Shrimp Festival attendees will see a change this year in the shuttle service because of a last-minute change in service provider.
Baldwin Regional Area Transit System’s new director Matthew Brown said BRATS would be pulling out of providing shuttle service for all festivals due to a reduction in resources.
“There have been a lot of changes in the last 12 months. Before I took this position, BRATS lost a large contract with ARC which caused a reduction in budget and loss of 25 percent of drivers. The Shrimp Festival has outgrown us as an organization,” he said.
A public hearing for proposed service changes will be held Oct. 14 at 9 a.m. in the Baldwin County Commission BRATS Conference Room at the BRATS office located at 18100 County Road 54 in Robertsdale. Public comments will be allowed. The topic will be the elimination of all festival services after fiscal year 2020.
Over the years, BRATS has provided shuttle service for the Shrimp Festival, Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival, Baldwin County Strawberry Festival and Orange Beach Annual Festival of Arts.
During the Coastal Business Chamber’s First Friday Forum, Shrimp Festival Chairman, Spencer Cade spoke to the large group at the Orange Beach Event Center.
“Our newest challenge was BRATS. On short notice they communicated to us they were unable to provide shuttles for this year’s festival. Like hurricanes weren’t enough, we now had to figure out how to move approximately 18, 000 people to and from the Shrimp Festival. Bring on the Gulf Shores City School system. On short notice Superintend Dr. Matt Akin, Kevin Cochran, Marcus Early and his team, Dolphin Athletic Club, and Gulf Shores Marching Band rallied together to make shuttles happen,” Cade said.
“For a mere five dollars a day, we are offering you the flashback experience of riding a school bus to and from the Shrimp Festival,” Cade said to the laughing crowd.
This year’s shuttle stops will be:
• Pelican Place at Craft Farms in Gulf Shores
• The Wharf in Orange Beach
• Erie H. Meyer Civic Center in Gulf Shores
• Waves Grocery in Gulf Shores
• Rouses Market in Orange Beach
• Gulf State Park Swimming Pavilion in Gulf Shores (Parking at this location is $10)
Shuttles are being provided by Gulf Shores City Schools and will run:
Thursday - 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 4:30 - 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday - 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Wristbands for the shuttle will be available for $5 per day. Children 6 and under may ride for free.
• Water will be available for sale at all shuttle stops. Proceeds for water and shuttle wristbands will benefit the Dolphin Athletic Club and the Gulf Shores Band Booster Club.
• The drop-off location for the East Shuttle will be at the newly-created East Gulf Place Public Beach Access.
• The drop-off location for the North/West Shuttle will be at the corner of West 2nd Street and Beach Boulevard.