ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Escambia County Area Transit announced the arrival of three new Gillig buses and building enhancements to the Rosa L. Parks Transit Complex.

The new buses and building enhancements were announced during the “STEP Into Transit” event on Feb. 7.

ECAT also promoted the Student Transit Empowerment Pass, a bus pass that allows youth in grades K-12 to ride the bus for free during the school year.

The county said the three new 2022 Gillig buses are the first buses to be added to the fleet since 2014. Equipped with seated capacity for 23 riders and additional hand straps for riders to safely stand, the county said each bus is Wi-Fi ready, contains automatic passenger counters, and can accommodate two wheelchairs and two bicycles. 

During the event, Escambia County Mass Transit Director Rodriques Kimbrough and District 3 Commissioner and Chairman Lumon May spoke about the future of mass transit and the role ECAT plays in benefitting the community.

“My goal as the mass transit director is to ensure ECAT continues to drive towards excellence,” Kimbrough said. “Escambia County Area Transit had not purchased buses like these in over a decade. Adding these buses to our fleet is vital to myself and the citizens of Escambia County. This is just the beginning of the future of mass transit.”

May said the greatest investment they can make is in human capital.

“I want to thank our entire staff for their hard work and commitment to bettering our community,” May said. “The greatest investment we can make is in human capital. Today is another investment in human capital; by offering the STEP pass and new buses, we are investing in our children. Our children are the future and the greatest resource we have. By doing this, we ensure that every child gets a chance to get to a safe destination.”

Escambia County Area Transit bus system provides service to residents in Escambia County. Established in 1950, ECAT currently has more than 1,000 stops covering 285 miles of routes with over 1.5 million annual passenger trips.