January (Late) Friday Rewind – HART Route 19

Friday Rewind New 1

In this (late) edition of Friday Rewind, I will profile one of my favorite Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) bus routes, Route 19.

Brief History

Route 19 was a part of HART’s original bus system when the agency was created in the early 1980s. Although most of its route has remained unchanged over the years, a segment to Tampa General Hospital was added in 2003. This resulted when the TECOline Streetcar opened and Route 3 (which then served Davis Island) was eliminated. Throughout the mid to late 2000s, earlier morning and late evening trips were added.

South Tampa Split Segment

One feature of Route 19 is that it alternates between Manhattan Ave and WestShore Blvd in South Tampa. This is done to be able to cover areas needed for basic transit service. As a result of this, weekday trips operate every 60 to 120 minutes on either segment, and every 120 minutes on either segment on weekends and holidays. When you view the route map, you will be able to see how this particular segment splits up.

Looking through the Wayback Machine

About this time last year, I discovered that parts of HART’s old website was archived via the Wayback Machine. This allowed me to gain a broader historical perspective on how HART operated its bus routes prior to 2005, when a system-wide reorganization took place. You will be able to see schedules for Route 19 as they were in 2001, by which weekday service operated from 4:30am until 7:30pm. Saturday service ran from 6:30am through 8:00pm and Sunday service stopped before 7:00pm.

Earlier and Later service

Since 2003, the span of operating service has greatly increased on Route 19. This is mostly due to the route serving both Tampa General Hospital and Memorial Hospital, where many second shift workers needed access to better bus service. As a result, weekday departure times were bumped up from :00 and :30 past to :10 and :40 past from 4:10am through 7:10am, and somewhere in the mix, an 8:00pm weeknight departure was added from downtown. Then in 2008, full round trips were added to the weeknight lineup at 9:00pm, 10:00pm and 11:20pm, and buses now depart through 8:35pm on weekends, instead of 6:35pm. You can view the current schedule on the HART website.

For comparison; let’s take a look at the start and end times for Route 19 service. To note; frequencies have not changed. Weekday service operates every 30 minutes, with a 60 minute split between Manhattan Ave and WestShore Blvd. After 8:00pm on weeknights and all day on weekends, the route operates every 60 minutes, with the alternating segments being served every 120 minutes.

Unless otherwise noted, times will be noted as follows:

Before 2003 | 2003 – 2008 | After 2008

First Weekday Departure – Downtown Tampa

4:30AM | 4:10AM | 4:10AM

First Weekday Departure – Port Tampa

5:29AM | 5:20AM | 5:20AM

Last Weekday Departure – Downtown Tampa

7:30PM | 8:00PM | 11:20PM

Last Weekday Departure – Port Tampa

8:29PM | 8:40PM | 12:20AM

First Saturday Departure – Downtown Tampa

6:35AM – Has remained unchanged

First Saturday Departure – Port Tampa

7:35AM or 7:36AM – Not much of a difference

Last Saturday Departure – Downtown Tampa

6:35PM | 6:35PM | 8:35PM

Last Saturday Departure – Port Tampa

7:34PM | 7:40PM | 9:37PM

First Sunday Departure – Downtown Tampa

6:35AM – Has remained unchanged

First Sunday Departure – Port Tampa

7:37AM or 7:36AM – Not much of a difference

Last Sunday Departure – Downtown Tampa

5:35PM | 6:35PM | 8:35PM

Last Sunday Departure – Port Tampa

6:30PM | 6:36PM | 9:37PM

Conclusion

For at least the foreseeable future, don’t be surprised if you don’t see a whole lot of changes on Route 19. Although minor changes may be made periodically, HART currently does not have the funds to further increase Route 19 service, although longer-term plans call for an eventual increase in weekend service from the current 60/120 minute headways to 30/60 minute headways that are currently seen on weekdays. Unfortunately, any major economic hiccup could cause the exact opposite to occur, which is cuts in the early morning and late evening service that have been added during the last 15 years.

Tolled Express Lanes – Do they really relieve congestion? – Part 1

The buzz is growing on Tolled Express Lanes, also known as Managed Lanes. Many states throughout the US have already adopted them, with several others planning to join in during the next decade. Here in Florida, Express Lanes are already in use along former HOV lanes on I-95, as well as a reversible structure along I-595. Both thoroughfares are located in the Miami metropolitan area. In Tampa, Express Lanes will soon go under construction along the Veterans Expressway, and Orlando’s Ultimate I-4 Project will be kicking off within the next few weeks.

Also in Tampa, a massive Express Lanes project is being planned, called the Tampa Bay Express Lanes – or simply TBX. TBX would allow Express Lanes to run along I-275 from just north of Gandy Blvd all the way up to Bearss Ave, as well as I-4 from downtown Tampa to eventually the Polk Parkway toll road, and I-75 from Bruce B. Downs to almost the Hillsborough/Manatee County Line. This project is expected to be executed during the course of the next 30 or so years and will bring a lot of construction along with it. While this project may be good for the economy in terms of construction jobs, the question remains…will it really ease congestion on our highways?

Later this week, I’m going to address several questions regarding Express Lanes, including the one I just asked. First though, I want to provide some information to my readers. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will be holding two public workshops to allow for public input this week. These workshops will be held during the following dates at the following locations:

Pinellas County: Tues, 1/27 from 5PM to 7PM @ Minnreg Hall, 6340 126th Ave. N., Largo.

Hillsborough County: Thurs, 1/29 from 5PM to 7PM @ TPepin Hospitality Centre, 4121 N 50th St., Tampa.

Additionally, there will be another event, Florida’s Transportation Visioning Regional Forums, to be held on Monday, 2/3 at 1pm @ the Tampa International Airport Marriott Hotel, 4100 George J Bean Parkway Tampa, Florida 33607.

Will concerns be addressed?

This is the main sticking point that myself and other transportation advocates have with FDOT. How will public concerns be addressed? And furthermore, how long of a period will there be for public input? Connect Tampa Bay Executive Director Kevin Thurman is equally as concerned as I am about the TBX project and how it could adversely impact our communities. We both share the concern that FDOT should follow up these workshops with more public meetings so that there is sufficient time available for public comment. Furthermore, TBX should be a foundation for building a more extensive transportation network that includes Bus Rapid Transit and even Light Rail.

In short…why did FDOT just announce these workshops and provide few details? Our transit plans are consistently grilled by Tea Party insiders and transit advocates alike, so numerous meetings are arranged for those issues. But when it comes to building roadways, there’s almost no public input whatsoever in some cases. And more so, FDOT has not announced just how much this project will cost in the end for us. Until that is revealed, I’m not so sure about if these lanes are really going to reduce congestion.

As Kevin stated in an email, “The number one thing we’ve learned in two years at Connect Tampa bay is if you stand up at a meeting — your voice will be heard. Pinellas is already looking for new funding options for transportation and in Hillsborough, local leaders will start a series of more than 30 meetings in mid-February to get input from everyone before finishing their countywide plan.” I truly believe this, and I hope that you will be able to attend one of the above meetings.

Enjoy your day, and let’s make a difference in shaping Tampa Bay’s transportation network!

HARTride 2012

Gasparilla 2015

Pirates, and Beads, and Transit…oh my!

Yep, it’s that time again, for the annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival! The Parade of the Pirates brings in hundreds of revelers each year, and along with that…tons and tons of roadway closures. So here’s what you need to know if you plan on attending the parade on Saturday, January 31, starting at 2:00pm.

Roadway Closures and Parking Info

On Friday, January 30, the day before the parade, many area roadways will begin to shut down. Although exact times haven’t been announced, this post will be updated as soon as they are. Last year, Bayshore Blvd began to close down at 10:00pm the night before the parade. Because of the parade route and disbursement of the floats at the end of the parade, the Platt, Brorein, and Kennedy bridges will all be closed. That means your only points of egress into downtown Tampa will be the Cass St bridge, the Selmon Expressway, and I-275. If you don’t need to be in downtown Tampa, please do not enter the area! I cannot stress this enough.

For those traveling to Davis Island and Tampa General Hospital, access will be maintained to the island, but the on/off-ramps to/from Bayshore will all be closed. Please be sure to plan ahead for this, as shuttle service may not be available during the parade.

If you plan to park in one of the parking garages in either downtown Tampa, Channelside, Hyde Park, or Ybor City, please make sure you remember where you park. Also, keep in mind that many streets will be closed throughout the area. Please be sure to bring cash, because some lots may only accept cash as payment. Also, please be aware that the City of Tampa prohibits parking on some streets.

Escape the parking and traffic hassles, use transit!

Select HART bus routes and the TECOline Streetcar Line will operate on a modified schedule on Saturday, and some bus routes will be detoured due to road closures. I’ll go through a brief rundown of what to expect if you’re using transit to get to and from the parade. For detailed information, please visit the HART website, as information can change between now and the day of the parade. Also, HART may be posting detailed maps of detoured bus routes as it gets closer to the parade.

Routes 7, 8, 14, 19, & 30 will be detoured! Please plan your trip accordingly! Below is a listing of how buses were detoured last year. This may be different this year, so please stay tuned for further updates.

  • Routes 7 & 14 WILL NOT SERVE CASS ST. Instead, both routes will travel along Palm Ave from N. Boulevard and then follow Tampa St/Scott St into downtown (outbound will use Marion St/Henderson Ave/Florida Ave to Palm Ave).
  • Route 8 will be detoured via Nuccio Pkwy & Cass St. The normal route through Channelside and southern Downtown WILL NOT BE SERVED.
  • Routes 19 & 30 will be detoured via I-275. The Platt/Cleveland/Brorien/Davis Island segments of Route 19 & the Kennedy Blvd segment of Route 30 east of Armenia/Howard WILL NOT BE SERVED.
    • Please make alternate arrangements if you are needing to get to/from Tampa General Hospital, as shuttle service may not be available.
    • If you reside in the Town-N-Country area, you can park your car at the Northwest Transfer Center and use Route 30 to connect to the Gasparilla festivities!
  • The TECOline Streetcar will run a modified schedule and will only serve selected stations during selected times of the day. However, the Dick Greco Plaza, Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union, and Centennial Park stations will be served all day. The Whiting station will be CLOSED all day.
  • Feeder bus shuttles will pick up passengers at Dick Greco Plaza, Cumberland Ave, Cadrecha Plaza, and Streetcar Society stations to help get customers between various parking venues and the parade route.
  • The In-Town Trolleybus will offer service from Dick Greco Plaza to the Marion Transit Center to allow for speedy travel between northern Downtown and the parade route.

See a detailed map with information on detoured bus routes, feeder bus service to the streetcar, and which streetcar stations will be open/closed. You can also read HART’s blog for information.

And remember, please party responsibly. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t text and drive.

Ride PSTA To and From the East-West Shrine Game at the Trop Saturday

Escape the traffic and parking hassles…use transit! PSTA’s Central Ave Trolley line is a quick, easy, and convenient way to get to and from Tropicana Field and downtown St. Pete!

Ride PSTA

trolley

Who: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA)

What: Reminding fans that PSTA’s popular Central Ave. Trolley provides easy, affordable and frequent service near Tropicana Field for this year’s East-West Shrine Game

When: 4:00 p.m. Saturday, January 17, 2015

WhereTropicana Field, St. Petersburg

Why:  Enjoy the game and festivities, without the hassle of driving and finding a parking space

Enjoy the longest running college all-star game in the nation with affordable and hassle-free transportation on PSTA to the 90th annual East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana. Kickoff is set for 4:00 pm, Saturday, January 17, 2015, which means fans will have plenty of options to get to and from the Trop on PSTA’s popular Central Avenue Trolley. In fact, the trolley runs directly between the stadium and the game’s official host hotel, the world renowned TradeWinds Island Resorts.

First-time riders can plan their trip by…

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High School Students Can Earn a FREE Trip to Washington, D.C.

Did you hear that? If you’re a Junior or Senior in high school, you could earn a FREE trip to a youth summit in Washington D.C.! All thanks to the American Public Transportation Association! Please read PSTA’s blog post for further information and how you can apply.

Ride PSTA

APTA

The American Public Transportation Association is inviting high school juniors and seniors interested in careers in public transportation, to apply for an all-expense paid (by APTA) trip to our nation’s capital. The trip is part of APTA’s 4th biennial Transportation Youth Summit to advance education and promote careers in public transportation.

PSTA and APTA leaders are quick to point out that public transportation continues playing a significant role in finding solutions to numerous challenges facing America today – just it has throughout our history.  “Whether it’s creating and supporting job growth, a cleaner environment, energy independence, alternatives to automobile ownership or a better quality of life; where public transportation goes, community grows,” says APTA Director of Media Relations Virginia Miller. Recent studies have shown that both millennials and empty-nest Baby Boomers are now choosing urbanized living over suburbs and transportation options are a big reason why. “Since 1995, public…

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PSTA Opens New Mid-County Customer Service Center

Congratulations to the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) on opening their new Pinellas Park Transit Center!

Ride PSTA

PPTC

Officials from the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and City of Pinellas Park celebrated the Grand Opening of PSTA’s first mid-county transit center in Pinellas Park today. The leaders gathered with PSTA and city staff as well as bus riders and members of the public for the official ribbon cutting and Grand Opening of the new Pinellas Park Transit Center.

“This is a win-win and a perfect example of intergovernmental partnership between PSTA and the City of Pinellas Park,” said PSTA Board Chair and Clearwater City Council Member Bill Jonson. “Plus, it’s an equally fine example of a Public-Private Partnership, with Boulder Venture South providing the land on which this new facility sits.” The new transit center is PSTA’s first mid-county Customer Service facility and is expected to go a long way in helping the agency meet the demand for additional service centers and ticket outlets as transit ridership continues at…

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Transit Ridership Summary updated with November, 2014 figures

Note: November ridership figures for Hampton Roads Transit are currently unavailable.

The Transit Ridership Summary table has been updated with November, 2014 figures! If you’re new to my site, this table can be accessed and downloaded through Dropbox. Don’t have a Dropbox account? Not a problem! Anyone can access and download this file. Even then, Dropbox provides a free “basic” service for you to upload and share files to.

For those of you who may have missed my original post, I am now listing ridership figures on an Excel spreadsheet, as opposed to creating a detailed blog post every month with figures. Please note that since I am publishing figures for three transit agencies, HART, PSTA, and HRT, that there may be a delay in posting, since each agency releases ridership figures at different times.

I’ve learned that HART is usually ahead of PSTA and HRT in compiling and posting their ridership stats from the previous month. Usually, their previous month’s ridership is ready by the end of the current month, and published to the next month’s board meeting agenda. So in this instance, November’s numbers were compiled during early December, ready for posting in late December, and recorded in the January, 2015 meeting agenda. December’s numbers in detail will be recorded in February, 2015’s meeting agenda.

 PSTA is sorta in the middle, but partly because their board meetings are held towards the middle or end of the month. HRT is pretty much the same way, with their board meetings typically held towards the end of the month. With HRT however, they can easily, and often do, fall behind in publishing ridership reports. Thus, HRT’s ridership figures aren’t often available for about two months after the fact. As of this post’s publishing, HRT is still showing October figures on their website. Hopefully by the end of January, they will be posting November’s stats.

As always, these ridership figures are obtained from publicly accessible sources, such as board meeting packets, and cannot be considered as copyrighted or proprietary.

Access the May – November Transit Ridership Summary

Ridership remains strong for HART and PSTA, but are down from October

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, transit ridership often fluctuates. For some reason, November seemed to be a down month for both HART and PSTA. HART’s November ridership was down 17.5% from the previous month (October), and PSTA’s November ridership was down 14.4% from October. In comparison to how these numbers fared against November, 2013; HART was up by 0.4% (against 1,220,890 from November, 2013) and PSTA was up by 0.6% (against 1,148,421 from November, 2013).

December shows strong ridership for HART

HART has already blogged about December’s numbers, and so far…things are showing pretty strong. 1,272,735 customers boarded the HART system, which is 5.7% (or 69,006 more customers) more than December, 2013. MetroRapid alone saw 49,584 customers, which is up 8.3% from November, 2013. The modified Route 46 through Brandon continues to see gains in ridership as well, up 140.5% over November, 2013, when the route still served Davis Island and did not have midday service that was restored in March, 2014. And all this while gas prices are at their lowest levels in six years! And they continue to fall!

“Just as our current passengers are using our service more, we continue to attract new passengers with service and amenities that are increasingly relevant and attractive. Public transit in Hillsborough County continues to improve, and I encourage people who haven’t been on a bus lately to give it a try” – HART CEO Katharine Eagan

So look out for more awesome ridership numbers as we head into February!

My vision for Hillsborough County transportation – Part 1

There’s been a lot of talk about what should be included in Hillsborough County’s transportation plan should a referendum be placed onto the 2016 ballot. Although there are many things that I would love to see on the plan, I realize that many components just won’t be able to happen given the current state of the economy and the huge anti-tax sentiment that still looms over many voters. This however should not stop our leaders from coming up with a comprehensive plan that can win the hearts and minds of supporters, the opposition, and the undecideds.

In the next few minutes, I’m going to briefly outline what I would like to see in the county’s plan. Please keep in mind that this first list is a bare-bones minimum, meaning that this is what I see that the plan MUST include regardless of things like a new light rail line to the airport.

Read more

Downtown Norfolk, VA Transit Center to temporarily relocate

Post Updated on 1/19/15.

ATTENTION HAMPTON ROADS TRANSIT (HRT) CUSTOMERS: If you transfer out of downtown Norfolk, then you’ll want to pay close attention to what will be happening towards the end of this month. On Monday, January 26, 2015, all stops at the makeshift Downtown Norfolk Transit Center will move one block over to the west due to construction activities at the site. This temporary relocation will be in effect until further notice. Please see the map below for details.

NOTE: Map has been revised by HRT.

Credit: Hampton Roads Transit (HRT).
Credit: Hampton Roads Transit (HRT).

As indicated in RED, all stops at the current makeshift terminal at Wood St will temporarily move to E Charlotte St and Montecello Ave. Most local routes will board and de-board in the BLUE area along E Charlotte St. Local Route 2 and Express Routes 960 and 961 will board and de-board in the GREEN area along Monticello Ave. The BLACK area indicated on the map is a staging area for buses, and customers SHOULD NOT ATTEMPT TO BOARD A BUS FROM THIS LOCATION. Please keep in mind that these changes may adversely impact your transfer to adjoining bus routes, as well as The Tide Light Rail Line nearby, so please be sure to plan accordingly.

Any questions or concerns about these changes should be directed to HRT.

MLK 2015 Holiday Transit Schedule

Monday, January 19, 2015 is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, where we take a moment to celebrate the life and achievements of the famed Civil Rights leader. Unlike most Federal holidays, where transit services are typically limited to weekend-level services, most transit districts tend to operate on a typical weekday schedule on MLK Day. Some districts however may operate on a Saturday schedule.

In the Tampa Bay Area, PSTA, MCAT, and SCAT will operate on a normal weekday schedule, as well as various trolleybus routes, and the TECOline Streetcar. HART bus services will operate on a Saturday schedule (no Express, MetroRapid, FLEX – except the Northdale route, and trolleybus). Transit services in Polk, Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus will not operate.

In the Orlando area; LYNX will operate a normal weekday schedule, but Routes (Links) 416 and 427 will not operate. SunRail will also not operate.

In the Hampton Roads Area, the HRT bus system will operate on a Saturday schedule. However, LRT and Ferry services will operate on a normal weekday schedule.

If you have any questions regarding holiday transit services, please contact your respective transit district for details. Customer service centers will be open normal hours (unless otherwise specified by the transit district). Customer service centers will be closed in districts that do not operate services on MLK Day.

In Tampa, HART customer service centers at the UATC and Marion/Downtown will be open from 7:00am until 5:00pm. HART at City Hall will be closed. The HART InfoLine will be available between 8:00am until 5:00pm.

In Norfolk and Hampton, VA, HRT customer service centers will be staffed from 9:00am until 4:00pm. The Silverleaf customer service center will be closed.