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Vote's final: Routes out, door-to-door buses in

The County Commission voted Tuesday to abandon the fixed-route bus system that was started less than a year ago.

Beginning next month, the two buses that have been carrying passengers between Inverness and Lecanto, and Crystal River and Lecanto, will be used in the county's much more popular door-to-door transportation program.

Ridership in the fixed-route program fell far short of the numbers county staff felt were needed to make the "Rabbit Transit" system viable.

In August, 141 passengers rode the rabbit. The goal had been about 10 times that number.

County Administrator Tony Shoemaker told commissioners that Citrus, because of its size and scattered population, "doesn't lend itself to a mass transit system of this type."

Community Services Director Jane Harling said "we really tried everything we knew" to promote the program.

In other business Tuesday:

A scholarship fund was approved. Sheriff Charles Dean sought permission to use $30,000 in his budget to establish a perpetual college scholarship fund for disadvantaged youth.

The money can be used only at Central Florida Community College. The state is expected to add $20,000 to the fund, Dean said.

The county's $30,000 will come from a fund created by the seizure and sale of assets from drug raids. Dean said it would be a one-time gift.

"This program is intended to lower the high school dropout rate by identifying disadvantaged youth who are at risk of dropping out of school because they have no hope of going to college," Dean said.