Local residents Joe Boney and Greg Herrera discuss transportation ideas with Senior Planner Omar DeLeon with Collier Area Transit (CAT). Submitted photo/Travis Anderson
Collier Area Transit (CAT) officials held a public meeting on Tuesday, July 26 at CareerSource Southwest Florida to gather input from local residents about the availability of public transportation in Immokalee. Omar DeLeon, Senior Planner with CAT, said that the meeting was being held due to an increase in requests from local residents wishing to see additional bus stops added in Immokalee. Some of the changes being proposed include additional stops, adding shelters to existing stops, and improving route times. According to DeLeon, they’ve received several requests asking that stops be added in the area of iTech and Pepper Ranch. Additionally, CAT is looking at the feasibility and need of adding stops along Oil Well Road in the area of Ave Maria and what will be Rural Lands West. With the expansion of Arthex in eastern Collier County, it’s important that additional transportation options be provided for residents and visitors of Collier County. In Immokalee, there are roughly 90 CAT bus stops; however, only 13 of those have shelters. DeLeon mentioned that once CAT officials determine where additional stops will be added, their planners will then take a look at adding shelters in the area of highest demand. CAT officials are also exploring the possibility of constructing a transfer station on North 1st Street close to the Collier County Health Department that would offer the same services that are currently being offered at the transfer station in Naples. In addition to the new shelters and stops, CAT is also considering splitting the two in-town circular routes, routes 22 and 23, to improve their availability across town. Residents wanting to travel from one side of town to the other would then have to transfer busses. But, as DeLeon points out, splitting the loops may offer riders additional options for ride times. CAT currently operates eight loops to and from Naples, Monday through Saturday (Route 28) and two loops to and from Naples on Sunday. Additionally, an express route to Marco Island runs twice per day to and from Immokalee (Route 121). There are no immediate plans to change the number of loops to Naples or Marco Island, but rider input is essential to adding additional loops if needed. As for now, riders can expect that bus services will continue seven days a week from 7am until 7pm. If residents have suggestions about where new stops should be placed or ideas as to where shelters are needed, they are encouraged to contact the CAT office by calling 239-252-7777 or going online to www.colliergov.net/visitors/forms and clicking on “CAT Opinion Form.” For more information about routes, stops, and destinations, riders may visit www.colliergov.net/residents/bus-cat-information.