JTA service to continue in Clay County

Kenneth Detwyler Jr.
Posted 5/23/18

JACKSONVILLE – As Clay County grows, so will its need for more mass transit services.

On May 16, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority held its annual State of the Authority luncheon and …

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JTA service to continue in Clay County

Posted

JACKSONVILLE – As Clay County grows, so will its need for more mass transit services.

On May 16, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority held its annual State of the Authority luncheon and Mobility Momentum Summit which featured guest speakers from across the country speaking about current affairs within the world of public transportation and the future of these services in Duval and surrounding counties.

JTA’s presence in Northeast Florida has continued to grow in recent years as it aims to connect more of the Northeast Florida community to Jacksonville mass transit. In 2012, JTA partnered with the Clay County Board of Commissioners to begin funding deviated flex routes, which enables Clay Transit to provide five bus routes within the county and the ability to connect those riders with JTA services.

The Black Creek Park-n-Ride on County Road 220, is serviced by a JTA bus that travels about 8 miles from the county line and makes a sort of loop to take Clay residents into Downtown Jacksonville for work. On any given day, a JTA bus can be seen making multiple trips from the Argyle area to the Orange Park Mall, so the transportation provider is here.

At the luncheon, plans indicated that JTA is doubling its efforts to become accessible to residents outside of Duval County. One of those initiatives includes an expansion of the First Coast Flyer. This system of buses can connect Clay County riders with 57 miles of JTA service across Northeast Florida, through the Southwest Corridor System. These plans are still in the designing stages and awaiting funding from the Federal Transportation Administration.

According JTA spokesperson, Leigh Ann Rassler, once greenlighted, the First Coast Flyer will be the first Bus Rapid Transit system to run through Clay County and will provide more frequent travel between the county lines than current JTA services.

In addition to First Coast Flyer services, JTA has plans to construct a $57 million-dollar mass transit facility known as the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center. It will connect riders with a wide variety of transit opportunities including fixed-route buses, the Skyway, Ultimate Urban Circulator, Greyhound, MegaBus, ride share and bike share programs. This new facility is expected to become a major hub for public transportation in Northeast Florida once it’s completed in 2020.

Beyond that, there are no other current plans to expand JTA service in Clay County.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to expand,” said Al Rizer, executive director of the Clay County Council on Aging, which operates Clay Transit. “The Oakleaf area has been labeled an area of need, the question would just be of funding. I don’t see them doing much different in Clay County, other than what they’re currently doing.”

As Clay County continues to grow and develop, so will the need for increased public transportation. While JTA’s current initiatives will help Clay County residents, the duty falls on local government to provide the funding necessary to expand future mass transit services.

“We are a regional transportation provider,” said Rassler. “It’s important that we work with our regional partners; with the counties; with the chambers [of commerce] and we provide them with the solutions that they need and meet their needs as well.”

For information on JTA services and future transit projects visit their website: www.jtafla.com

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