FORT MYERS, Fla. — A central hub for Lee County’s transportation has received a face lift.
The Rosa Parks Transportation Center in downtown recently went through a few renovations.
"This is the pulse of our transit system," says Robert Codie, Director of Transit with Lee County. "It connects all of our corridors here in downtown and our business center. This particular facility plays a key role in having people traverse throughout our county.”
In the heart of downtown Fort Myers sits the central hub for transit. On Wednesday, the depot celebrated a special occasion with renovations to expand its operation.
“We added four new berths here at our wonderful flagship location here in downtown Fort Myers," said Codie. "We have two trolley birds that we added on our Henry Street and we added two with an interest to Whitman Way just behind us.”
The renovations are made possible through grant money received from the Florida Department of Transportation. A grant worth $6 million.
It comes at a time when ridership is trending upward.
“This is part of keeping up with that growing population," says Brian Hamman, Lee County Commissioner for District 4. "Expanding our transit facilities, adding more places for the buses to park, adding more connections for people to use. As our population grows, we need to grow our infrastructure.”
During the 2018-2019 year, ridership peaked at about 3.1 million passenger trips. In 2021, a little more than 1.6 million passengers were reported.
So far this year, that number has been a little more than 1.7 million.
"Now as we approach 2023, we’re looking at about 2.2 to 2.3 million passenger trips," said Codie. "The pandemic kind of reduced some of that ridership, but our growth over the past year has grown exponentially.”
And as the outlook on passenger travel continues to flourish so too will plans surrounding Lee County’s transit system.
"The next thing for LeeTran and, really, for all of the county is to continue to keep up with the population growth," said Hamman. "It’s about planning for the future and a potential population of one million people that might live here one day.”
"When you think about any metropolitan community, what do you think about? Transit," said Codie. "Transit plays a key role in it. It’s congestion mitigation. It’s safety, it’s accessibility and it’s affordability so the key is to be the pulse of our community not just today but for years to come.”