County, Boca, give Palm Tran Bus 94 green light to keep operating
By Dale M. King
BOCA RATON – Some people wonder about the popularity of bus travel in Palm Beach County.
They only have to look at Palm Tran Route 94 in Boca Raton to see a major success story.
The buses on the route that operates between the Boca Raton Tri-Rail Station, Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach State College and Federal Highway carries 1,000 riders a day, said County Commissioner Steven Abrams.
He recently announced approval of an agreement between the county and the city of Boca Raton “to continue and enhance one of the county’s busiest Palm Tran bus routes, Route 94. This route provides service for approximately 1,000 passengers a day, an increase of almost 50 percent from last year.”
The funding for this bus route, originally provided by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFTRA), was due to expire in early 2011, Abrams said, “and Route 94 was in jeopardy of being reduced.”
“Due to the high level of ridership and the fact that it serves students all across the region, it was important that we keep this bus moving,” said Abrams, who also serves on SFTRA.
Together, he said, the county and the city successfully obtained funding assistance from the federal government (Job Access Reverse Commute grant of $170,000 per year for three years). Additionally, funding is being provided by both the county and the city ($164,331 per year each).
They said they took action before the money ran out so there would be no disruption of service.
“This route is critical, not only for our students, but all of our residents, as we are able to take car trips off our busy streets,” said Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel, who worked with Commissioner Abrams to keep the popular route running.
Route 94 buses run every 15 minutes in the morning from 6:00 am until 9:45 am. In the afternoon they run every 20 minutes from 1:45 pm until 9:00 pm, which is when the service ends. During off-peak hours (9:45 am – 1:45 pm), the route operates on a 40-minute schedule.
City Manager Leif Ahnell said enhanced Route 94 service began in 2008. “Since its inception, ridership has increased 98 percent.”