After celebrating my graduation from the University of South Florida over the weekend; I am pleased to bring you my next transit posting. Besides the ongoing preparation for the upcoming Republican National Convention at the end of August, HART has been finalizing which service changes to make for the upcoming evaluation cycle in November, and whether to increase fares. After many public hearings and input, the decision has been made. I will tell you in just a moment what exactly will be occurring in November.
Before I go into detail regarding the upcoming service and fare changes; I want to report that HART’s Bus Rapid Transit project; known as MetroRapid broke ground on Monday, August 6, 2012. The project is aimed at alleviating congestion along Nebraska Ave, which is HART’s busiest bus corridor. Nowadays, many buses along Route 2 run at full capacity, which means people have to sometimes wait for the next bus because the one they try to board is too full. The new system will allow sleek, modern buses (including the possibility of articulated buses) to run at specific intervals and between specifically spaced stations. Transit Signal Prioritization will also be utilized along the corridor, which allows green lights to be lengthened (and red lights shortened) at intersections.
The first phase of MetroRapid, which will travel along Nebraska and Fletcher Avenues, is slated to become operational by Summer, 2013. For more information about MetroRapid, click here.
Now, let’s take a look at what HART decided to do for November…
- Route 28X will be kept due to a lot of opposition against eliminating the route altogether. However; the number of trips will be only one per day in each direction.
- Saturday service on Brandon Flex will end due to low ridership. However; HART is planning a weekday fixed route in the area (could it be the next Route 38?). There is also a possibility of the Brandon Flex zone expanding sometime either this fall or going into next year.
- Express Route 50X will be immersed into Limited Express Route 61LX to improve efficiency.
- Local Routes 30, 34, and 39 will have additional buses added on weekdays to restore 30 minute frequency. These routes have been severely lagging behind due to increased passengers using transit.
- Route 37 will remain unchanged
- Holiday services on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day will change to Sunday-level, to unify the holiday schedule throughout the year. PSTA already utilizes a Sunday-level schedule on all major holidays.
- To review all of the fare changes; click here.
I will updated this post as soon as HART announces an exact effective date for these changes (it will either be November 5 or November 12, 2012).