Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Clay County buses: How much do you know?

A Clay County Transportation System bus.
Jeffrey Leeser
A Clay County Transportation System bus.

The JTA is surveying riders and nonriders about the Clay County Transportation System with an eye to improving the service. 

Survey says: Are you aware of JTA's Clay Community Transportation services?

Then the JTA's new community questionnaire on its Clay County bus system goes on to pose eight more queries as the authority seeks to fine-tune service that also carries folks to Jacksonville and Gainesville.

The JTA wants as many potential and current customers as possible to fill out the one-page survey at by Dec. 30. They also want people to attend public workshops, the next set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Fleming Island Public Library at 1895 Town Center Blvd.

When the results of the survey as well as the community workshops are tallied, the authority will use that data to "optimize the transit services" operating now as well as plan for growth, said JTA bus service chief operating officer Charles Frazier.

"We want to maximize ridership to the extent that we can," Frazier said. "We want to make sure people are able to get to work, that they are able to get to medical appointments, that they are able to get to the library, the grocery store, and that's the intent of the study — to maximize the efficiency of the service."

JTA took over Clay County's Community Transportation system in 2019, providing paratransit services as well as bus service to 29 major municipal, medical and residential sites in Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs and elsewhere in the county.

Service is offered 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and it's unavailable on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays. The basic fare is $1 per person, or 50 cents for children 6 or under as well as seniors age 60-plus, those with disabilities and military veterans. Those who use the scheduled pickup service pay $1. All fares are cash only.

The survey and community workshops are part of the authority's five-year Mobility Optimization through Vision and Excellence Plan, Frazier said. One of its strategic initiatives focuses on regional transportation systems.

Those include Baker County's Wildcat Shuttle service to MacClenny and Baldwin and Nassau Express Select between Nassau County and the JTA's regional transportation center in downtown Jacksonville. It also includes Putnam County's The Ride Solution service to Palatka, Green Cove Springs and Orange Park and St. Johns Express Select between the St. Johns County Government Center and the JTA's regional transportation center in Downtown Jacksonville.

Coming from St. Augustine, The Sunshine Bus Company's Purple Line also connects to the JTA's First Coast Flyer Blue Line at Jacksonville's Avenues Mall. The JTA also operates the Clay Regional Express from the Black Creek Park-n-Ride at 2511 County Road 220, and Route 5 from the Orange Park Mall.

Clay County service ridership ranges from 90 to 120 trips per weekday for its door-to-door paratransit service, and up to 70 to 80 riders per weekday on its scheduled Flexline routes.

The survey asks ...

The survey asks simple questions such as whether the community member is aware of the service or has ever seen any Clay bus stop signs or benches. It seeks to know if the survey-taker has used the Clay bus service and how recently. It specifically asks for a satisfaction level, plus if they "believe members of the community should have equal access to public transportation." And it asks for reasons why someone might want to use the system more, such as if it offered weekend services, lower fares or earlier/later hours of operation.

The public workshops give riders and potential users the chance to meet JTA consultants and staff "to help gather input about needs, or wants and desires in the community," especially as travel patterns change after COVID and population grows in Northeast Florida, Frazier said.

The public workshops are at 6 p.m. on the following nights: Dec. 5 at Orange Park Public Library at 2054 Plainfield Ave.; Dec. 8 at Middleburg Public Library at 2245 Aster Ave.; and Dec. 15 at the Tax Collector meeting room at the Clay County Administration Building at 477 Houston St. in Green Cove Springs.

JTA officials hope to boil down comments and suggestions from the survey and community workshops by February or March, including possible route additions, changes in service times or realignments of those that don't have lots of use, Frazier said. Then a final recommendations will be presented to the Clay County Board of Commissioners for possible changes, Frazier said.

The Clay County bus system can also pick up passengers at non-designated spots as schedule allows by calling ahead of time at (904) 284-5977. That shuttle will then drop passengers off at any of the stops along the Red, Blue, Magenta or Green Lines, JTA says.

Flexline service

Blue Line destinations include:

  • Challenge Enterprises.
  • Clay County Courthouse.
  • Clay County Health Department.
  • Fleming Island.
  • Middleburg VA Clinic.
  • Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
  • Orange Park Kennel Club.
  • Orange Park Library.
  • Orange Park Mall.
  • Orange Park Medical Center.
  • Pier Station.
  • St. Johns Landing.
  • St. Johns River State College.

Green Line destinations include:

  • Clayton & Mildred Revels Senior Center.
  • Keystone Heights.
  • Middleburg VA Clinic.
  • Penney Farms.

Magenta Line destinations include:

  • Keystone Heights Senior Center.
  • Gainesville.

Red Line destinations include:

  • Ascension St. Vincent’s.
  • Middleburg Bluff Apartments.
  • Middleburg VA Clinic.
  • Orange Park Library.
  • Orange Park Mall.
  • Orange Park Medical Center.
  • Orange Park Senior Center.
  • Winn-Dixie (Knight Boxx Road).
  • Blanding & County Road 218.
Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years as a radio, television and print reporter in the Jacksonville area, as well as years of broadcast work in the Northeast. You can reach Dan at, (904) 607-2770 or on Twitter at @scanlan_dan.