It’s almost that time again for the spring time routing/scheduling markup cycle for Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART). Although this cycle will mainly comprise of minor scheduling/timepoint/running time changes, the most sweeping change that will take effect this cycle will be the revision of Route 46 to serve the Valrico area.
First, let’s quickly highlight the minor changes. Routes 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 27LX, and 30 will all see minor running time changes. Route 18 will have its final southbound trip restored to the Marion Transit Center. Previously, the last buses of the evening terminated at Columbus Dr due to budgetary issues.
Now onto the big change that is Route 46. Route 46 currently runs between the Westfield Brandon Mall and Davis Island. Under the approved changes, the Davis Island segment will be eliminated in favor of an extension to Valrico. The new western terminus will be at the Marion Transit Center, where customers can easily connect to the 46 from other routes. Customers wishing to connect to Tampa General Hospital can still do so via a transfer to Route 19 from the Marion St Transitway. Route 19 provides service to and from Tampa General Hospital seven days a week, with 30-minute weekday headways from 4:10am until 8:00pm, and then running hourly from 8:00pm until 11:20pm.
The Valrico extension will provide for new local services via State Rd 60 (Brandon Blvd) Monday through Friday, with the possibility of Saturday service should funding avenues allow later on. The new eastern terminus would be at the Dover Park-N-Ride Lot, where Route 22X currently picks up and drops off passengers. This alone will become a huge incentive for car-centric customers to leave their cars at the lot and use transit to get around the Brandon/Valrico area. Connecting services such as Local Routes 8 and 37, as well as the Brandon FLEX will be able to get residents around without having to hassle with lane changes and traffic signals.
Additionally, Route 46’s span of operating service will increase by one hour, ending service during the 8:00pm hour, instead of the 7:00pm hour, and Midday service that was previously eliminated due to budgetary issues will be restored. Hourly headways will still be retained, but if funding avenues and ridership levels allow, service could later increase to 45 minute or even 30 minute headways. This alone will make it easier for customers to use transit while being able to return home at a reasonable hour. Evening service may also be expanded if funding and ridership levels allow. Nonetheless, the improvements for Route 46 are a welcome sign for the Brandon/Valrico area, which has been greatly under-served by transit for years. If HART had additional funding, they could further improve existing services in the area.
To view a map and schedule for the revised Route 46, click here!
For my February Friday Rewind post, I’ll take a look at the history of Route 46 and how it has evolved through the years. I’ll also discuss how the proposal to eliminate the Davis Island portion has come up a few times before, but never materialized.
Enjoy your Wednesday!