Contact:            Jeff Shuler, Lee County Transit (LeeTran)
                          (239) 277-5012 ext. 2223


FORT MYERS, Fla. (December 16, 2002) – Starting Dec. 22, LeeTran will operate bus service on Sundays to Cape Coral and East Fort Myers.

Service on Route 120, which will run from Edison Mall to Coralwood Mall and then to Camelot Isles, via Del Prado and Cape Coral Parkway, begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 6:25 p.m.  This marks the first time Sunday service has been offered in Cape Coral.

Service on Route 100, which runs from downtown Fort Myers to Riverdale, via Palm Beach Boulevard, begins at 8:15 a.m. and ends at 8:10 p.m.  LeeTran also is adding a third bus to Route 140, running from Merchants Crossing to San Carlos Park, via U.S. 41, on Sundays.

“This is really exciting,” said Jeff Shuler, transit marketing manager.  “We believe it’s going to be a welcome addition for many riders.  Getting Sunday service to riders in the Cape is a big step forward.

“The great thing about these service additions is that we were able to get them done without adding any more expense to our bottom line,” Shuler said.  “We trimmed time off of several routes on Saturdays in order to provide Sunday service.”

The changes came about because of the recommendations of an employee team consisting of bus operators and a route supervisor, which was spearheaded by team leader Sharon LaPage.

“All the credit has to go to our Customers & Partners team,” Shuler said.  “They came up with a plan, brought it to management and said we want to do this.”

By studying trends in ridership reports and gathering information from riders, the team identified areas that would benefit the most from service on Sundays, and which routes would affect the fewest riders when service was trimmed from them.

“We then surveyed riders about the proposed changes, and got an overwhelmingly positive response,” Shuler said.  “This is a great thing not only for riders, but for LeeTran as well.  The employee team accomplished a major task by creating a plan, making needed revisions, and coming up with a great end product.”

Lee Tran operates 20 bus routes in Lee County and its cities, as well as a trolley service on Fort Myers Beach.  The system operates 43 buses and eight trolleys, employs 163 people and has an annual budget of $15 million.