HART is planning many things that will change the face of mass transit in Hillsborough County during the next ten years. According to an article published by the Tampa Tribune, here is what’s in store, despite dwindling sources of funding and state-mandated budget cuts and property tax reductions.
Among major service enhancements, 53 buses and 113 paratransit vans could be replaced with newer models. This includes the eventual replacement of the 900 and 2000 series Gillig Low Floor buses, which HART purchased back in 1999 and 2000. The replacement of the Gillig Phantom (700 series) buses will begin within the next couple of months, being replaced with the new Gillig Low Floor (2900 series) fleet of buses. HART CEO, David Armijo announced shortly after his arrival in late 2007 that he would like to see the current bus fleet increased beyond the current 200 units.
By mid-2010, Routes 2, 33, 36, and 83 will all be restructured, enhancing services in North Tampa. This includes the merger of Routes 33 and 83 into one Route 33 that would serve Fletcher Ave and the University North area, the extension and restructuring of Route 36 to the future St. Joseph’s Hosptial North on Van Dyke Road and possible addition of OWL services, and reallignment of Route 2 to allow better operation of service that will soon be taken over by MetroRapid, HART’s new Bus Rapid Transit System.
Also by mid-2010, Route 30 service will be split into two routes to better serve TIA and the Northwest Transfer Center with Downtown Tampa. Perhaps we’ll see 30A and 30B as part of this. Voters may be presented with a 1-cent sales tax hike proposal to fund mass transit in the fall.
By 2011, WestShore and Downtown Tampa services will be further enhanced via local impact fees.
MetroRapid Green Line from the USF area to Downtown Tampa is expected to be online by 2012. The east-west route will then follow in 2013 or 2014.
Finally, by 2020, HART’s first Light Rail line is expected to open.
Public hearings will be held Aug. 19 at the University Area Transit Center, 13110 N. 27th St., and Aug. 26 at the Marion Transit Center, 1211 N. Marion St. Both sessions are from 3 to 6 p.m.
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