Today marks the seventh year that I’ve been blogging about public transit, and I’ve certainly come a long way since I started blogging back in 2008. I’ve been able to not only profile transit happenings in my city of Tampa, FL, but also surrounding communities like St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, Bradenton, and even Orlando and Tallahassee. I’ve also been routinely blogging on transit happenings in Norfolk, VA and Paris, France. Later this year, I plan to begin blogging about transit happenings in my home country of the Philippines, beginning with a post about how Manila’s metropolitan urban rail lines are gradually converting over to a “Tap and Go” fare payment system, the same type of fare payment system that you see on Orlando’s SunRail, as well as on the bus and urban rail system in Chicago, IL via Ventra.
For those of you who haven’t followed my blog for a long time, you may not know what inspired me to start this blog in the first place. It was really a combination of a few sources of inspiration that led me to start blogging about public transit, and then transforming my blog into a full-fledged website. First is my long time love for transportation as a whole. Since I was a child, I was always fascinated with transportation, including airports, bridges, roadways, interchanges, tunnels, and rail lines. When I began using my county’s bus system (HART) in 2006, because I didn’t have a car, I quickly fell in love with public transit and wanted to find a way to be able to blog about it. I didn’t know where to start though. That leads me to my second inspiration; an online discussion bulletin board (or online forum) called SkyScraperCity; where I gained a lot of inspiration from their members to finally start up my original transit blog in 2008, which at the time I named the Tampa Transit Utopia Discussion. I later changed the blog’s name to The Transit Blog by HARTride 2012 as I began to expand on what topics I blogged about.
In 2009, I was approached by a transit bus operator who was in the process of moving back up north to Pittsburgh, PA after spending some time in my area. He asked me to take over a hobby site that was dedicated to showcasing the history through photos of HART, by which he had lost interest in. I did not hesitate to accept his offer and I quickly expanded the scope of my blog to include the new site. It was certainly a struggle trying to get the website online and be able to expand it, but once I got established with it, I was pretty much on a good pace with things. That same year, I began to blog about the transit system in Paris, France, and in 2011, I began blogging about transit in the New York City metro area. Both expansions allowed me to blog on a broader range of topics, including fare evasion. In 2012, I learned that a neighboring transit agency (PSTA) was using WordPress to host their blog. I also learned from a college classmate about how WordPress was very easy to use and displayed detailed stats. So I gave WordPress a try, and boy did it allow me to do a lot! I was able to finally integrate my full website into WordPress and have it operate as a single site with my blog. No more having to deal with switching between two different interfaces, no more having to deal with ultra low space limits, and above all…no more having to tell my readers about two different web addresses to go to and bookmark. Upon the merger of my blog and website into one host, I renamed my site to Public Transit as told by HARTride 2012.
In 2013, my website and blogging expansion continued with the addition of Norfolk, VA. A year later, 2014, I expanded to two other Floridian cities; Orlando and Tallahassee, and I gained inspiration from a fellow transit advocate to create the No Tax for Tracks Hillsborough Truth Page. Now while life has gotten in the way of me being able to reorganize my website, it is something that I haven’t given up. Later this year, I will be making my site more uniform in the way it looks, as well as completing unfinished sections and building my new Asia Transports area. I also plan to restart my Transit 101 education series to give new transit riders an overview on how to use transit, as well as continue to expand my Alternative Fueled Vehicles page. In the meantime, my main focus is on completing my latest blog series that is focused on my county’s transportation public outreach process, Go Hillsborough. This series called, This is Go Hillsborough is in it’s second of six blog posts, with a third to be published very soon. I might also publish some follow up posts after the outreach process is finished.
I hope to be able to keep on blogging for another seven years at least. There’s just too much at stake when it comes to transit, including funding and political issues. Because of this, I have been gradually transitioning to an activist role, participating more in advocating for better public transit in Tampa Bay, as well as in Hampton Roads, VA. I want to thank everyone who has played a role in inspiring me to create and grow my website and blog, as well as thank all of my readers for stopping by to read my posts and website content. I truly hope to be able to one day have my own domain name for this site. It is something that I have been floating around for the past couple of years now, but haven’t been able to do due to the costs involved with keeping a dedicated domain name. Sometimes domain names can get quite expensive.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, or…if you want to contribute some transit photos. 🙂 You can also follow me on Facebook at /HARTride2012Tampa and /notaxfortrackshillsborough, on Twitter @TampaBayTransit and @ntfth_truthpage, as well as on Google+ and YouTube.