Underhill: Cut ECAT Routes To Fund Bridge Repair, Possibly Lower Gas Tax

February 1, 2018

Escambia County Commissioner Doug Underhill intends to present an idea to his fellow commissioners to cut ECAT routes to fund repairs on failing bridges and possibly cut a gas tax.

Underhill told NorthEscambia.com that eliminating the eight lower performing ECAT public transportation routes would save about $4 million dollars. He will propose using that $4 million for bridge repair, or using $2 million for bridges and rolling back the 4-cent mass transit gas tax to 2-cents.

Each of eight lower performing ECAT routes cost between $300,000 to $700,000 to operate, Underhill said.

According to information provided by the commissioner, the eight lowest performing routes, listed with the number of riders per hour, are:

Route — 41 East Pensacola Heights 1
Route 57 — NATTC/Corry/Downtown 6
Route 8 – Downtown/VA Clinic/Blue Angel 7
Route 59x– NAS/Cordova 8
Route 60 — Century 5 (also stops in Molino and Cantonment)
Route 63 — Michigan/Airport 8
Route 64 — Beach Jumper 4
Route 59A — NAS/Airport 1

The 4-cent gas tax for mass transit went into effect on January 1, 2014.

Courtesy photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.


34 Responses to “Underhill: Cut ECAT Routes To Fund Bridge Repair, Possibly Lower Gas Tax”

  1. J Moran on July 1st, 2018 1:57 pm

    I should edit my last comment. It should’ve said the Century bus rides 3 times a day, not 1. Thank you.

  2. J Moran on July 1st, 2018 1:52 pm

    I lived in Pensacola for 12 years and never had the need/urge to use the city buses. To me a city bus was that “big thing slowing down traffic.” Then, two months ago I was involved in a car accident that destroyed my car. So, while dealing with insurance companies I HAD to rely on buses to get me around, instead of paying Uber or Taxis. The first thing I notice is that it is fun, meeting unique and colorful people, and riding the different routes takes you places you have not seen before, beautiful and interesting places. Then, it is affordable, $1.75 will let you ride for two hours, changing buses as you go. The routes are always a short distance to the places you are going to. The only bad thing about it is TIME. You need time to go everywhere, and sometimes you have to wait a while to get in the bus you want. For anyone with enough time in their hands, buses is a great way to go. The schedules and routes seem complicated, but it truly isn’t. Once you’ve done them a few times, you remember them. I think EVERYONE should venture one day and ride the bus. It’s thrilling, really. About this article, the Century bus rides once a day… how can it cost $300,000-$700,000 dollars to run? Also, people do NOT care if they pay $.04 or $.02 in gas taxes. People aren’t that petty. My opinion.

  3. River Smith on February 3rd, 2018 4:54 pm

    I ride the bus. I have noticed that some busses drive into neighborhoods that no one even gets on Or off. Why cant those routes be cut & only the basic routes around those neighborhoods? (Wingfoot Way) ( Lepley. rd) Also I would like to have a bus to only run on 9 Mile Rd.(Beulah to Davis) The bus that drives on Pine forrest rd to also go to 9 mile rd. We need to keep the Michigan & Airport route.
    You can cut the Century & Beach Jumper. (the trolley can pick us up downtown & carry us to the beach)
    We need the bus, PLEASE!
    Medicaid/Medicare has transportation to carry people to & from doctor appointments. (AJ’s service)

  4. ECAT funding question on February 2nd, 2018 7:32 pm

    1) How was a gas tax passed without citizens?
    2) Like the Fire fee? I still wonder if that is legal.
    3) I thought federal grants subsidized ECAT
    4) We can go into AL and buy gas. Let the tourists fund this.
    5) If poor people don’t have cars they won’t care about the gas tax
    6) You are not winning up here Underhill
    7) We are not as stupid as you think
    8) Just maybe quieter than you online.
    9) Can still see an opinion stated as fact–is an opinion.
    10) Mass transportation cuts down on the need for some infrastructure.
    11) You’re a moron
    12) You don’t always get the last word

  5. Doug Underhill on February 2nd, 2018 3:19 pm

    The busses run nearly empty quite often. The gas tax was passed on the citizens without their approval. Infrastructure, especially in North County, is desperately in need of repair, maintenance and funding. Four of the 8 underperforming routes are in my own district and I am seeking to eliminate those too. It is not the government’s job to give everyone a ride to wherever they want to go. All handicapped people have access to paratransit, an on demand, door-to-door service. These are all facts that directly refute most of the points made in these comments.

  6. Henry Coe on February 2nd, 2018 2:50 am

    As for the gas tax, lots of folks drive through Escambia County and leave us 4 cents a gallon when they buy our gas. If you want to lower a tax my vote is for lowering the Property Tax while leaving the gas tax as is.
    I don’t know much about the buses but I know or county government is on the south end of the county and we need to provide a way for non drivers to access it, like public transportation.

  7. Citizen on February 1st, 2018 9:14 pm

    Thank you to Mayor Hawkins for sitting through the nine mile discussion and for Barry talking about this. Watching you on ECTV right now!!!!! It needs to go all the way to the state line. I’ll get on the bus. Let us know when. Don’t let Underhill buffalo you.

  8. Pencil on February 1st, 2018 7:25 pm

    Its hilarious and shameful that low performing ECAT routes are being targeted particularly Route 60 when there is a proposal molding on someone’s desk in the county to increase ridership by moving the Hwy 95A stop from the side of the road to the Molino Community Complex!

    The Tax Collector, Library, Property Appraiser’s Office, Headstart, Museum & Historical Society are some of the busiest places in our small town day in and day out. It only makes sense that the bus stop located between the complex and the First Stop store be moved to the complex ASAP.

    Pick people up and drop them off where there’s activity and safety, not where you have to walk along the road with small kids!

  9. Reda.S on February 1st, 2018 6:53 pm

    I always hoped for a bus in Beulah it would have been nice. Maybe it could have cut down on some of the traffic.. And the kids would have away out to do something with theirselves in the summer. I think the problem is the people who really want the bus have no say. Everyone complains but it is very good when people who are not able to drive can still feel independent enough to go to the store and Dr. Without asking or even begging for rides. I have a car and drive everyday but I would like to ride the bus sometimes just so I could give my car a break.

  10. Khrista molette on February 1st, 2018 6:35 pm

    I think that the routes needs to stay in because some people still need the ones is been cut but just run the bus ever 2 hours and not ever hour

  11. Big red on February 1st, 2018 5:26 pm

    Y’all need to quit complaining. If you really wanted to see change in Escambia County vote new people into the county commissions seats. We need new ideas, new minds, and people with visions to improve life here. Not the same old blood that has interest in what will be possible kickbacks to them. That is the only way this county will see change. Just wait and see what else will come up dealing with these people. I promise you it will blow your mind.

  12. DAGB on February 1st, 2018 5:15 pm

    It’s bull that any tax is collected for ECAT. Those riding should be the ones paying for it. Not enough money to run , then shut it down. Aside from that Underhill has his own agenda or should I say he is on the end of the strings like a puppet for someone, you can see that with him and the Sheriff. I suggest do a public records request and see how much the County sank into the old Brownsville church hole so Luman May had a place for his community . Sure don’t look like the other community centers in the County. It’s comes down to the entire commission is a joke, no leadership ability , no clue how to be good stewards of the citizens money. I live in the North End but guarantee the bus route to Century is a waste of OUR money.

  13. Chknwngs on February 1st, 2018 5:15 pm

    Redo the math and only divided by the number of hours the route runs then the number of Riders on the century route will multiply. Also you need to look at how much this Advantage Transportation funds you will lose when you quit service and 50% of the county. There are lots of grants that subsidize this bus service also

  14. M in Bratt on February 1st, 2018 4:11 pm

    Let’s go one more step; Shut ECAT down altogether. I resent it so badly that I have not bought gas in Escambia County Fl. unless I had to since the 4c tax was implemented. The commission should also consider shutting down the money pit civic center. We are subsidizing keeping the doors open on that albatross to the tune of about 1.5 mil a year. Jurisdictions all over the country have shuttered their arenas because they cannot afford to operate and maintain them, Memphis and Mobile being two of them. Let’s take a page out of Gov. Scott’s book, and start cutting back instead of looking for wells to throw money down.

  15. Nod on February 1st, 2018 3:59 pm

    John, does this also mean social security, Medicare, the military and all government programs including all governments, federal state and local. What a wonderful idea.

  16. Nod on February 1st, 2018 3:56 pm

    A lot of people that ride the bus are handicapped in one way or another, including disabled veterans that need to get to the value clinic. They need to get around to go to work or to the doctor etc. Put yourself in their place and see how blessed you are. Shame on the ones that want the bus routes stopped.

  17. Citizen on February 1st, 2018 3:11 pm

    You got that about right..except Robinson vowed his discretionary money. But Underhill has supported the Beach Congestion $$$$$$$$ also. Threatens ad volorem raise…so what…raise it.

  18. Citizen on February 1st, 2018 3:03 pm

    Century needs that route. There is no court house nor DMV nor hospital nor medical testing labs and such. If a citizen gets jury duty they need a way to the court house. They may have to appear at times. They may need a way to visit some one in the hospital.
    The mayor and council need to pay attention and make your collective voices heard. Do not cut ECAT route to Century nor allow funds from the general fund to be allowed to be spent on tourists. The bed tax can be used for that industry.

    Use funds to repair bridges and roads in the Northern County that were approved as a priority years ago.

    Steven Barry stand up for your district.please.

    Goto myescambia.com and watch these in action on ECTV.

  19. db on February 1st, 2018 12:04 pm

    It was not that long ago, they implemented a gas tax increase to fund ecat, then like magic, ecat got the free wifi, what a joke and scam.
    I’m pretty tired of subsiding transportation for others, among other things.

  20. just listening on February 1st, 2018 11:16 am

    My check book tells me if I cant’ afford it—I JUST CAN’T BUY IT. Everyone should live within their means. That should also be the government. Not doing so is the reason we have a deficit. Some folk get caught up in living ahead of their pay check using CREDIT. We all have gotten caught in this circle and sometimes it’s hard to pay ourselves of it. I know the government lives on projected income (taxes) which is about the only way of operating. Cutting this to pay for that is worth looking into but our elected should be looking out for their electors and not overburden them and live within their means. just saying

  21. Grand Locust on February 1st, 2018 11:09 am

    Once again a commissioner is grand standing while the North end of the County loses something. How about this unique idea…..Do an assessment of the need for funds to repair and replace bridges in the entire county and implement a gas tax for what they are suppose to do….fix our roads and bridges. When a tourist fills their car up on Pensacola Beach, they will help pay for bridges in the North end of the County instead of everybody on the North end paying for improvements to Pensacola Beach while our bridges fall apart and our bus routes are cut.

  22. Sara on February 1st, 2018 10:09 am

    So, Century once again gets the but, when they are the most needful in Escambia county. First they shut down the Hope and Health clinic for people in need of health care, but have no insurance. Now they want to cut the single bus route from Century to Pensacola. Its a crying shame that kids without transportation to college. Also, hardworking people with jobs in Pensacola will probably lose their jobs. Nobody seems to stand up for Century.

  23. Concerned on February 1st, 2018 9:52 am

    There are people that have no transportation in Century, Cantonment and Molino that need this. Like they said it does not run every hour.

  24. Willis on February 1st, 2018 9:32 am

    Old Underhill is not the only one who thinks ECAT might be a bit much in some areas.

  25. Gene on February 1st, 2018 9:01 am

    Why do they not use smaller vans on all these routes?

    Van a LOT cheaper to purchase and to operate.

    even can have lifts for handicapped. .

  26. Mr. Metoo on February 1st, 2018 8:48 am

    Good idea John.Not. Don’t stop there.Fire Service, Sheriff Department, Library,Roads,Schools and anything tax payers fund should be cut.They don’t fund themselves.

  27. William on February 1st, 2018 8:23 am

    >>I understand that the 4 cents goes into a descretionnary fund anyway and is not used for ecat at all.

    No…the full 4-cents is allocated to mass transit.

  28. Frankie Lewis on February 1st, 2018 7:37 am

    I understand that the 4 cents goes into a descretionnary fund anyway and is not used for ecat at all.

  29. Anne on February 1st, 2018 6:48 am

    Old Underhill sure has a burr under his saddle for ECAT. Wonder what is the real underlying reason for that?
    Isn’t he spending some of his Discretionary Fund for District 2 over on the beach to use for the “Roundabouts” ?
    On 6/23/17 Mr. Underhill was quoted as saying:
    “Commission Chairman Doug Underhill said he also supported the plan and thought Pensacola Beach access was part of a backbone of infrastructure across the county. He also said funding should go beyond each commissioner’s individual district.”
    Sounds like a REPRESENTATIVE for the non-Pensacola Beach folks, eh, No?
    Rest of the story is
    Escambia County commissioners voted Thursday evening to commit $10 million to an estimated $20 million project to build roundabouts and pedestrian tunnels and expand parking on Pensacola Beach.


  30. john on February 1st, 2018 6:18 am

    If a program can’t pay for itself it needs to be cut.

  31. Mr. Metoo on February 1st, 2018 6:06 am

    I am sure Mr Underhill has a car. The misleading part is the route to Century doesn’t run every hour. How about using smaller vans to run some of the routes and leave the gas tax alone. If 4 cents on gas breaks the bank then you have the right to not buy gas.The price of has goes up over 20 cents in one week and had nothing to do with the tax. We still bought gas. So if Mr Pay My Lawsuit is chasing votes he needs start somewhere else..like selling empty county land in the city. Just saying.

  32. Taxpayer on February 1st, 2018 5:29 am

    For those who have a smart phone, ECAT has free Wi-Fi on the buses and an app that tells you when the bus is coming. I wonder how much that costs and if they would consider cutting that as well. I do not ride the bus. I think the riders should pay for amenities such as this and not me with a gas tax.

  33. Dan on February 1st, 2018 4:20 am

    These commissioners what a joke raise our gas tax to fund e cat then they say basically that it was not needed in the first place because nobody uses it in the meantime the north end gets nothing for there New has tax exempt the only e cat route taken away. And I have a question how does all the bridges in Escambia County pass inspection year after year and then all of a sudden can’t any of the pass I would like to the Maintenance records or the records of who done the bridge inspections

  34. Tom on February 1st, 2018 3:25 am

    So cut the only Century route? They can keep my 2 pennies plus more. For those without transportation or trying to afford a car this service seems important. Some cuts are just not worth it.

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