I know I said before that I wouldn’t make another post til December. But there have been many developments on the transit front here in Tampa Bay that I should quickly point out.
HART System: All of the new 29XX Gillig Low Floor 40ft buses are in service since October 1, 2009. Many of these buses are seen runing express routes, as well as higher frequency local routes. The next batch of 29 Gilligs will come in sometime in Spring 2010, replacing all but one (#2015) of the 2000 model Gillig Low Floor 30ft buses and most of the Champion/Freightliner buses that HART purchased in 2008. HART will enact several route changes on November 8, including the reallignment of Routes 1 & 2, the merger of Routes 33 & 83, and the extension/revision of Route 36 towards Lutz. Additionally, there will be frequency changes to Routes 15 & 37, with a reduction of off peak hours to 60 minute frequency, and the increase of peak hour frequency to 30 minutes. The HARTflex system will not go into motion until March or April 2010 and construction of the TECOline Streetcar Extension began on October 9, with completion slated for 2011. The future TIA Transfer Center is currently in the planning stages, with construction to begin in mid 2010.
Intercounty Express Service to Expand: PSTA is currently exploring an expansion of Express Routes, including one towards the WestShore area. Not much details at the moment. However, a source tells me that Sarasota Transit (SCAT) is planning two intercounty express routes to be operational by mid 2010. One route will connect Sarasota/Bradenton with downtown St. Pete, and the other will connect Sarasota/Bradenton to downtown Tampa. Fares and schedules are yet to be determined, but my undertanding is that this will be a peak hour service with morning trips leaving Sarasota and afternoon trips going to Sarasota.
MCAT Introduces new hybrid buses: MCAT recently purchased a fleet of 40-foot Gillig BRT Hybrid Drive buses, which are being used on busier routes, such as the Route 99 Connector. Check out some of the photos posted by transitrider!
High Speed Rail looking dim… At least in Florida anyway. I find it really dumb that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood “demanded” that SunRail be passed or else HSR funds won’t come to Florida. Come on! SunRail is flawed as it is, and attaching an “ultimatum” for HSR funds isn’t going to help…
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BIG CHANGES COMING SOON! Something big is happening in December, stay tuned for those…