USF Bull Runner

Post Updated on 10/14/15

Bull Runner website link has been updated, a link to the current Bull Runner system map has been added, and the bus fleet paragraph has been updated to include the 30-foot Gillig Low Floor buses.

Today’s post could not come at a perfect time, as I am preparing to graduate from the University of South Florida with my B.S. in Business Administration, with a focus in Marketing. 😀

During the month of July, I had an opportunity to tag along with former HART bus driver Jason Eames and local transit nerd Zac Ziegler as we stepped aboard the Bull Runner, which is the university owned and operated campus transit system. Jason previously worked with the USF Bull Runner system before coming to HART. Although my meeting with them was somewhat brief, it was definitely great to be able to meet them face to face at last as we rode on the Bull Runner Route C.

Unlike some universities, which rely on their municipal transit districts to provide on-campus public transit, USF has provided their own transit system for several years now. They even have their own bus fleet, which comprises of several Startrans and Glaval minibuses, several 30-foot Blue Bird and Thomas-Dennis buses, and several Gillig Low Floor 30 and 40-foot buses.

The USF Bull Runner system comprises of six routes; three of them travel to various off-campus destinations, such as apartment complexes where USF students reside.

  • Route A: Campus Green Loop (serves many major points within the USF campus, including the Marshall Student Center, in a counter-clockwise direction)
  • Route B: USF Health Line (serves the USF Health area of the campus)
  • Route C: Off-Campus North Line (serves various apartment complexes to the north of the campus)
  • Route D: Off-Campus West Line (serves University Mall, HART’s University Area Transit Center, and various apartment complexes to the west of the campus)
  • Route E: Campus Gold Loop (serves many major points within the USF campus, including the Marshall Student Center, in a clockwise direction)
  • Route F: Off-Campus South Line (serves MOSI, Busch Gardens/Adventure Island, and various apartment complexes to the east and south of the campus)

View a current map of the Bull Runner system (last updated for the Fall 2015 semester).

Although the buses I mentioned above can be assigned to any of the six routes at any given time, the Gillig Low Floor buses are usually assigned to Route C, due to it seeing the highest ridership of all of the routes. Route C is also the most congested of the six routes during peak times of the fall and spring semester, which is usually between the hours of 9am and 3pm, Monday through Thursday, when most students tend to take their classes.

To use the USF Bull Runner; you must be a USF Student, Faculty, or Staff member with a USF ID card. Visitors may purchase a daily visitor bus pass.

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July Friday Rewind – Hurricane Season 2012 is in full swing

For this edition of Friday Rewind (which I happened to publish late); I take a look back at my posting regarding the 2012 Hurricane Season. Now why did I choose this post to reflect on? Because I feel that I did not put enough emphasis on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and how it is impacted during storms. It is extremely important to know exactly what justifies a complete closure of the bridge during inclement weather. Below is a clipping from the original post.

Also to note, whenever there high winds (anything above 25mph, sustained), the “High Winds” indicator lights will flash as you approach the bridge. When winds exceed 40mph, sustained, the Florida Highway Patrol has the authority to close the bridge entirely in order to ensure the safety of commuters.

Now, I don’t joke on this. The Sunshine Skyway is a high bridge; and when the weather gets ugly, FHP pays close attention to weather conditions. Whenever sustained winds exceed 40mph, FHP will close the bridge completely, forcing all commuters to seek I-75 as the main alternate route.

Edward Ringwald recently blogged on his own site, dedicated to Interstate 275 in Hillsborough & Pinellas Counties, about the closing of the Skyway during inclement weather. I strongly feel that his post provides a more detailed viewpoint of what I’ve been trying to convey, which is…what exactly constitutes a full closure of the Skyway. You can read his post here.

New Facebook Page

You may have noticed during the past few days that there is now a link to my new Facebook Page here on the blog. Though I am already used to using the new Timeline format for my personal account; I am still trying to get the hang of things on my new page. I ask for your patience and understanding while I continue to build my new Facebook page during the next few months. You may visit the new page by clicking the link below, or by selecting the Facebook “F” at the upper-right hand corner of the page.

https://www.facebook.com/HARTride2012Tampa

Now, some of you reading this post may have been followers on my old “Tampa Bay Transit” Facebook Page; which was deactivated when the new Timeline format was rolled out to all Facebook Pages. Unfortunately; because I had no knowledge that the page would be deactivated due to the changes, I will not be bringing back the old page. I find that it will be a pointless hassle to do so because it would later be closed anyways. Instead, I will file selected posts from the old page into the new page based on when the original post was published. I do realize that with my old page gone from public view; that I will eventually lose the nearly 70 followers that I had. Although I will not lose sleep over this, it does mean that I will have to start from scratch. But then again; starting from scratch isn’t so bad after all.

For those of you who have been following my activity for a while; you may be asking why the change? The reason for the “fresh start” is the same reason why I have my new blog; I want to be able to share my interest in public transit as a whole, and that is what my new blog does…it goes beyond my public transit fan sites. In fact; the old page was focused on Tampa Bay Transit by HARTride 2012 only.

As always; I invite you to spread the word about my blog and fan sites in which ever way you can. In the future; I may try to use different apps on my Facebook Page to make things more engaging.

Warmest Regards;

HARTride 2012

RNC = Road Closures & Transit Detours

Please note that due to the rapidly changing information; this post will be periodically updated. Be sure to check back for updates. The last update to this post was on 7/31/12.

On July 23, 2012, the US Secret Service unveiled its listing of roadway closures throughout the Tampa Bay Area during the Republican National Convention. And boy do we have a lot of thoroughfares on the list. Most of the closures will be centered in around downtown Tampa; where the event will be held. However, due to RNC events in downtown St. Pete; some roadways there will be closed as well.

In Tampa; some of the roadways to be closed during the RNC (which will be held August 26 through the 30) include the following:

  • Bayshore Blvd northeast of Swann Ave (Access will be available to the Davis Islands)
  • Platt St, Brorien St, and Frankland St bridges
  • Basically every single downtown roadway south of Whiting St (access to Harbour Island will be limited)
  • The Lee Roy Selmon Expressway between Willow Ave and 50th St (the Reversible Lanes will remain open)
  • Tampa Bay Blvd between Dale Mabry Hwy & Himes Ave

In St. Pete; many city roadways will be closed; in addition to Interstate 175.

In addition to the roadway closures; parking and pedestrian access through both cities will be restricted.

For the full list of roadways impacted (including maps of the affected areas); click here. To view the article on Bay News 9; click here.

Click “Continue Reading” for updates on Public Transit Restrictions/Detours.

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Paris Metro Update – Line 4 Extension Delayed

For several weeks, I had been planning a blog post regarding the extension of Line 4 of the Paris Subway towards the suburb of Montrouge. Unfortunately, construction work has delayed the opening of the new extension until at least March of 2013; the station Mairie de Montrouge had been tentatively scheduled to open by December 31, 2012.

Why the delay? From what I am hearing from Parisians in the SkyScraperCity and Symbioz forums (the latter one is in French; you can use Google Translate or Yahoo BabelFish to translate); it is taking much longer than expected to dig through the numerous quarries that lie underneath Montrouge. In fact; the entire routing of the subway extension towards Bagneux (planned to begin construction in 2014) had to be altered in order to avoid massive quarries that would otherwise undermine the stability of the ground above. You can see in these photos how complex some of these quarries are.

Sadly; the tentative date of December, 2012 for the opening of the new Montrouge station was quite unrealistic given the many surprises that lurked underneath Montrouge. No one could really know the stability of the quarries until the digging commenced. On the flipside however; it is better to delay work, than to rush things and have something disastrous happen during operation of the subway line. We certainly don’t want to imagine any such scenarios.

With this said; I hope to be able to report back towards the end of 2012 as to the status of the Line 4 extension. I will also post at the time; an update of the extension of Line 12, which is still expected to open in December, 2012.

Warmest Regards;

HARTride 2012

WiFi on Public Transit

This post is dedicated to the expanse of WiFi networks across public transit systems. Now you may have heard in recent months of new WiFi hotspots at various coffeehouses, restaurants, shops, and other businesses in your area. In many cases now, entire metropolitan areas have WiFi networks for you to use when you’re on the go. Although many establishments may charge you for service through ISP (Internet Service Providers) like Verizon or Bright House (one example is International Plaza, where you have to be a Bright House customer to have free WiFi access in the mall), many WiFi services are free to use (like at many Starbucks and McDonalds locations). However, have you thought about using your laptop or tablet while using public transit? In many locations now, you can do just that!

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Whew! Classes are over!

My summer class is finally over! I can finally breathe a sigh of relief! 😀

With one life hurdle about to be behind me; I can now focus more on other matters; such as reopening my sites and focusing more on this blog. With this said; I will provide a tentative schedule of my next few blog posts, as well as other key dates.

Revised July 24, 2012: Unfortunately, I’ve had to push back some dates.

July, 2012 – Upcoming Blog Posts

  • July 27, 2012: Friday Rewind blog post.

August, 2012 – Upcoming Blog Posts & Key Dates

  • August 1, 2012: Blog post on the USF Bull Runner.
  • August 9, 2012: New Facebook Page opens.
  • August 9, 2012: Blog post on public transit smartphone apps.
  • August 11, 2012: Back to School Edition blog post.
  • August 14, 2012: Transit Focus blog post on minimum solo riding age onboard public transit.
  • August 16, 2012: Transit Staycations blog post on Lowry Park Zoo.
  • August 26, 2012: Tampa Bay Transit by HARTride 2012 site reopens.

Other Key Dates

  • September 24, 2012: New York City Transit by HARTride 2012 site opens.

 

Warmest Regards,

HARTride 2012

New look for my YouTube and Twitter Pages

If you read my last post, you likely saw that it was going to be my last post for a little while. However, I discovered that I could write a post and then have it published automatically at a later date, which I find extremely awesome! This is another reason why I’ve come to love WordPress over Blogger. There are so many features that I can take advantage of that Blogger does not currently have.

Onto the main point of this post, which I actually wrote up on July 5, 2012; for those of you who have been following me on Twitter and YouTube, you may have noticed my new background images. For now, these will be the backgrounds that represent my websites and blog. I find these images to be creative yet modern looking, and I hope that you will like them too. I am also going to be planning out a new cover photo for my Facebook page when my class is finished, so be sure to look out for that.

In the meantime, I invite you to visit my YouTube Channel and Follow me on Twitter. I should have my new Facebook page up sometime in August or September. I will also start posting new YouTube videos later this year, including some creations that I’m coming up with via The Sims 3.

I hope to see everyone here soon!

Warmest Regards,

HARTride 2012

Themed Posts

This will be my last post for a little while, as I must continue preparing for my final exam. However, I will devote this post to what I have coming up once my class is finished. I think you will like some of the themed blog posts that I will be posting throughout the year.

The following segments will be done on a monthly basis:

  • Transit Tip of the Month: Each month, I will provide a helpful transit-related tip to help you get on your way when using public transit. Previously, I was posting these tips on my websites; but I will begin posting them here on the blog in August as well.
  • Friday Rewind: As mentioned before, I will take a look back at one of my previous blog postings and follow-up on the status of the topic that I posted about. You can see the Friday Rewind posts on the last Friday of each month.
  • Holiday Services: For most major holidays, transit agencies tend to alter their schedules due to lower than normal ridership. I will have the scoop as to which agencies are running service and which ones aren’t. I will try to have each post up within 2 weeks of the holiday.
  • Monthly Polls: The monthly polls will make a comeback as well. They will focus on a variety of issues surrounding public transit.

We then have segments that will be posted every 2 months (bi-monthly):

  • Transit Focus: This bi-monthly posting will focus on topics that affect nearly all transit agencies worldwide. These topics will include how transit agencies deal with fare evasion, security and safety issues, proposing service changes, and more.
  • Transit Staycations: This bi-monthly posting will focus on different landmarks and tourist destinations throughout my coverage areas (we’ll begin with Tampa Bay and expand from there) and how you can get to these places using public transit.

Then we have quarterly segments like these:

  • The Newsletter Edition: As promised, I will be coming out with a quarterly newsletter that focuses on topics that I don’t normally cover in my blog posts. Each newsletter will consist of three to five “in-depth” stories. I am not sure when the first newsletter will be ready, but when it does become available, I will also have a file attached to each posting for you to download.
  • Quarter in Review: Each quarter, following the newsletter, I will have a summary of transit related stories that have hit the headlines in the past few months.

Finally, we have the Year in Review & other special themed sections that will be posted occasionally: From time to time, I will also post other special themed topics, such as the Year in Review segment.

So what else is to come? Continue reading this post, and you will find out…

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The RNC is just around the corner.

I’m sure many of you have been hearing for months now about the Republican National Convention coming to Tampa. But here’s a question that you may not have been able to quite answer yet; have you planned out your commute during the event?

For some, the answer may be to completely avoid downtown Tampa at all costs. I am fortunate to be one of those people who can just take Dale Mabry Highway to Busch Boulevard and be on my way. However, I know many of you out there may have to go through downtown Tampa and not have very many options available to avoid the impending gridlock. For one thing, many city streets will be closed during the event (which is to be held August 25 through 27, 2012). This includes the Platt St Bridge, which sends traffic underneath the convention center and next to the Tampa Bay Times Forum (where the event will be held). The bridge will most certainly be closed due to security reasons. But other major thoroughfares may end up closing too. They include, but are not limited to; Channelside Dr, Brorien St (including the bridge), and yes…even the Selmon Expressway viaduct through downtown could be closed.

We probably won’t know the full extent of the road closures until just a couple weeks before the event because the US Secret Service will ultimately determine the security perimeter around the Forum and which thoroughfares will close.

Public transit will also be heavily affected by the RNC. In fact, a vast majority of HART’s bus routes, as well as both of PSTA’s express bus routes, traverse through Downtown Tampa. As a result, you can expect a lot of detours throughout downtown. My guess is that many routes will detour via Cass & Tyler Streets and then enter the Marion Transit Center through that route. My suggestion to you is to keep up to date with HART, PSTA, and local news outlets for the latest updates regarding traffic conditions, transit detours, and road closures. In addition, many government offices will be closed or have operations housed temporarily in other locations throughout Tampa Bay during the convention, so you will need to check with the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County government websites to see if the office of the service you’re inquiring about will be closed the weekend of the RNC.

For those of you who do not need to go through downtown on a daily basis, I will say again, please avoid downtown at all costs.

Please note that when the security perimeter has been finalized; HART will let patrons know about which services will be affected. You can read HART’s blog for more info on that.

Warmest Regards,

HARTride 2012