HART unveils first MetroRapid bus!

Checking into my social media accounts this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the first MetroRapid bus has rolled into town! Yes, you heard me right, HART’s new MetroRapid buses have begun their cross-country trek from California to Tampa, with the first one arriving yesterday! You can view a Twitter photo of the bus from HART’s Twitter Feed. They also have posted the news on their Facebook Page.

I’m very much surprised by the release of the new buses. I did not actually think that the new MetroRapid buses would begin rolling out until maybe January, 2013 at the earliest. However, since construction of the MetroRapid system is moving along rather quickly, I guess it is better for HART to have the buses ready to roll by the time the system opens (after all, the buses have to be driven around Tampa so that drivers are accustomed to the new buses and any bugs are worked out).

My understanding is that the new buses are very similar to that of the 29XX and 10XX buses that HART added to their fleet in 2009 and 2010 respectively. However, the rear end of the bus has a similar styling to that of the 25XX buses. The interiors sport the same seating configuration as the 29XX and 10XX buses, but the color scheme is that of white, gray, and green tones to match the MetroRapid livery. It is also my understanding that HART will have 12 of these buses on the road when the first segment of the MetroRapid system opens in 2013 (I previously had mentioned 15, but because HART later decided to reduce frequency of the route from 10 minute peak headways/15 minute non-peak headways to 15 minute peak/20 minute non-peak, the number of buses to be purchased for the route was reduced to 12). The buses are manufactured by Gillig Corporation, based in Hayward, California (yes, that’s why they make that cross-country trip).

I hope to have more info on this up soon! 😀

Warmest Regards,

HARTride 2012.

HART Fare/Service Changes for Fall 2012 are now in effect!

As I mentioned in earlier posts, HART implemented its Fall, 2012 service changes and fare increases on Sunday, November 11, 2012.

Below is a brief summary of the changes:

  • 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 has modified the existing weekday service to follow a fixed route and expand its current service zone.
  • 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.

Even though today (Monday) is being observed by many schools, government offices, banks, etc. as Veterans Day (since Veterans Day fell on a Sunday this year); all bay area transit agencies will operate a normal weekday schedule today.

Veterans Day 2012 Salute

It is said that a photo is worth a thousand words. I truly believe this saying when it comes to many photos that we look at each day. With Veterans Day approaching, I wanted to take some time to first thank all those who are serving, or have served in the branches of the United States military. I also would like to take a moment to post a couple of photo finds that I’ve come across during the past few months.

I first wanted to start with the US Navy, by which I’ve been very fascinated with since I was a child. In 2001, I had a rare opportunity to witness the commissioning of the USS Lassen (DDG 82), which is one of many guided missile destroyers that the Navy has in its fleet. The Lassen is currently stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, where it has been since 2005. Prior to 2005, the ship was stationed in San Diego, CA.

USS Lassen Commissioning in Tampa (2001)
The commissioning ceremony for the USS Lassen (DDG 82) in Tampa, FL (April 21, 2001). ~ Photo taken by HARTride 2012.

The above photo is of the commissioning ceremony that took place on April 21, 2001 in Tampa’s Channelside District. Back then, Channelside was just beginning its transformation from a largely industrial center into a livable urban complex. Although the cruise ship port was already in place during the 1990s (and the Florida Aquarium since its opening 1995), the residential boom in the district did not take full effect until around 2003.

Touring the USS Lassen definitely felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, especially now that security has become so tight since the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. So it may be a very long time before I have another chance to be able to step aboard another active US Navy ship. Nonetheless, I enjoyed every moment of the ceremony and tour, including being able to see Tampa’s downtown skyline from the ship’s bridge.

Yes, I will say this right now, the USS Lassen is one of my favorite US Navy ships! 😀

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