The Volusia County Council decided to include the 7 p.m. to midnight service for almost $150,000.
Bus service will indeed be coming soon to Tanger Outlets and the Tomoka Town Center, with the majority of Volusia County Council opting to also add night service to the shopping centers.
“I’m disappointed that it took so long to get to this point, but we’re here," Volusia County Councilwoman Heather Post said.
The council was presented with two options for adding Votran service to Tanger at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21. The first option proposed deviating two of the four Route 11 buses currently servicing the Daytona Flea Market to include the newer shopping centers off LPGA Boulevard at no additional cost. The bus would run once every hour from Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and would split the route into Route 11A and 11B, with the latter being the bus route to Tanger.
The second option added night service (from 7 p.m. to midnight) every two hours from the Intermodal Transportation Facility at the Ocean Center at a $147, 840 cost. Both options included Sunday service to be handled by Route 10.
While Post and County Councilman Ben Johnson were leaning toward option 1, since there aren't many existing businesses in Tanger or the Tomoka Town Center that are open until midnight, the rest of the council decided on the second option.
“You’re not going to be able to tell how effective it would be, if you don’t provide people two-way service," County Council Chair Ed Kelley said.
With retail stores closing at 9 p.m. in Tanger, he said people who both shop and work there should have the option of taking the bus back home, especially if they used Votran to get to work in the first place.
Johnson suggested that after six months, they evaluate how many people are riding the bus in the nighttime hours.
“Right now, the ridership probably will not be there and we’ll be voting on failure right off the bat," Johnson said.
Post said that the LPGA area is growing, but that it wouldn't make sense for them to spend money on adding night service now, when the council is slated to re-evaluate all routes in the near future.
“It’s inevitable and we know that we will have to be looking at bus service and assessing and addressing that in the coming years," Post said.
The county is still working on a timeline for when the bus service will be in place.