Welcome to the Guidebook History & Milestones Page. While The Global Transit Guidebook has been around for about three years, I’ve been blogging about public transit for the past seven years. I will begin this page with some key dates by which will tell you how my site has evolved in brief. For those who have a little more time to read through this page, a more detailed history will follow the key dates section.
Shortly after high school, I came up with an idea to create some sort of a hobby website that would be dedicated to my interests in transportation. However, the idea never really took off due to the lack of free web-building resources available at the time (this was back in 2006 when MySpace was just taking off).
This all changed when I began using Tampa’s public bus system to get to and from Hillsborough Community College, where I attained my Associate’s Degree. After spending a few months riding the HART system, I became deeply fascinated with public transit as a whole and realized that I could finally begin my hobby site by using public transit as a launching point.
As I learned more about the HART system, I realized just how much Tampa had been deprived of efficient public transportation. I knew that I needed to learn even more about public transit & how it works so that I could one day, actively advocate for a better system.
In 2007, I became actively engaged in various transportation discussions on the SkyScraperCity forums, which I found as the basis to start some sort of blog, where I could spark some discussion on Tampa’s public transit system. In November of that year, I began to plan out the foundations for the blog and began to explore various web/blog hosting services where I could host it. On April 13, 2008, I launched the The Tampa Transit Utopia Discussion on Google’s Blogger service ~ yeah, silly name ain’t it? Although I didn’t really have any comments from others, to any of my initial blog posts, I knew that just getting my thoughts on public transit out into the web was enough to provoke some thought among some people.
In 2009, I was approached by Shawn B., who originally worked for the Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, PA. Shawn spent a short time in the Tampa Bay area & worked for HART during that time. When it was time for Shawn to return to the Pittsburgh area, he asked me if I would be interested in taking over a site that he built about the HART system.
Needless to say, I gladly accepted the offer & began to transition all of his assets over to my new site. This transition provided me the perfect opportunity to build an expansive site that would be dedicated to public transit worldwide!
The new site was launched on November 10, 2009 and was called Tampa Bay Transit by HARTride 2012. In December of 2009, following the launch of Tampa Bay Transit by HARTride 2012, I renamed the blog as The Tampa Bay Transit Blog.
The first incarnation of my transit website was not without challenges. The web hosting vendor that I initially used was not very user friendly, and it was very difficult for me to upload any content without being bombarded with messages to pay a fee to upgrade, or encountering error messages. So I had to shut down the site for a couple months while I searched for another provider. I then found Google Sites, which has a much more friendlier interface. After building all of the pages for the new site, I officially launched the new site (V2.5) on May 10, 2010.
In June of 2010, I began planning a second website dedicated to European Public Transports. This idea came about after a trip I took to Belgium and France back in March of 2009. On August 24, 2010, I officially launched Europe Transit by HARTride 2012 via Google Sites. devoted to my public transit travels in Europe. I began the site by covering the Paris Metro (Subway) system.
In April of 2011, I began planning my third transit fansite dedicated to New York City transports, following a March, 2011 trip to the area. I also began planning an expansion of the Europe Transit by HARTride 2012 site to cover transport systems in other European cities.
Unfortunately, school and personal obligations made it very difficult to keep my sites updated. For a period of a few months between January and August, 2012, I had to temporarily close all of my websites until I had enough time and motivation to return to them.
In June of 2012, I moved my blog over to the WordPress.com interface due to the expansive amount of customization that WordPress offers. I also learned that the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority also has its blog powered by WordPress, which further enticed me to switch over. During this time, I also renamed the blog to The Transit Blog by HARTride 2012 to reflect my interest in public transit as a whole. In July, 2012, I reopened the Europe Transit site, hoping to be able to make some much-needed updates.
In March, 2013; I decided to build upon my WordPress blog and migrate all of my content from my old sites. On March 4, 2013, I successfully migrated all of my Europe Transit content to the WordPress interface, which allowed me to pave the way to migrating my Tampa Bay Transit site content, open my third portal for New York City public transit, and open my fourth portal for Hampton Roads, VA. On March 10, 2013, I renamed my blog to Public Transit as told by HARTride 2012 to reflect the implementation of my Transit Focus Pages.
On April 13, 2013, I celebrated my site’s 5th Anniversary with an awesome blog post! Then, on April 19, 2013, following a visit to Norfolk and Virginia Beach, VA, I officially launched the Hampton Roads Transit by HARTride 2012 portal. Since this time, I’ve been gradually building up my portals for both Hampton Roads and Tampa Bay. On September 22, 2013, I began a massive overhaul of my site, including a new theme, and expanded content on my Tampa Bay portal. Additionally, I was able to finish my Tampa Bay content migration and announce the permanent closure of my old websites.
On July 15, 2013, I launched what is now the Alternative Fueled Transit Vehicles Page. This page is dedicated to all things transit vehicles that are powered by alternative fuels…like Compressed Natural Gas (or CNG).
In March of 2014, I brought on board my first guest blog author, Zac, who will be blogging about different transit-related topics around the Tampa Bay area! This addition brings another unique perspective to Tampa Bay’s public transit system! Some of you may already know him from reading his blog! Welcome Aboard!
In April of 2014, I celebrated the 6th Anniversary of my blog and continued to expand sections as I could. I also increased my presence on social media via Facebook and Twitter.
In December of 2014, I began to rebrand my website again with a new theme, menu structure, and links. Going into 2015, I introduced a new logo, site header style, and section/sub-section headers. I also began to build the foundations for future expansions of my site; which include Orlando, Tallahassee, and even Asia. On April 13, 2015, I celebrated seven years of transit blogging! Wow! does time fly?
On November 25, 2015, I began a third wave of website rebranding efforts, which will continue through 2016. This rebranding included a new green color scheme, expanded content, and will ultimately lay the foundation for the completion of each of my Transport sections.
On April 13, 2016, I celebrated my 8th year of transit blogging and began planning what would become a fourth wave of website rebranding efforts. These efforts were realized on October 12, 2016 with the renaming of the website to The Global Transit Guidebook by HARTride 2012, a new website theme and color scheme, new photos, graphics, and expanded information, and a new domain name.
After a period of hiatus due to personal obligations, I celebrated the 10th year of The Global Transit Guidebook and began planning what would become my fifth and most sweeping website redesign yet. This redesign coincidentally occurred alongside a major WordPress update that included the introduction of a new editing interface.
While I continued to make updates to the Guidebook during the course of 2019, the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in 2020 prompted me to eventually take another hiatus & temporarily take the site down entirely so that I could chart my next course of action. I really began to debate whether to leave WordPress and move the Guidebook elsewhere, or to remain on board & possibly rebrand the site again. As 2021 began, I decided on the latter – rolling out a new theme & layout, & begin restructuring all existing pages so as to bring uniformity to the Guidebook. As 2021 continues, I am putting more effort in to accomplish the many goals associated with the site that have laid unfinished to this day.