Tri-Rail passengers will soon have a dedicated shuttle bus linking Palm Beach International Airport and the train station in downtown West Palm Beach.
About $200,000 for the shuttle was included in a $105 million operating budget approved Friday by the South Florida Regional Transit Authority’s governing board, which oversees Tri Rail.
Plans call for the shuttle to start operating by the end of the summer to coincide with the start of the tourist season.
“It’s something I’ve been pushing for,’’ said Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams, a Tri-Rail proponent and member of the SFRTA board.
“We are the only (South Florida) airport that doesn’t have a direct connection from the station to the airport and it’s sorely needed. People ask me all the time, ‘Isn’t there a more efficient way to get to the airport (from Tri-Rail)?’’
Right now, Tri-Rail passengers can catch the Palm Tran route 44 and 42 buses to PBIA from the West Palm Beach Intermodel Center. But those routes have stops in between the airport and train station.
Miami International Airport links to a Tri-Rail station via the MIA Mover, an elevated train. Fort Lauderdale International Airport has a dedicated Tri-Rail shuttle.
Jerry Allen, PBIA’s deputy director, said there has been talk about a long-range plan for a new Tri-Rail station at Palm Beach County’s Airport Centre just north of Southern Boulevard.
But that would still require bus shuttles to take passengers on the final half-mile journey to the terminal.
For now, he said, the dedicated Tri-Rail shuttle from the Intermodel Center will offer passengers another option.
“It certainly sounds like appositive thing that we will let our passengers know about,’’ Allen said.