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The 76 Flyer Trolley Offers Easy Transportation From the Airport to Downtown Sarasota

Part of Sarasota County Transit's new Breeze rebrand, the trolley is quick, affordable and dare we say enjoyable?

By Lauren Jackson February 20, 2024

Breeze's 76 Flyer trolley interior.

Breeze's 76 Flyer trolley interior.

It’s a chilly February day and Sarasota’s newest transportation offering has just launched. The 76 Flyer is a trolley-style bus that connects Sarasota Bradenton International Airport’s visitors with downtown hotels—and no additional stops in between. Sarasota County Transit calls it a “touring route." I'm thrilled to try the whole loop along with my Sarasota Magazine colleague Kim Doleatto. 

The 76 Flyer is part of a larger rebrand of Sarasota County’s transportation offerings, previously called Sarasota County Area Transit (but better known, rather unfortunately, as SCAT). SCAT, which can also be affiliated with animal fecal droppings, was a long-running joke among Sarasota visitors and residents. In early 2024, the county announced it was renaming the transit system and released its new name: Breeze. While some clever residents might associate Breeze with breaking wind, we can all agree it’s a welcome departure from SCAT.

The 76 Flyer is outfitted with a solid wood interior, bench-style seats and plenty of luggage storage along one of its walls. For the current introductory rate of $1.50 (the rate will change to $2 in March), riders are taken to the Hyatt Regency, Ritz-Carlton, Embassy Suites, Aloft, Art Ovation, Voco and Sarasota Modern hotels. Hotel guests can also catch the trolley outside of their hotels to ride back to the airport for their departing flights. If you don't have exact change, the bus will issue a "change card" with a credit toward future rides.

The trolley departs SRQ every 30 minutes, on the hour and the half-hour. We arrive at the airport five minutes before one of its departures, which requires a quick jog to the ground transportation lot, west of baggage claim. Slightly out of breath, we’re greeted by a friendly driver and two other passengers. We pay with cash, but the trolley (and all Breeze buses) also accepts ride tickets, 30-day passes and the aforementioned change cards.

Sarasota Magazine's Lauren Jackson and Kim Doleatto.

Sarasota Magazine's Lauren Jackson and Kim Doleatto.

We settle in and we’re off.

Despite taking the trolley at 5 p.m., peak downtown rush hour, the ride is quick and easy. The large vehicle even takes the roundabouts surprisingly well. The drive is scenic, passing the Van Wezel, Bayfront Park, Palm Avenue and other downtown staples. I can see why it’s called a “touring route.”

“The intent of the 76 Flyer is to set the stage for a relaxing visit to Sarasota by providing passengers a stress-free transportation option from the airport to their hotel,” says Sarasota County transit director Jane Grogg.

Tracking the 76 Flyer on Breeze's app.

Tracking the 76 Flyer on Breeze's app.

And it is stress-free. That's also thanks, in part, to Breeze’s app, which helps riders plot their routes and follow their desired bus from stop to stop in real-time. Our entire loop lasted 45 minutes. While the last time I took a Sarasota County bus was for a field trip in the fourth grade, given today's enjoyable 76 Flyer ride, I may consider it in the future and will recommend it to visitors.

“I’m excited about the evolution we’re seeing in our local transit system,” Grogg says. “Providing public transportation options that make sense for visitors can help alleviate seasonal traffic congestion and give visitors a stress-free way to get to their hotel.”

The 76 Flyer departs on the hour and half hour from Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. Rates are currently $1.50 and will increase to $2 on March 1. For more information, click here.

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