Seafood Festival shuttle fails out-of-town visitors

The City of St Augustine, who, after spending hundreds-of-thousands of dollars of public money on transportation studies and consultants, professes to have the answers on mobility — selling north city “satellite parking” with complimentary shuttle service as the solution to traffic congestion during special events.

If today’s fiasco with Elite Transportation Services is what we have to look forward to virtually every weekend from now until the 4th of July, or beyond, residents and visitors are in for a huge disappointment, more traffic congestion, and a public relations nightmare.

The Lions Club of St. Augustine rents Francis Field from the City during the first weekend in March every year; and this year, they are holding the 36th Annual St. Augustine Lions Seafood Festival; billed as one of Northeast Florida’s “premiere events”.

The fundraising event is heavily advertising the “free Park & Ride” shuttle service on sandwich board signs along US-1 North as well as print and Internet display ads. Banners and signs say, “Save time & money in traffic and parking and choose to use the FREE Park & Ride Shuttle!! 11am – 11pm”

St Johns County videographer Jeffrey Marcus Gray contacted out-of-town and out-of-state visitors at two non-city-owned parking lots this morning. Some guests had been waiting for over an hour for a shuttle that is supposed to run every 20-25 minutes.

But before the busses finally arrived, there were tourists departing in frustration — one vowing never to spend a penny in the City of St. Augustine, another couple claiming that the City doesn’t care much about it’s visitors.

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