New Year, New Website for HART!

What a year it was for HART in 2008: numerous cutbacks and shuffling of routes, a tighter budget to work with, and continuous ridership records. With 2009 just hours away, HART decided to unveil it’s brand new website on December 31, 2008.

Here are just some of the new treats available…

  • Schedules are now separated by local, express, trolley, as well as Weekday, Saturday, and Sunday, so you can better find the correct route and service day.
  • Trip Planner Interface is now on the bottom of the page, so you don’t have to travel too far into the site to find where you need to go, when its convenient for you.
  • Coming Soon! – RSS Feeds: Stay on top of route detours, special events, and other rider alerts with RSS feeds from HART.
  • Better ways to keep in touch with HART’s customer service center.

And there’s much more! Check it out at goHART.org

Happy Holidays to all

I want to wish all my visitors a safe and wonderful holiday. As we transition into the new year, please keep in mind to be safe out on the roads or in the skies, whatever mode of transport you choose to get there this season. Also, keep in mind that most public transit providers will not be offering service on Christmas Day. However, PSTA will remain on a Sunday schedule throughout the day.

On Friday, December 26, HART will remain on a Saturday-level schedule. However, extra duty and extra buses will run on the following routes to alleviate congestion and provide flexibility for travel: 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 12, and 30.

On New Year’s Day, all transit providers will also not operate. However, PSTA will remain on a Sunday schedule, and SCAT/MCAT’s Longboat Trolley will run all day.

Once again, I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful and safe holiday. I will not be posting here or on my sister blog (The Creativity Corner by HR2012) until December 29. However, on December 29, I will be making several updates to the transit blog, including sketches for my Green and Blue Line LRT routes.

TBARTA names new officers, Quarles returning as chair

TBARTA names new officers with Shelton Quarles returning as chair
Tampa Bay Business Journal – by Larry Halstead Staff Writer

New officers were elected at the December board meeting of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority.

Returning as chairman is Shelton Quarles, a gubernatorial appointee.

Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard was elected vice chairman, Ann Hildebrand, Pasco County commissioner, was elected secretary and Hugh McGuire, a gubernatorial appointee, was elected treasurer.

In other news, TBARTA approved a vision statement that supports Central Florida’s efforts to develop a light rail system and discussed potential funding mechanisms, including adding a penny of sales tax in seven counties but not necessarily all at once.

The Tampa Bay Partnership recently outlined its support for the Central Florida Commuter Rail Project both as a standalone system and for its importance to the TBARTA. In a position statement, the Partnership endorsed the commuter rail, an integrated logistics center, and developing and connecting city centers through multimodal transportation.

TBARTA is tasked with providing and developing a regional multimodal transportation system that connects seven counties in the Tampa Bay area. The master plan is due to be presented to the public in February.

Story Link

PSTA to obtain new hybrid buses

As if PSTA already has awesome buses (both Gilligs and New Flyers), things are about to get even better! According to this PDF newsletter from a few months back, PSTA is slated to purchase 10 new hybrid buses. Three of these buses will be of the BRT style, similar to SCAT’s hybrid fleet, while the remaining seven buses will be trolley style, to run on the Suncoast Beach Trolley Line. You can begin seeing these buses in the PSTA fleet next year.

Longboat Trolley Holiday Service Change, SCAT BRT project information

Though the Longboat Trolley runs through most of the year, a change has been made to the holiday service schedule. Thanksgiving and Christmas Day will be the only days of the year that the Longboat Trolley does NOT operate.

More information…

Speaking of SCAT, the agency now has its BRT project information online at their website.

Route 7 on possible detour (Dec 15 through Dec 19)

From of Monday, December 15, 2008 through Friday, December 19, 2008, Tampa Bay Boulevard will be closed in the vicinity of Raymond James Stadium for a resurfacing project.

Though an official notice by HART has yet to be posted, there is a chance that Route 7 will be detoured from its regular route via MLK Boulevard. It is also unclear if Lois Ave south of MLK will be served.

HART’s "new" buses

If you hadn’t noticed already, several new buses have been running on the HART system during the past week. Well, they’re not really brand new. In fact, by the picture above, they look like an older model. However, they sport HART’s new livery. So what’s the story behind these buses?

Well, after talking to a HART staffer, it seems that these buses will serve as a temporary contingency fleet for the agency while the fleet of Gillig buses are repainted in the new colors. Since these buses are so small (my guess is that they are only 25 feet in length), they will be used on lower frequency routes (like Routes 10 and 31) and connector routes (83, 87, 88, and 89) as substitutes while the Gilligs are repainted.

This may very well be the reason why the bus repainting has been going so slowly. My guess is that HART is repainting the 30ft Gilligs first, allowing them to use the substitute buses as needed. Then they may move on to the larger buses as time goes on.

My input for the proposed changes

Route 1 – Modifying Route 1, which traverses Florida Avenue, will bring it closer to that “Golden Rule” of public transit. Again, meeting that “rule” allows passengers to not even need a schedule when trying to figure out when the next bus arrives. Larger cities, such as New York, have had buses that run every 20 minutes or more for many years. Tampa still has a long way to go, but this is definitely a good start.

Routes 6, 12, and 30 – These modifications will also bring these busy routes closer to the “Golden Rule”. Especially with ridership continuing to increase.

Route 36 and others – Increasing frequency on the 8, 36, and 39 from 45 minutes to 30 minutes will really help with connectivity to other routes, and improve overall efficiency of the HART system.

HART service change proposals for Spring 2009

With ridership continuing to grow, several routes will have increases in frequency, among other changes in March 2009.

From the HART website

Weekdays

Route 1 – Florida Ave.
Increase frequency from 30 minutes to 20 minutes between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Route 8 – Progress Village/Brandon
Increase frequency from 45 minutes to 30 minutes between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Route 30 – Town ‘N Country
Increase frequency from 30 minutes to 15 minutes between Marion Transit Center (downtown Tampa) and Tampa International Airport from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. Restore late-night service between TIA and the Northwest Transfer Center in Town ‘N Country.

Route 36 – Dale Mabry/Himes Ave.
Increase frequency from 45 minutes to 30 minutes between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Route 39 – Busch Blvd.
Increase frequency from 60 minutes to 30 minutes between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Weekends

Route 1 – Florida Avenue
Increase frequency on Sundays from 60 minutes to 30 minutes.

Route 6 – 56th St.
Increase frequency on Saturdays and Sundays from 60 minutes to 30 minutes.

Route 12 – 22nd St.
Increase frequency on Sundays from 60 minutes to 30 minutes.

Route 18 – 30th St.
Begin running Sunday service; would run at same 60-minute frequency as current Saturday schedule.

Route 30 – Town ‘N Country Increase frequency on Saturdays and Sundays from 60 minutes to 30 minutes on entire route.

View map of all affected routes.

The changes on all these routes are very good. Especially for me, the Route 36 enhancements are much needed, as riders continue to fill buses at rapid rates.