South Walton TDC rolls out plans to expand public transport this summer

Walton County

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — If you visited South Walton last summer, you may remember golf carts cluttering the roads as a part of the Tourist Development Committee’s public transportation pilot program. This summer, those golf carts will be replaced by shuttles.

The TDC is expanding it’s Grayton Beach public transport program to shuttles and trolleys. Additionally, it’s hoping to add two new routes.

“What were looking at is an expansion of the north to south transit that we tried out last year in a pilot program. We’re going to get better vehicles for that and we’re also going to have new vehicles on an east-west route,” said David Demarest, TDC public information officer.

The new routes were approved by the TDC Destination Improvement Committee last week. They are set to go before the TDC Council on Feb. 9 and the Board of County Commissioners for final approval on Feb. 28.

“The final goal is going to be to have a good transport system in South Walton; to get people to and from the beach,” Demarest said. “Hopefully they’ll never have to get into their car.”

One of the routes will travel along Scenic Gulf Drive, making the following stops between the Silver Sands Premium Outlets and the Miramar Beach regional beach access:

  • Embassy Suites/Surf Hut
  • 907 Scenic Gulf Dr. beach access
  • Whale’s Tale

The other route will travel along 30A, making the following stops between the Grayton Beach Parking lot on Highway 283 and Eastern Lake Road:

  • Grayton Brewpub
  • Grayton Beach State Park
  • Watercolor
  • Van Ness Butler access
  • Seaside
  • Santa Clara access
  • One Seagrove access

Demarest said the TDC is expecting thousands of riders based on the results from last year’s pilot program..

“Last summer, the north to south route which we rolled out pretty quickly using golf carts, tens of thousands of people rode it,” Demarest said. “It was extremely popular from early in the morning to late at night. In fact, most people were taking advantage of it at night time.”

Each route will run three shuttle buses at an estimated $60,000 tp $85,000 rental rate each for the two-month period. The program will be completely funded by South Walton’s 5% bed tax.

TDC officials estimate the wait time between shuttles to be between 15 and 20 minutes.

The program will run in June and July on:

  • Sunday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. 
  • Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.

The shuttles will be free to ride, handicap accessible and open to all residents and tourists.

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