If you haven’t noticed in recent days, several more freshly painted HART buses have rolled out. This acceleration in efforts are due to the recent stimulus funding that HART recieved. As the months progress, you will see even more buses repainted. And starting in the fall, you’ll begin to see the aging fleet of Gillig Phantom buses being slowly phased out in favor of newer buses, similar to the 2600 fleet.
This next batch of HART news, though mixed, will result in a much needed cost savings to the agency in a time when property taxes, the main fuel for HART’s funding, continues to decline. The main fear is that HART will stand to lose about $3 million dollars according to the Tampa Tribune. And with the state legislature proposing further property tax cuts in 2010, the amount of revenue that HART and PSTA could stand to lose could be much worse.
Among the proposed changes, service in North Tampa/University will be revised either in late 2009 or early 2010. This change will depend on whether or not the opening date for the future St. Joseph’s Hospital North in Lutz remains on schedule. Other changes will involve reducing frequency or other service for several routes, and the possible elimination of a connector route.
Route 2 is slated for a two-phase change. The first phase will take place this summer when departure times from the UATC are revised to allow better connections to other routes in downtown Tampa. The second phase will take place later in the year when the route is realligned along Fletcher Ave, allowing the route to become better suited for the future BRT route to downtown.
Route 1 will also see a reallignment later in 2009 that will redirect buses along Bearss Ave and 22nd St, a segment currently served by Route 2.
Route 6 will see a frequency increase on the weekdays from 30 minutes to 20 minutes and some routing changes later this year.
Route 7 will have a frequency reduction north of the West Tampa Transfer Center due to low ridership on the north segment. Weekday frequency will reduce from 30 minutes to 60 minutes begining this summer.
Route 8 will have several time changes this summer. A weekend trip to downtown will be added to allow patrons to arrive there prior to 8am. However, the weekday OWL service will be cut, with the final departures from both downtown and Brandon leaving at 10pm.
Route 15 weekday frequency will be slashed to 60 minutes throughout the entire day, begining this summer.
Route 32 weekday frequency east of the NetPark Transfer Center will be slashed to 60 minutes as well.
Route 33 will be merged with Route 83 in the University area later this year to allow better service and eliminate duplicated segments. The segment north of Mission Bell will be replaced by Route 36.
Route 36 will be extended to the future St. Joseph’s Hospital North in late 2009.
Route 37 weekday frequency will reduce from 45 minutes to 60 minutes this summer.
Route 39 will see a minor routing change this fall that will allow buses to remain on Busch Blvd.
The previous proposal for Route 46 has been withdrawn, no changes to the route will be made.
Route 87 will be transitioned to HARTflex service due to low ridership (yet more evidence that previous efforts to increase service in SouthShore have failed)
Route 88 (also a failing route) will have its service hours cut to just the weekday rush hours.
Many other routes will see minor time changes. Some express routes will lose their earliest morning trips due to low ridership. Click here for a full list of other routes affected by these changes.