Frequently Asked Questions
Riding the Bay Runner:
The Bay Runner’s initial schedule is seven days a week, including holidays, from 8 a.m. to midnight, offering continuous service throughout the day:
- 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. – one trolley, 30 minute frequency
- 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. – two trolleys, 20-30 minute frequency depending on ridership and traffic conditions
- 8 p.m. – Midnight – one trolley, 30 minute frequency.
The Bay Runner trolley is free of charge.
The Bay Runner will operate a fixed route from the end of Main Street at School Avenue, west to US 41where it will then traverse the John Ringling Bridge, drive through St. Armands Circle, and end the westbound leg with stops at the Lido Pavilion and at South Lido Beach. The trolley will not rest at any stop, and it will immediately return on the same route eastbound. The route has been estimated to provide the best and most efficient service. Future routes and stops could be modified if ridership metrics dictate.
The Bay Runner has a number of predetermined pick-up and drop off locations. The stops are located in the most densely and pedestrian heavy areas of Main Street, St. Armands Circle and Lido Pavilion. Stops are about 2-3 blocks apart.
Look for the Bay Runner signs and visit the Route Map for more detail. The Bay Runner also has an App that can show you where the closest trolley is, where the stops are located, and how long before the next trolley arrives. Stop locations may be modified in the future if ridership metrics dictate.
There are many convenient Downtown and Island public parking options available. Visit our Parking Information page to learn more.
The Bay Runner will only stop at approved and designated stops marked by signage.
No eating or drinking is permitted while on board the Bay Runner.
Pets are not allowed. Service animals are allowed.
Yes! We hope the Bay Runner becomes an easy way to enjoy shopping, dining, or beaches in downtown Sarasota, St. Armands Circle, and Lido Key. Shopping bags and modest beach equipment within your seating area is permitted.
The trolley runs every 20-30 minutes depending on time of day. Stops are located on the eastbound side of the road which returns to Downtown. To help find the closest trolley download the Bay Runner App.
The Bay Runner is anticipated to run 20-30 minutes each direction with brief pauses at each stop. As a reminder, the Bay Runner only stops at designated points, so a round trip could be 45-60 minutes depending on ridership and environmental conditions.
As of February 25, 2022, riders of open air trolleys are not subject to wearing masks. The Bay Runner will however require masks IF all of the trolley windows are closed due to inclement weather, and follow guidelines provided by the CDC.
More information is available at:
Pets are not allowed. Service animals are allowed.
Yes. Each trolley is equipped with two (2) wheelchair positions and a lift that extends off the bus onto a sidewalk or platform to transfer the wheelchair on board.
Yes! Each trolley is equipped with two front bicycle racks.
The Bay Runner is a public transit service and is operated by public funding. Unfortunately, the Bay Runner cannot be privately used. It is considered a first come, first served transit shuttle system.
The trolley carries twenty-eight (28) seated passengers. If the ADA wheelchair positions are in use, the capacity is twenty-six (26) seats. Passengers may stand so long as they utilize the handrail straps while the trolley is moving.
The trolleys are gas powered vehicles with a standard truck chassis. Stairs to enter the trolley are toward the front of the vehicle. Seating is forward facing, and the windows are open air. If weather conditions warrant, the plastic rolled window treatments will be lowered to protect riders from the elements.
The Bay Runner genesis came about after the City’s “Sarasota In Motion” program which surveyed the community about transportation needs and objectives. In addition, when the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) decided to build the US41 roundabout at Gulfstream Avenue, the city was interested in mitigating traffic to the barrier islands to improve the flow on and off the island. The City worked closely with the FDOT to receive annual funding that would promote and operate the program for three (3) years. In total, funding came from FDOT, the City of Sarasota Economic Development Fund, the Business Improvement District of St. Armands, and the Downtown Improvement District. If proven successful by reducing traffic and improving economic vitality with public interest, the City will consider continuing the operations.
The Bay Runner is operated by a vendor. The trolley is a product of the City of Sarasota, a development of the City’s “Sarasota in Motion” program, and overseen by the Parking Management & Mobility Division. A public solicitation for qualified private companies to operate the Bay Runner was held. The selected vendor is CPR Medical Transport, who also operate the Siesta Breeze Trolley for Sarasota County.
CPR Medical Transport, operator of the Bay Runner, can be reached by calling 941.220.6284 Local number or toll free 866.212.7771