SARASOTA COUNTY - Sarasota County's public transit system won't be privatized. Not now, anyway.

The Sarasota County Commission on Tuesday unanimously voted to hold a workshop at a later date with residents, industry experts and possibly private vendors to determine how to improve the Sarasota County Area Transit bus system before it determines whether to privatize the costly operation.  SCAT operates 56 routes that cost the county roughly $30 million a year, prompting officials to look for ways to save money.

Transdev Services Inc.  wants to overhaul the local government–funded public transit authorities SCAT and MCAT, into one regional system. Transdev officials on Tuesday promised no worker cuts or pay slashes, adding that the firm would make a profit because it buys power at a discount, can perform accounting in a central corporate office and has new, efficient business technology.

Transdev officials also called the fears of SCAT workers, and the union, "unfounded."