HART rolls out repainted buses for local routes amid reporting record ridership levels.

Some of you may have noticed in recent weeks that many of HART’s buses look like they’re literally going to the dogs. Especially in respects to the exterior paint being scratched away in some areas.

Rest assured; the entire fleet is in good hands. In fact, a couple buses rolled out this week with a fresh coat of paint. The blue, navy, and white livery matches the style of the purple, violet, and white livery that is already seen on Commuter Express buses. However, I assume that HART chose the color scheme to better match the buses to the agency’s logo, which is also navy and blue.

The new livery is only a part of the many changes that HART’s fleet of buses are going through at the present time. You may have read the post regarding the installation of GPS and automated annunciation systems, as well as security cameras, on all buses. Well those systems seem to be fully functional since my last ride on the Route 19 in late July. I don’t know how extensive the GPS system operates, but I’m sure we will be seeing real-time message boards at some transfer centers in the not too distant future, so that patrons will be able to know exactly when the next bus departs.

While I’m on the subject of HART, I also want to mention that earlier this month, the board approved the service changes and fare hikes that are slated to go into effect in November. Again, fares are going to increase from $1.50 to $1.75 and some passes are going to be eliminated. For the full list of changes, click this link.

Ooops! Almost forgot, HART posted the second highest ridership levels ever for the month of July. Bus ridership skyrocketed to just over a million riders, and streetcar and paratransit services all saw great ridership levels as well. Read the full report here.

HART proposed service changes – second update

As of the end of July, it seems that HART has approved the proposed array of fare changes and shelved some service changes until next year. What still has me upset is that HART chose to keep the Route 89 in place with no dramatic changes to that route at all.

Like I had posted earlier; Palma Ceia does not need bus service at this time. They are a wealthy neighborhood that still embraces vehicular travel, not so much mass transit. And I believe it is going to stay this way.

With that said, I would also like to mention that the Marion St fare-free zone is going to go away if the proposal is approved. I don’t think the zone has done well, and neither does HART. So they plan to get rid of it for now, with the possibility of bringing it back when conditions allow. Right now, the conditions are not there. Actually, the entire downtown Tampa area would need to be fare free in order for such a concept to work. Tampa’s downtown does not fit the criteria at this time and it will be quite some time before it does.