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