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If you want enjoy the wealth of opportunities in Sarasota and venture into remote communities, wild beaches, monumental museums and jungle parks, your best choice is to rent a car. Keep in mind that Sarasota is an extensive compound of mainland and islands and public transportation offers a limited service.
Buses only run one scheduled route and trolleys, though efficient, won't take you to every spot. You can take taxis for short rides, but you will spend a fortune if you plan to go from downtown to Venice (the good news is that SCAT has added a new service for Venice).
Your best bet is to rent car right at the airport. Car rentals agencies either Sarasota Brandenton Airport or Tampa International Airport (Tampa Airport car rentals are highly recommended). will offer you the best deals in South Florida.
If you need to take a cab, order them by phone from one of the taxi agencies: Diplomat (tel: 941-355-5155) Green Cab Taxi (941-922-6666 and Yellow Cab (941-955-334).