I can take the bus from home to work. It will save me $250 a month if I ride it four days.”
Collier transit director Glama Carter met with riders and answered questions about the LinC route. Although Collier County didn’t contribute money directly to the new route, the county is going to purchase a second bus for the route.
“That’s our to contribute to the project,” she said.