All posts by hartride2012tampa

Blogging about public transit in Tampa, FL, Norfolk, VA, and beyond!

MCAT & SCAT Winter 2018 Service Changes

It’s that time again, time to enact service changes across multiple transit districts. In this post, I will be discussing the various service changes going into effect for Manatee County Area Transit & Sarasota County Area Transit.


Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT)

MCAT enacted the following changes on Saturday, February 3, 2018

Select the route number to view the new schedule.
I will post the Route 99 schedule link once SCAT has enacted its changes.

  • Route 1Overall span of service will reduce to reflect ridership patterns. The first northbound trip from Palmetto to Ellenton, leaving the Palmetto WalMart at 5:03am was eliminated.
  • Route 2: The northbound trip starting at Manatee County Public Works at 5:38 a.m. via the Red Barn Flea Market was eliminated. Start of service will now be the first southbound trip to DeSoto Station at 5:50am.
  • Route 4: The first westbound trip from the Downtown Bradenton Station, departing at 5:15am for Blake Hospital, was eliminated.
  • Route 6: A new late night westbound trip was added, departing at 8:05am from DeSoto Station. This trip will not serve Blake Hospital and will end at 75th St W.
  • Route 13: The current southbound trip at 6:20 p.m. will end at Palmetto Walmart/US 301 at 6:47p.m. This trip will no longer continue to Palmetto Station.
  • Sunday/Holiday Beach Express Trolley: Westbound service will now begin at 9:15am from the Downtown Bradenton Station instead of 9:00am from the State Rd 64 WalMart.
  • Joint MCAT/SCAT Route 99: Evening service span will be adjusted to reflect ridership patterns. Some trips may leave earlier or later than they currently do, and other trips may be eliminated due to lower ridership.
    • MCAT added a southbound trip from the DeSoto Station, departing at 8:02pm, to travel to Downtown Sarasota. This trip will skip stops serving State College of Florida and depart the Downtown Sarasota Transfer Center at 8:40pm, terminating at SRQ Airport.
    • SCAT will eliminate the 10:00pm run between SRQ Airport and Downtown Sarasota.

View the schedule change flyer.

Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT)

SCAT will enact the following changes on Saturday, February 10, 2018.

Schedules are not yet available.

  • Route 1: The first westbound trip will depart Cattlemen station 5 minutes earlier, at 5:44am, to arrive at the Downtown Sarasota Transfer Center at 6:05am. This change is being made to provide better connectivity to Route 18.
  • Route 1A: Saturday service will be eliminated. Service will only operate Monday through Friday.
  • Route 3: Overall span of service will be reduced to reflect ridership patterns.
  • Route 9: Saturday service will be eliminated. Service will only operate Monday through Friday. Combined Route 17/13 will take over for Saturday service. Weekday schedule adjustments will be made to help keep buses running on time.
    • The southern terminus will change to include the North Port Suncoast Technical College/NP Library on North Cranberry Boulevard as the end of the line. SCAT will continue to serve the North Port Memorial Hospital Emergency Room in one direction.
  • Route 11: Segment between Downtown Sarasota & Westfield Siesta Key (formerly Southgate) will be eliminated. Alternative services will be provided by Routes 14 & 17. This change also applies for the Sunday variant.
    • Sunday variant will have a reduction in overall span of service.
  • Route 14: Service will be extended to Downtown Sarasota on all service days, including the Sunday variant.
  • Route 15: Buses will no longer perform the loop via US 41 & Proctor Rd and will instead terminate at the Sarasota Pavillion Transfer Center. Alternative service along US 41 will be provided by Route 17 on weekdays and Route 17/13 on weekends. Alternative service on Swift Rd will be provided by Route 5.
    • Sunday variant will have a reduction in overall span of service.
  • Route 16: Two AM trips & two PM trips will be added between Venice & Englewood.
  • Route 17: Saturday service will be eliminated. Service will only operate Monday through Friday. Combined Route 17/13 will take over for Saturday service.
  • Route 26 (Seasonal): Seasonal service began in December, 2017.
  • Route 28: Saturday service will be eliminated. Service will only operate Monday through Friday.
  • Route 30: Overall span of service will be reduced to reflect ridership patterns.
  • Route 33 (Seasonal): Seasonal service began in December, 2017.
  • Joint MCAT/SCAT Route 99: Evening service span will be adjusted to reflect ridership patterns. Some trips may leave earlier or later than they currently do, and other trips may be eliminated due to lower ridership.
    • MCAT added a southbound trip from the DeSoto Station, departing at 8:02pm, to travel to Downtown Sarasota. This trip will skip stops serving State College of Florida and depart the Downtown Sarasota Transfer Center at 8:40pm, terminating at SRQ Airport.
    • SCAT will eliminate the 10:00pm run between SRQ Airport and Downtown Sarasota.
  • Route 17/13: Hourly service will commence on Saturdays and will mirror the Sunday schedule. The route will also be extended to Toledo Blade Blvd and Cranberry Blvd.

View the schedule change flyer.


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HART, PSTA, Votran, & Miami-Dade Winter 2018 Service Changes

Post updated on 2/13/18.
Received updated info from HART regarding the TPA Airport Shuttle.

It’s that time again, time to enact service changes across multiple transit districts. In this post, I will be discussing the various service changes going into effect for Hillsborough Area Regional Transit, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, Volusia County Transit, & Miami-Dade Transit.


Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART)

HART will be enacting the following service changes on Sunday, February 25, 2018:

Schedules are available by visiting the Maps & Schedules page, then selecting the route drop-down menu, then scrolling down to the service changes section at the bottom.

  • Route 6: Weekday frequency will increase to every 15 minutes during the day.
  • Routes 15 & 32: Westbound buses will begin serving the on-property bus stop at International Plaza. Scheduling changes will be made in accordance to this change.
  • Route 19: Bi-directional service to Tampa General Hospital will be restored & thus the 19A shuttle will end. Scheduling changes will be made in accordance to this change.
  • Route 20X: Service will be extended to MacDill/South Tampa. Scheduling & map changes will be made in accordance to this change.
  • Route 24LX: Service will be restored to 5 trips during the AM & 5 trips during the PM. While extra buses were already running due to overcrowding, formal scheduling changes were able to be made at last.
  • Route 33: Minor weekend scheduling adjustments will be made.
  • Route 34: Weekday frequency will increase to every 15 minutes during the day & to every 30 minutes on weekends.
  • Route 36: Scheduling changes will be made to adjust departure & running times on weekends. This is in connection to the changes for Route 19, since the two interline on weekends.
  • Route 35: New route will be introduced to replace the 60LX between Tampa International Airport & Northwest Transfer Center.
  • Route 46: Weekday frequency will increase to every 15 minutes during the day. Routing will also change to keep buses on Brandon Blvd (SR 60).
  • Route 60LX: Buses will no longer travel to Northwest Transfer Center. Buses will terminate at the Tampa International Airport Hub.
  • HART Flex Brandon: Routing adjustments will be made to have vans travel on Parsons Ave instead of Vonderburg Dr.
  • Tampa International Airport Shuttle%: Service will end with the opening of the SkyConnect Automated People Mover between the Tampa International Airport Main Terminal & the airport’s Consolidated Rental Car (CONRAC) Facility.
  • In addition, scheduling changes are slated for Routes 15, 16, 39, 51LX, & The TECOline Streetcar.

% Change will take place on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 or Thursday, February 15, 2018, but is subject to changeHART has clarified that the shuttle will continue until the rest of the service changes take effect. After further discussion between HART & TPA Airport officials, HART will end the shuttle after 2/14/18. Please see this flyer for details.

View the schedule change flyer (does not include the TPA Airport Shuttle).

Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA)

PSTA will be enacting the following service changes on Sunday, February 18, 2018:

Select the route number to view the new schedule.

  • Route 4: Departure and running times will be changed, with some trips departing earlier or later than they currently do. Overall span of service will be adjusted accordingly to reflect ridership patterns – resulting in some early morning or later evening trips being adjusted or eliminated.
  • Route 11: Buses will begin serving Gandy Blvd, Gateway Business Park, 28th St N, and the PSTA 34th St Transfer Center on weekends. Service to the Carillon Business Park will be discontinued to improve efficiency along the route. Departure and running times, and overall span of service will be adjusted accordingly.
  • Route 14: Departure and running times will be changed, with some trips departing earlier or later than they currently do. Overall span of service will remain largely unchanged.
  • Route 18: 10:40pm weeknight trip will terminate at Seminole City Center instead of Tyrone Square Mall.
  • Route 23: An updated schedule timetable has been produced. There does not appear to be any departure or running time changes, time point changes, or changes in the overall span of service.
  • Route 38: An updated schedule timetable and map have been produced. There does not appear to be any departure or running time changes, time point changes, or changes in the overall span of service.
  • Route 58: Overall span of service has been increased to include three full trips in each direction. The last westbound buses to Seminole City Center will depart Gateway Mall at 6:30pm, 7:30pm, & 8:10pm. The last eastbound buses to Gateway Mall will depart Seminole City Center at 7:20pm & 8:20pm. The 6:40pm trip will now run to Gateway Mall, instead of terminating at 49th St N as it currently does.
  • Route 59: Weekday schedule has been adjusted to match Route 4 at the PSTA 34th St Transfer Center. Midday departures will now have 15 minute headways, allowing for more frequent service throughout the day.
  • Route 74: Weekday frequency will be restored to 20 minute headways between 6:00am & 5:00pm, allowing for more frequent service. When the route was split up in 2016, weekday frequency was reduced to every 25 minutes.
  • Route 79: An updated schedule timetable has been produced, with minor changes in departure & running times.
  • Route 444: Due to ultra-low ridership, this route will be eliminated outright. Customers will have access to DART (Paratransit) & Direct Connect (Link) services.
  • Beachside Trolley Services: The PSTA Suncoast Beach Trolley, as well as both Jolley Trolley services (Clearwater Beach & Clearwater Coastal) will all begin to serve the newly constructed Clearwater Beach Transit Center on the Clearwater Memorial Causeway – just east of the roundabout. Some scheduling & map changes have been made to the SBT, including the addition of an intermittent Downtown Clearwater extension that will be activated during Spring Break season. Updates will be made accordingly to the Jolley Trolley schedules as needed.

Visit the PSTA Website

Volusia County Transit (Votran)

Votran enacted the following service changes on January 29, 2018

Schedules are not yet available.

  • Routes 7 & 11: Monday through Saturday frequency was increased to every 30 minutes from hourly service. Overall span of service was adjusted accordingly.
  • In accordance to the above changes, bus assignment bays at the Downtown Daytona Beach Transfer Plaza were changed.
    • Gate N2: Route 11
    • Gate N6: Route 7
    • Gate S1: Route 5 (buses previously boarded at Gate N2)
    • Gate S2: Route 8 (buses previously boarded at Gate N6)

Visit the Votran Website

Miami-Dade Transit (M-DT)

M-DT will enact the following service changes on Sunday, March 11, 2018

Schedules are not yet available.

  • Routes 35 & 70: Routes will be merged to help streamline service along the respective service corridor. Overall span of service and schedules will be adjusted in accordance to these changes.
    • Route 35 will become the new designation for the combined routing.
    • The 35A branch will be created to cover the current Route 70 alignment between Naranja and Florida City. This branch line will operate on weekdays only.
    • Some areas will lose transit service as a result of the changes. Please see the flyer for details.
  • Routes 7, 71, 137, & 338: Buses will travel on NW 17th St instead of NW 14th St, between Dolphin Mall & NW 107th Ave. Please see the flyer for details.
  • Routes 38 & 120: Routing & scheduling changes will be made.
  • In addition, scheduling changes are slated for Routes 3, 7, 8, 11, 24, 27, 31, 77, 95 Express Golden Glades, 115, 137, 183, 207/208, & 210.

Visit the M-DT Website


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OneBusAway Support For PSTA Ends 1/31/18

Update: As of 2/7/18, entries for the PSTA routes are still showing on OBA, but data is no longer being fed over to the interface. The entries will be removed entirely around 2/18/18, when PSTA performs its next GTFS update to coincide with the 2/18/18 service changes.

I first reported on March 24, 2016 that the OneBusAway interface for the Tampa Bay region began showing General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) in addition to data for Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART). The two were working together for a time on a common real-time transit tracking application that could one day be rolled out region-wide as part of the broader Regional Fare Collection Project.

However, since late 2017, I’ve learned that those collaboration efforts were coming an to end, partly because the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) was unable to obtain funding needed to expand OneBusAway (OBA) functionality across Pasco, Hernando, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties. This effort was further complicated by the recent restructuring of TBARTA and other issues.

By the end of 2017, it was decided that while collaboration work would continue with Flamingo Fares Tampa Bay, work to bring the two agencies together on OBA would not proceed. HART decided to build upon OBA Tampa on its own, while PSTA officially endorsed the Transit App. Transit App works similarly to OBA, but with different functionality – including the ability to show Direct Connect zones, which PSTA heavily favors over OBA. Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) in the Long Island region of New York also uses the Transit App and has found much success with it so far.

Because the collaboration between HART & PSTA is coming to end when it comes to real-time transit tracking, PSTA will officially remove all of its GTFS data from OBA – for good – after Wednesday, January 31, 2018. PSTA customers who are needing to access real-time transit arrivals information will have access to one of the following avenues:

  • Clever Devices: The Clever Devices interface, which PSTA installed back in 2012, will remain in place. This includes the desktop site, electronic message boards at transfer points, InfoLine capabilities (by calling 727-540-1900), and automated on-board announcements.
  • Transit App: The Transit App for smartphones can be downloaded for both Android & iPhone users. The app is free to download and very easy to use. I will demonstrate how to use the app at a later date.

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Gasparilla & NHL All-Star 2018 Events – 1/27/2018

Side angle of #1506.
Beat the parking and traffic hassles this Gasparilla parade by using HART!

Post was last updated on: 1/23/18.
Route detour info has been updated.


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 27, starting at 2:00pm.

Roadway Closures and Parking Info

On Friday, January 26, the day before the parade, many area roadways will begin to shut down. A complete list of closures has been provided through local media outlets (for this post, I’ve used the News Channel 8 article) and I strongly suggest that you go through this list so that you’re not caught in unnecessary traffic congestion. 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 what may be a once-in-a-lifetime event, the usual Gasparilla festivities are clashing together with the National Hockey League’s All-Star game, which is happening at Amalie Arena. This means that traffic and parking will face additional constraints. Here’s a listing of events (from WFTS) that surround the game during the weekend.

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 parked. Also, keep in mind that many streets will be closed throughout the area. Please also be sure to bring cash, because some lots may only accept cash as payment. Additionally, 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 – including routes that serve the Downtown Tampa area – please visit the HART website, as information can change between now and the day of the parade.

Before boarding the bus or streetcar, please have your fare ready. Regular fares will apply on all HART fixed routes and the TECOline Streetcar. The only exception is the In-Towner Trolley, which is fare free. For even easier convenience, download the Flamingo Fares App on your smartphone and purchase your fare there!

Credit: HART. Please click on the image for a larger view.

Routes 1, 7, 8, 19, 30, & 360LX will be detoured! Please plan your trip accordingly! Below is a listing of how buses will be detoured, along with respective route maps. OneBusAway WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR THE ROUTES AFFECTED, SO PLEASE REFER TO POSTED SCHEDULES FOR DEPARTURE TIMES!!!

For those needing to see the above graphics in a larger format, please view the PDF file from the HART website.

  • The TECOline Streetcar will run a modified schedule from 8:00am through 1:30am Sunday morning, and will only serve selected stations during selected times of the day. However, the Dick Greco Plaza, Centro Ybor, and Centennial Park stations will be served all day. The Whiting station will be CLOSED all day. Please read carefully through HART’s blog post for a complete listing of stations that will be closed throughout the day.
  • Feeder bus shuttles will pick up passengers at the Tampa Port Authority Garage, Dick Greco Plaza, Cumberland Ave, Cadrecha Plaza, and Streetcar Society stations to help get customers between various parking venues and the parade route. Service will commence at 9:30am and run through 7:00pm.
  • The In-Towner Saturday Route (Route 97) will operate along its normal route, but will provide frequent service throughout the day. Service will commence at 11:00am and run roughly every 15 to 20 minutes through 9:00pm. Customers may disembark the trolley at stops along Jackson St (inbound to Channelside) or Whiting St (Outbound to Marion Transit Center). OneBusAway tracking will be unavailable.

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


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MLK 2018 Holiday Transit Schedules

Post was updated on 1/14/18.
Posted various updates in service levels and added additional agencies.

Monday, January 16, 2017 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 or not operate at all.


Holiday Service Levels

Updates: JTA will operate Saturday service for buses, Regular service for the Skyway (People Mover) & ferry.

PSTA has announced that they will operate Weekday service. An earlier social media post had incorrectly stated Sunday service.

Virginia Regional Transit has announced that they will not operate transit service in Suffolk.

Elsewhere

  • Florida agencies not listed above
    • Space Coast: Saturday.
    • Lake Xpress: No Service.
    • Gainesville RTS: Holiday Schedule .
  • Illinois
    • Chicago CTA: Weekday.
    • Pace Bus: Unknown, please contact the agency.
  • Maine
    • Greater Portland Metro: Normal/Weekday.
    • Bangor Area Community Connector: Normal/Weekday.
  • Massachusetts
    • MBTA: Saturday for buses & subway, Weekday for the Sliver Line BRT, ferry, commuter rail, and paratransit.
    • LRTA: Saturday.
    • PVTA: Sunday.
    • WRTA: Saturday, except Routes 29, 33, & 42, which will operate weekday service.
    • Cape Cod: No Service.
    • Springfield/Northampton/UMass: Sunday.
    • Greenfield, & Haverhill: No Service.
  • New York City Metro Region & New Jersey Transit (NJT)
    • MTA NYCT: Weekday (exceptions may apply, please contact the agency for details).
    • PATH: Weekend.
    • NICE Bus: Weekday.
    • Hudson-Bergen Light Rail: Weekend/Holiday.
    • Newark, NJ Light Rail: Weekend/Holiday.
    • River Line Light Rail: Sunday
    • Please note that NJT bus and NJT regional commuter rail service, as well as MTA regional commuter rail service schedules may vary. Please contact your respective agency for further info.
  • Vermont
    • Green Mountain Transit: Normal/Weekday.
    • Marble Valley RTD: Normal/Weekday.
    • SEVT: Normal/Weekday (no service on Routes M8 & M11).
    • Advance Transit: Normal/Weekday.
  • Virginia
    • HRT: Saturday (Weekday for Ferry service).
    • WATA: Saturday.
    • VRT Suffolk: Weekday.

Customer Service


Normal Service Resumption

All normal (weekday) transit services will resume on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. Please keep in mind that transit agency administrative offices may be closed this day to observe the New Year’s holiday.


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The 2017 Year-End Roundup

Can you believe that 2017 is over? I certainly cannot believe how fast time has gone this year! As we enter 2018, I’d like to recap on some of the major transit-related happenings throughout Tampa Bay and beyond, as well as document a few of my transit experiences during the year. So let’s go!


January

MTA Second Ave Subway Opens

Just in time to ring in 2017 was the opening of Phase 1 of the long-awaited Second Ave Subway in New York City. The new line carries (Q) service from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, with some (N) & (R) trips terminating at the 96th St station during rush hours.

The concept of the 2nd Ave Subway goes back to almost when the New York City Subway System first opened. Back in the early 1900s, trains ran elevated above 2nd Ave and many residents and business owners complained that this environment was too noisy and drove down property values. While the 2nd and 3rd Ave elevated lines were eventually torn down, the 2nd Ave underground replacement was never realized right away. Budgetary and construction delays, as well as “Politics as Usual” delayed the opening of the first segments for nearly an entire century.

Limited revenue service on the Second Ave Line began on January 2, 2017, with 24/7 service commencing on January 9, 2017. Eventually, the Second Ave Line will carry a second service, the (T), stretching as far south as Hanover Square in Lower Manhattan.

SCAT Benderson Park/UTC Transit Hub

The SCAT transfer hub across from The Mall at University Town Center.

January provided an opportunity for me to return to Sarasota and witness the grand opening of the new Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) bus hub in eastern Sarasota County – located right in the heart of the growing University Town Center area. Along with this new hub, I got to step aboard one of the newer 2016 transit buses, as well as one of the 2011 suburban coach style buses with high-back reclining seats and luggage racks.

While the new facility only serves a small handful of bus routes, it was designed with eight bus bays so that future expansion can be easily accommodated. the facility also includes customer and employee restrooms, a sheltered canopy for those wanting to be shielded from the sun while waiting for their bus, and a lounge area for employees.


February

PSTA Battery Electric Bus

One of BYD’s demo buses parked outside of the PSTA Facility in St. Petersburg.

2017 was a year to celebrate for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) as the board voted in February to purchase two battery electric transit buses manufactured by BYD, as part of a pilot project to operate such buses within the agency’s fleet. The two initial buses will be used for a shuttle route being planned for Downtown St. Petersburg, which is scheduled for a summer 2018 launch.

Later in the year, the PSTA board voted to include 2 battery electric buses in the agency’s bus purchase plan each year, beginning in FY 2020, cementing the agency’s commitment to bringing forth a cleaner bus fleet to Pinellas. To further cement that commitment, the agency was also awarded a $1 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) through its Low or No Emission (Low-No) Vehicle Program, which will allow for the funds needed to purchase additional battery electric buses and construct additional battery electric bus charging stations.

My Cross-Bay Ferry Ride

The Cross-Bay Ferry boat docked in Tampa.

February also provided an unique opportunity – but this time to try out the Cross-Bay Ferry trial between Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. I even took my bike along so that I could do a brisk bike ride along Bayshore Blvd. While I was very happy to be able to ride the ferry and thus escape the rush hour traffic on the Gandy Bridge, we still have a long way to go before any permanent passenger ferry service is established between the two counties. I’m especially disappointed that many political and financial hurdles remain despite modest support for a permanent ferry service. I do hope that these issues are one day resolved – and one day sooner than later for that matter.


March/April

March & April were largely uneventful for the Tampa Bay region, outside of the Cross-Bay Ferry trial ending and the electric bus developments on the Pinellas side.

Budget Crunch in Hampton Roads

Despite plans for a system-wide restructuring materializing, 2017 overall was not a very good year for Hampton Roads Transit (HRT). The agency suffered massive criticism when it was reported that their total expenditures exceeded its $96 million budget by $5.3 million, leaving the municipalities who contribute to the agency’s funding wondering how they will pay for the overruns.


May

New York City Transit Excursion

An R-188 railcar pulls out of Queensboro Plaza in Long Island City, Queens.

May was probably THE transit highlight of 2017. For 4 full days, I returned to the Big Apple to transit fan and also spend some time with my family in NJ. During my visit, I was able to do the following:

  • Fanned the old South Ferry Loop – the former southern end for the (1) Line. The “newer” station, originally opened in 2009 to replace the loop, was forced to close from October 2012 through June 2017 due to immense damage caused by SuperStorm Sandy.
  • Fanedn the newer 34th St/Hudson Yards station on the (7) & the Second Ave Subway stations along the (Q).
  • Visited the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn.
  • Rode not one, but TWO Nova RTS transit buses, along with a New Flyer D60HF. Both are considered “dying breed” buses because they are no longer being manufactured and are slowly being retired.
  • Rode the Q44 Select Bus Service bus line on board a brand spanking new New Flyer Xcelsior (XD60) articulated transit bus. These buses (along with their 40-foot counterparts) are replacing some of the previously mentioned older buses and are equipped with on-board WiFi and USB charging outlets. SBS bus lines are similar to the MetroRapid bus line that Tampa has.
  • And last, but not least, attended my first ever transportation plan presentation outside of the Tampa Bay Region – the ReThink NYC Plan 2050 launch presentation – which was truly amazing! I’ll have a recap of the event in my next NYC Transit Excursion blog post.

In case you missed my first few posts, here they are:


June

Quick stop by Tallahassee’s StarMetro System

StarMetro #1202 pulls into the C.K. Steele Plaza in Downtown Tallahassee.

I had the opportunity in June to travel again, but this time to the Florida Panhandle for an event in the Destin/Okaloosa Beach area. The tail end of my trip provided me a chance to stop by Tallahassee while a line of thunderstorms passed. I was able to make a quick stop at the StarMetro bus terminal and witness the four Sunday routes in action, as well as take a quick walk around the city. I plan to take another trip to Tallahassee sometime in 2018.


July

PSTA “Breathe Easy” Zones

St. Pete City Council member Darden Rice, with PSTA CEO Brad Miller to the right. Photo taken by HARTride 2012.

July was another relatively quiet month, but I did have the opportunity to venture out to another PSTA event in St. Pete. This event officially recognized the implementation of “Breathe Easy Zones” at some of the major bus terminals in Pinellas. These smoking zones allow those who wish to have a cigarette, a place to do so without disturbing those who don’t want to breathe in the smoke. Much of the state of Florida has done its part over the years to create cleaner air environments where people don’t have to deal with secondhand smoke, and this is just another way to expand on that effort.


August

August turned out to be a repeat performance of July with not a lot going on. I did take a weekend excursion on the HART system though, making a stop by the oldest sheltered transit hub in the Sulphur Springs area of Tampa.

HART #2923 at the Yukon Transfer Center.

September

Hurricane Irma

Graphic Credit: New Channel 8 (WFLA TV).

2017 proved to be a very tumultuous hurricane season, with several monster storms – namely Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Irma made two landfalls in Florida – the first near Key West and the second near Naples. It was the first time since Hurricane Charley in 2004 that Tampa Bay residents had to evacuate, and the storm (Irma) left behind tons of damage, as did the other storms that made landfall this past year. Unfortunately, numerous lives lost in these storms, and tons and tons of weariness was left behind as well.

All of Florida’s transit agencies did a great job doing what they could to help residents escape evacuation zones by shuttling them to county shelters inland. HART in Hillsborough spent an entire day in fact moving people to shelters ahead of Irma and even though the last evacuation shuttles were scheduled to depart their originating areas around 9:00pm, buses continued to operate all the way until around 12-midnight on September 9, 2017.


October

HART Mission MAX

HART #2923 at Britton Plaza.

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) underwent its first system-wide restructuring since 2005. While many of the changes were controversial in the sense that some outskirt areas of Hillsborough County lost bus service, areas that needed more frequent bus service got what they needed. Despite the ups and downs of the changes, all of it was able to be done without raising fares.

TECOline Streetcar Fest

TECOline Streetcar #1976 at the Centro Ybor station in historic Ybor City.

The annual TECOline Streetcar Fest allowed me to experience the post-Mission MAX bus system via the new Route 360LX from South Tampa to Downtown Tampa and escape the parking hassles in Downtown. This annual event brings forth various family friendly activities along the streetcar line from Downtown to historic Ybor City, and local music, not to mention FREE streetcar rides! Usually, HART will charge 15 cents to ride the streetcar during Streetcar Fest, but because it was the 15th anniversary, the agency decided to make all streetcar trips that day fare free.

PSTA Clearwater Beach Transit Hub

Passing by the construction site of the future PSTA Clearwater Beach Hub.

In another accomplishment for PSTA this past year, ground broke for a new transfer hub in Clearwater Beach, along the Memorial Causeway near Pier 60. This new hub will allow for easy transfer between beach side trolley lines and will serve as the western terminus for the future Route 200X replacement to Tampa.


November

Katharine Eagan Kelleman

Katharine Eagan Kelleman (right) speaking at the HART HyperLINK launch event in November, 2016. Photo taken by HARTride 2012.

On the morning of November 8, 2017, it was announced that HART CEO Katharine Eagan Kelleman was leaving the agency in January, 2018 to pursue another opportunity elsewhere. It turns out that this opportunity was in Pittsburgh, PA, where she will serve as the CEO of the Allegheny County Port Authority transit system. I wish Ms. Kelleman the very best as she begins her new role!

My transit contributor Zac Ziegler, and I have both mentioned the Port Authority in various postings across our blogs and Social Media channels. Zac even took a trip to Pittsburgh several years ago to experience the system firsthand. Additionally, I’m acquainted with several transit advocates in the Pittsburgh area, and they are looking forward to providing suggestions and feedback to Ms. Kelleman as she transitions into her new role. Lastly, the person who helped inspire me to begin this website – Shawn – resides in Portersville, which is just north of Pittsburgh. Shawn spent many years at the Ross Division at Port Authority and once had a vast website full of transit photography.


December

Central Florida Transit Excursion

Waiting for the SunRail train to Orlando.

To wrap up 2017, a transit fan friend of mine visited the Tampa Bay region and we got to ride the PSTA and Pasco Transit systems, in addition to riding SunRail and LYNX over on the other side of the state. We also made stops in Lakeland and Kissimmee, as well as Daytona Beach. Later in the month; photo contributor and Social Media moderator, Jake, visited the Tampa Bay area and got to ride the TECOline Streetcar line and the HART In-Towner Trolley (he and I didn’t get to meet up in Tampa, but my other friend and I met up with him in the Orlando area).

First MTA R-179 test train enters revenue testing.

Despite the opening of the Second Ave Subway, the New York MTA has suffered a lot of bumps and bruises over the past year. One of which has been the slow introduction of the new R-179 railcars, which are being produced by Bombardier Transportation to replace some of the agency’s oldest operating subway railcars. The trains have been suffering major defects and thus the rollout schedule has been pushed back. Even the first trainset to enter revenue testing had its share of mishaps, but has been operating smoothly since mid December – to the best of my knowledge.


While 2017 had its ups and downs, 2018 will bring forth many drastic changes to the transit scene as we move ahead. Below are some of the topics that I will discuss as we enter January:

  • Transit Ridership: As overall transit ridership continues to trend downward, many transit agencies are having to re-think their strategies to move forward into the future.
  • TPA Airport: I’ll recap the airport’s historic year – including new airlines, the terminal revamp, and what’s to come next.
  • Selmon Extension & other highway-related items: Because buses run on roadways, it’s important to know how projects like the Selmon Expressway Extension may impact bus service.
  • MTA Subway Action Plan: Can quick fixes to the aging subway system restore confidence in riders & those who support the system?
  • Autonomous Vehicle Technology: How AVs are changing the landscape for transportation as a whole & where will things go from here?

Please be sure to bookmark my website: globaltransitguidebook.com | Contact Me.

You can also find me on Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube

Legalese | Disclosures

New Year’s Holiday Transit Service Guide

2018 is fast approaching, and I know many are carefully planning their weekend so as to not become stranded if they use transit.

On New Year’s Eve (Sunday, December 31, 2017), many transit agencies are offering extended service with more trains and buses and greater frequency in some cases. Some agencies are even offering FREE rides across all transit modes and routes (with exception to Paratransit and ride-hail “Link” services).

On New Year’s Day (Monday, January 1, 2018), most agencies will be operating limited to no service. Please be sure to contact your respective agency for trip planning inquiries and to get information on any service exceptions. Please note that if your particular transit agency does not normally operate on weekends or does not have a special holiday schedule in place, there may be no service provided.

As always, please be sure to have your fare ready before boarding the bus or train, and arrive at the station/stop on time. Also be aware of anything that seems out of place and report any suspicious activities or packages to a transit employee or law enforcement. Enjoy your transit journey!


New Year’s Eve Service Schedule

Supplemental Links

Supplemental Links

Supplemental Links


New Year’s Day Service Schedule

Supplemental Links

  • Special SunRail Service for New Year’s Day (Citrus Bowl): Regular fares for SunRail apply. You can park your car at any of the following Park-N-Ride Lots at no charge: Sand Lake Rd, Maitland, Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford, & DeBary.
  • Votran Holiday Schedules: On the schedules page, select the route you wish to view. For Routes 1, 3, 4, 10, 15, & 17, scroll down to the Sunday Service area of the timetable. For Routes 20, 21, 23, 40, & 41, scroll down to the Holiday Service area of the timetable.


Customer Service


Normal Service Resumption

All normal (weekday) transit services will resume on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. Please keep in mind that transit agency administrative offices may be closed this day to observe the New Year’s holiday.


Please be sure to bookmark my website: globaltransitguidebook.com | Contact Me.

You can also find me on Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube

Legalese | Disclosures

No “Photo of the Month” for December

If you’ve noticed, my November “Photo of the Month” has lingered a bit longer than it should have. That’s because I’m not posting a new photo for December. Instead, I’ve created a collage of photos that I’ve taken this year, although it is not inclusive of all of the transit adventures that I’ve embarked on.

With that said I invite you to be on the lookout for my 2017 “Year End Roundup” post, which will summarize the many transit-related happenings for 2017 as well as what to look forward to for 2018. I will have the post up by December 31, 2017.

Christmas 2017 Holiday Service Schedule

It’s that time again, to celebrate the Christmas season! If you’re planning to use transit on Christmas, here’s a few things to keep in mind.

  • Plan ahead: Make sure you know which transit agencies and routes are operating. Some agencies have expanded service for December to allow customers to wrap up holiday shopping. Traveling on Christmas Day? Please keep in mind that most transit agencies will operate limited to no service on Monday, December 25, 2017.
  • Avoid carrying too much all at once: If you’re scooping up a lot of bulky boxes, it can pose a hazard while on board the bus or train. Be sure to keep all items clear of aisles and keep an eye on all items at all times. Theft tends to be real high at this time of year, and transit agencies are watching closely to make sure no suspicious items are left behind on buses and trains.
  • Have your fare ready before boarding: Having your fare prepared prior to the bus or train arriving will help speed the boarding process.
  • Enjoy the ride: Above all though, enjoy your ride on board transit and be glad that you’re not having to do all the driving this Christmas season.

Holiday Service Levels

Christmas Eve

Christmas Day


Customer Service


Normal Service Resumption

Please see the “Christmas Day” notes above.


Disclaimer

All information in this post have been compiled from the websites and social media channels of the respective transit agencies listed above. Ultimately, the agencies themselves are responsible for the accuracy of information that I’ve gathered. However, if you notice something that I’ve written that doesn’t match what the agency has posted (mistakes do happen, we’re all human), please let me know right away so that I can correct the information. Thank you.


Please be sure to bookmark my website: globaltransitguidebook.com | Contact Me.

You can also find me on Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube

Legalese | Disclosures