Florida marketing dollars attract tourists in record numbers

Interesting article published in today’s South Florida Business Journal. 

Written By: Shaun Bevan, Digital Producer- South Florida Business Journal

The millions of dollars spent on marketing the Sunshine State is paying off.
The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association on Friday said the state is enjoying a $79.34 RevPAR (revenue per available room) rate, which is above the national average of $68.69. Growth in revenue is 8.3 percent for Florida in 2013 over 2012 versus 5.4 percent in the U.S.

“These Smith Travel statistics show that more and more visitors are staying in our hotels in recent years, and a direct correlation may be made that by increasing marketing dollars, more tourists are booking area hotels, eating at our restaurants, and enjoying all that Florida has to offer,” said FRLA CEO Carol Dover in a news release. “That is why the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association is strongly advocating for $100 million in tourism and hospitality funding to support our continued efforts in getting heads in beds and butts in seats.”

Florida consistently has led the nation when comparing hotel occupancy rates, average daily room rates (ADR) and RevPAR statistics. RevPAR is calculated by room revenue divided by rooms available. The data compares hotel occupancy rates from 2010-2013 with the national average, which shows Florida consistently in the lead.

Service Animals Are Welcome to Wave N’ Ride!

Many of our loyal riders and social media fans have inquired if their pets are allowed to Wave N’ Ride the Sun Trolley too. The Sun Trolley is a public transportation service that is partially funded by the federal government and therefore the Sun Trolley adheres to federal regulations that permit service animals (only) to board and ride the trolleys.

ImageHere is the applicable language that is published on the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administrations Website 

Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.167(d), transit providers are required to permit service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities in vehicles and facilities. Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities, such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. A transit provider may ask if an animal is a service animal or ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform, but cannot require special ID cards for the animal or ask about the person’s disability. A service animal may not be excluded unless the animal is out of control and the animal’s owner does not take effective action to control it or the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. 

Happy Riding!

The Sun Trolley Team

President Obama’s Budget Proposal Includes $50 Million for Fort Lauderdale’s Wave Streetcar Project

Yesterday, the City of Fort Lauderdale distributed  a media release stating that U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recently announced that President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget includes a recommendation to provide approximately $50 million for Fort Lauderdale’s Wave Streetcar project.
“This is exciting news for the City of Fort Lauderdale and the future of transportation,” stated Patricia Zeiler, Executive Director of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association a/k/a Sun Trolley. “As the transportation plan for Fort Lauderdale continues to be realized, our team looks forward to the future when the Sun Trolley serves as the spokes that connect residents and visitors to the Wave Streetcar.” 
Project Management for the Wave Streetcar
The project is being managed by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), in partnership with the City of Fort Lauderdale, the Downtown Development Authority of Fort Lauderdale (DDA), Broward County, Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (Broward MPO), and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
A Vital Part of Fort Lauderdale’s Citywide Vision
The proposed funding, provided through the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant program, is in addition to an $18 million TIGER grant announced in June 2012, and will provide the remaining federal funds needed to design and construct the 2.7-mile streetcar project in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
“The Wave Streetcar is a vital part of Fort Lauderdale’s Citywide Vision and Strategic Plan and it aligns with our Complete Streets policy, which recently ranked #1 in Florida and #3 in the nation,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler. “The City is extremely grateful to be recommended for the Small Starts grant and the opportunity presented to spur economic growth through a viable, sustainable transportation option such as The Wave. The Wave will increase mobility for everyone, and a federal investment of this magnitude recognizes the community’s support and desire for transportation choices that improve our quality of life. We would like to thank The WaveStreetcar Partnership team for their tireless efforts in securing a total of $68 million in federal funding for this project.”
The Wave project was approved by the County Commission in March 2013 as part of then-Mayor Kristin Jacobs’ “Year of the Neighbor.” A longtime advocate for progressive public transportation, Commissioner Jacobs called The Wave “a gigantic step in public transportation for Broward County. When it comes to rail, it’s not only ridership that is important, but also the long-term economic development that occurs along the corridor.”
“We welcome this federal investment and believe that The Wave transportation system will result in increased economic development, provide commuters with additional transportation choices, and eventually expand to include broader areas of Broward County,” said Broward Mayor and District 8 Commissioner Barbara Sharief. 
The Wave Streetcar project was initiated in 2002 to facilitate long-term economic growth and development, improve mobility, stimulate community connectivity, enhance local transit service, and present permanent, environmentally friendly, sustainable transportation alternatives that reduce carbon emissions, save energy, and reduce roadway congestion.
For more information about The Wave Streetcar, please visit www.wavestreetcar.com or call (954) 463-6574.

Patricia Zeiler Named Nonprofit Leader of the Year at 211 Broward’s 2014 Nonprofit Academy Awards

More than 750 community leaders, supporters and    nonprofit volunteers attended 211 Broward’s  Nonprofit  Academy Awards ceremony which took place on Friday, February 28, 2014 at  the  Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Sun Trolley

(L to R): Patricia Zeiler pictured with Sun Trolley staff members Cynthia Lull (left) and Mary Hogan (right)

A very special congratulations to Patricia  Zeiler, Executive Director of the  Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (Sun Trolley),   who was selected as the 2014 Nonprofit Leader of  the  Year!  Sponsored by  Broward College, this important  award recognizes leaders who work to push their   organizations forward, manage them efficiently and  practice positive collaboration  with many of the 5,800  nonprofits that operate within Broward County.

Patricia would like to recognize her fellow finalists who  were  also nominated for this year’s award: Kim L.  Cavendish, Museum of Discovery, Dr. Steve Ronik,  Henderson Behavioral Health Dennis Stefanacci, ACFRE,  Broward Health Foundation.

“To be in such great company with the other finalists in itself was an honor,” stated Zeiler. “I am just so thankful to 211 Broward, PNC Bank and The Wasie Foundation for bringing the community together to recognize Broward County’s nonprofits  – I will forever remember this day and how grateful I am to be recognized and selected as the 2014 Nonprofit Leader of the Year.”

Sun Trolley

To view all the winners of the 2014 Nonprofit Academy Awards click here to read the  article that ran in the Sun Sentinel on February 28, 2014.

Earlier this month Patricia was also recognized as a “Women in Transportation” by the U.S. Department of Transportation. To view her video please click here.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler and the Fort Lauderdale City Commission will publicly recognize and congratulate Patricia for her accomplishments at the City Commission meeting taking place March 18, 2014 at 6 p.m.

To learn more about the Sun Trolley or to connect with Patricia visit www.suntrolley.com.