HART Summer 2015 Service Changes

HART July 2015 Service Change Banner 2

It’s that time again, time for the HART summer markup! I advise that you please pay close attention to this cycle of changes, as a radically different scheduling system is being introduced on some bus routes. If successful, you can expect the entire system to follow suit in the months to come.

An overview of what’s coming

Most transit agencies tend to follow a fixed headway system, where buses arrive and depart at specific times of the hour. So for instance, a bus may leave a transfer point at :15 and :45 past the hour from 3:45am until 9:45pm, constituting a 30-minute headway during most of the service day. Most bus routes will have headways of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 60, 75, 90, and 120 minutes. There are some exceptions depending on factors such as how popular a route is, and how many buses can efficiently operate along a route without becoming overloaded. The more frequent a route runs, the less you typically have to worry about having to wait long periods of time if you miss a bus. However, more frequency isn’t always the best option during rush hour, where traffic conditions are heavy. In some cases, frequently run bus routes can lead to a negative phenomenon called “bus bunching”. Bus bunching is when literally one bus on the same route is following another, often because the bus in front of it has become severely delayed. Transit agencies don’t like repeat instances of bus bunching because it puts strain on the rest of the routes, as well as on customers needing to make transfers and reach their final destination.

With the July markup, HART is trying to implement a more variable headway system that is managed in part by GTFS systems…you know…what powers OneBusAway. With a variable headway system (not sure if there is an actual name for this), buses are able to run in larger time blocks…let’s say for example…every 10 to 20 minutes, or every 15 to 30 minutes. During times where traffic isn’t as heavy, routes can run more frequent without too many issues. When traffic becomes severely heavy, buses will run less often to even out spacing between other buses and thus reduce the chances of bus bunching.

Affected routes are listed below and the changes will take effect Sunday, July 19 (Monday, July 20 for weekday only routes)

image

While HART may list the changes as “minor”, please keep in mind that in the long run, these changes will have a significant impact on the way that you catch your bus, and what time you get to your destination. In the coming months, you’ll probably hear HART staff mention OneBusAway even more as a great way to check when your bus will arrive. Additionally, Google Maps provides real-time GTFS info to show real-time arrival predictions. For those of you who do not have internet access, you can always call HART at 813-254-4278 to obtain scheduling information.

Taking some time off…

Some big things are coming to this website in the coming months…

In the meantime however, I will be taking some time away from this blog to tend to other matters. I will try to have HART’s July markup post published as soon as I know the details of the markup so that you can stay informed. All other planned blog posts will be on hold until I have a chance to publish them. There will also be limited social media activity.

I thank you so much for your patience during this time, and hope you’ll stick around to see what big projects that I have coming next!

Tampa Dreams of SunRail

Metro Orlando is very grateful to have SunRail! Because here in Tampa Bay, it’s hard to build a better transportation network without a meaningful passenger rail system.

In collaboration with the SunRail Riders group – which advocates for better service on the SunRail Commuter Rail system in Orlando – I’m going to talk about SunRail and the challenges that Tampa Bay faces being without a passenger rail system. This post highlights the 7-day-a-week congestion along I-275, challenges with keeping the TECOline Streetcar Line running, and the ongoing battle between transit advocates and supporters, and the rail haters.

I invite you to read the full post at sunrailriders.com and tell us what you think. I want to take a few moments to thank the SunRail Riders for giving me this opportunity, and for everything that they do to help make SunRail even better! I hope to be able to write other pieces for the SunRail Riders in the future.

NOTE: Corresponding media in the post (except this photo) is not mine. Credit goes to their respective authors.

The European Union Photography Law Debate

EU Photography Law Debate Banner 1

Tension and confusion are building within the European Union…and it has nothing to do with the economic crisis in Greece. The debacle that I am going to be talking about today, has to do with a proposed union-wide law that would essentially ban commercial photography of landmarks like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the London Eye in London, without first seeking approval from the respective copyright holder. However, there is much confusion and opposition against the proposed law due to concerns that private individuals, like myself, won’t be able to take personal photographs of these landmarks and upload them to social media for our friends and family members to view, without fearing repercussions from the E.U.

Now, I can understand the E.U. wanting to make some sort of unified law, as right now, different countries have different policies. Like in the U.K., there is what is called “Freedom of Panorama” by which photos can be taken of copyrighted works in public spaces for both private and profit-generating uses. However, in countries like France and Belgium, laws currently exist by which you can’t do so without first being granted permission from the copyright holder. So for example, if I were to ever post a photo I took back in 2009 of the famous Atomium complex in Brussels or the Eiffel Tower in Paris at night – here on my blog – I could get into trouble even though the photo would never be used for profit-generating purposes. After all, this is a non-profit blog.

So you can see why there is some discord between each country’s policies when it comes to taking photos of copyrighted works and why a unified law should be crafted. However, unless major clarification are made to where the ordinary citizen isn’t penalized for doing a leisurely task during a vacation, then I am by all means against the current proposal.

Until the law can be clarified, I am suspending the expansion of my European Transports section.