Small Marty Bus in Martin County


We at the MCTA will leave it to you to decide if this idea is government at its worst or not.

In 2013 the County contracted with a transportation provider to start the Marty bus system.   Ten years later, on March 29, 2023 the Metropolitan Planning Organization held an Open House to see among other things if they should “grow the transit system”.   The MCTA attended because we were incredulous that they were contemplating “growing” something that has never worked to begin with.

We met the Director of Transportation for the County who explained that they don’t track the number of riders, but the number of rides.   MCTA was a bit skeptical since most of the comments directed to our organization refer to only 1 or 2 passengers riding the buses at any given time and many times no one at all.   The director explained that there were in fact 93,562 “unlinked” (no transfers) passenger trips last fiscal year.   We were directed to go to the National Transit Database’s annual reports for other information.  MCTA was also interested to know what the peek hours and most popular stops were here in the County.  We were not given a discernible answer other than “trip generators” are Walmart and the Treasure Coast Mall.

According to the 2021 budget figures, the Marty operating expense per passenger trip is $27.76.  The actual costs reported for 2021 were $3,359,927.  In a nut shell there is no way this system is or will pay for itself.  There is no public commuter system that does.   The argument becomes whether this system is needed in Martin County at all.  MCTA feels as most persons contacting us regarding the issue, that it would be more cost effective to uber these passengers around on the county dime.  For now.

There has been a recent change in the mood of the state legislature. The state populace has been crying out for affordable housing and the legislature has answered them.  With the passage of CS/SB 102 Live Local Act directly overriding our COMP plan and our Board of County Commissioners, Martin County will likely develop the need for a mass transit system in the future.  No doubt there will be delays from law suits, but there will also be victorious developers.   It may take 5 years or more to noticeably change Martin County’s affordable housing map so why not opt out of these “big city” buses in the interim?  Perception may or may not be everything, but in a county that wants to remain small and wants to maintain a “small town feel”, why not employ smaller shuttles?  Less gas and maintenance costs certainly.   Most people wouldn’t notice a van running about the county carrying only one or two people.  They wouldn’t notice their tax dollars coming out the tailpipe.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization wants public feedback.  You can contact them and read more here:

You can read our initial article on MARTY here: