Within many transit agencies, you’re often times going to find some sort of artistic display catching your eye – whether it be a mural at a transit station, a neatly decorated bus stop, or a special vehicle wrap. In the case at Hillsborough Area Regional Transit, it’s the vehicle wrap that catches the eye.
Thanks to a partnership between HART & the Tampa Bay Foundation for Architecture & Design (TBFAD), the Art on HART program was launched, allowing one of the transit agency’s buses to be transformed into a moving artistic canvas for a year. For the inaugural 2019 selection, bus #1018 featured a wrapping called Soundwaves, which depicted a variety of individuals playing various musical instruments in front of a festive background that included the downtown Tampa skyline. It was truly a beautiful wrap & I had hoped to be able to catch the bus myself – & almost did too.
As of Tuesday, September 17, 2019, HART & TBFAD officially opened up the process to allow interested artists to convey their desire to participate in the 2020 selection. HART’s In Transit blog has more information on how to do just that. Entries will be accepted up until Friday, November 15, 2019 @ 5:00pm ET.
Quick Note (Off-Route)
Some of my readers may have heard of the horrific events that unfolded on May 18, 2019 & understand that seeing the various photography of bus # 1018 may revive unpleasant memories of what happened that day. I was actually en-route to Hillsborough from Pinellas when the incident that claimed the life of HART bus operator Thomas Dunn occurred. As I rode HART Route 35 from the Northwest Transfer Center to the Tampa International Airport bus hub, I noticed that the two 2012-series buses that HART acquired from Sarasota County Area Transit (#’s 1217 & 1218 – both operating on Route 275LX) were swapped out for 2013-series buses.
My original plan was to take either 1217 or 1218 to Marion Transit Center & catch 1018 on the MetroRapid route from there. When the bus swap out occurred, something told me to abandon my plans to hop on MetroRapid & instead head to Britton Plaza. Thus, I did just that, catching a Route 30 bus to the intersection of Dale Mabry Hwy & Kennedy Blvd, where I then caught a Route 36 bus to Britton, then a Route 17 bus to my final destination. It was not until that evening that I had heard about the incident on the MetroRapid route.
Mr. Dunn was assigned # 1018 for his final run down the MetroRapid route on Nebraska Ave when the incident happened. Based on what I’ve understood from several HART staff members, # 1018 was not put out to service anymore following the incident. The bus was completely stripped of its electronics (radio, surveillance cameras, farebox, etc.) & the Soundwaves wrapping. The bus was then repainted & eventually put up for auction.
In reading HART’s blog post about the 2020 Art on HART selection process, I noticed that they laid out a specific theme.
This year’s theme touches on how music influences the world around us while encouraging respect for others. Artists are encouraged to incorporate Tampa Bay’s wide diversity of design, architecture, and musical culture into their submission.
HART In Transit blog.
Seeing this theme noted in the post really stuck out because it conveys to everyone that the horrible incident has not been forgotten & that we all need to continue what we can do to be respectful to others while using public transportation. At the same time, the theme allows for the continuation to express the utmost artistic & musical talent, as well as the wide variety of architecture & design elements that exists in our region. In my eyes, this theme is bound to produce something visually stunning while bringing the main messages home.
Our September Showcase photo came in a bit late here on the website due to some personal obligations. However, it’s better late than never that I get this next post up, so…with that, we continue our journey across the US. Where to next you ask?
LYNX operates roughly 85 bus routes throughout Orange, Osceola, & Seminole Counties, as well as a paratransit service called Access LYNX, & a flex-route neighborhood connector service called NeighborLink. Additionally, the agency operates limited-stop routes called FastLink & a Bus Rapid Transit style circulator system in Orlando called LYMMO. LYNX routes are commonly referred to as Links & the agency’s mascot is the lynx.
LYNX’s bus fleet mostly comprises of 40′ Gillig Low Floor buses with the BRT styling. However, there are several articulated bus fleets that operate on busier routes like the 8 & 50. These articulated buses include 2013 & 2014-series Nova Low Floor Series (LFS), as well as 2016 & 2019 New Flyer Xcelsiors. The above photo is of 2016 NFI XN60 (CNG) #226-616.
Like many transit agencies across the nation, LYNX is unable to provide as much service as it would like due to funding constraints. There is currently talk of holding a transportation sales tax referendum to help fund LYNX & SunRail service in Orange County, but it isn’t clear as to whether this will indeed be pursued.
Monday, September 2, 2018 is Labor Day and many transit agencies will be running limited service, with some agencies not operating at all. As always, please see the listing below to see what level of service that each transit district will operate.
Below are the normal Labor Day service levels for Florida. Please keep in mind that Dorian may affect service this weekend, especially on the east coast. Please monitor local news reports for the latest. You can also read my blog post on Dorian, as updates will be made in respects to transit service suspensions & restorations.
TECOline Streetcar (Tampa)
SCAT (Space Coast/Brevard County)
PSTA (St. Pete/Clearwater)
Routes 416 & 427 will not operate, as they are funded by Citrus Connection (Polk County)
BCT (Broward County)
DTPW (Miami-Dade County)
Votran (Daytona Beach)
Routes 1, 3, 4, 10, 15, & 17 will operate a Sunday schedule.
MTA Commuter Rail, NJT Bus & Rail Services: Varies
MBTA (Boston, MA): Sunday (Ferry line F1 will not run)
PVTA (Pioneer Valley, MA): Sunday
FRTA (Franklin County, MA): No Service
MVRTA (Merrimack Valley, MA): No Service
LRTA (Lowell, MA): No Service
CCRTA (Cape Cod, MA): Normal service, except flex & hospital trips – which will not operate.
Portland, ME Metro: No Service
South Portland, ME: No Service
Bangor, ME Community Connector: No Service
CityLink (Lewiston, ME): No Service
Chicago CTA: Sunday
Pace Bus: Sunday
Corpus Christi RTA (Corpus Christi, TX): Sunday
Capital Metro Austin (Austin, TX): Sunday, No MetroRail, UT Service, Night Owl, E-Bus or MetroExpress services.
Normal Transit Service Resumption
With the exception of those transit agencies that will be directly impacted by Hurricane Dorian, normal transit services will resume on Tuesday, September 3, 2019. For impacted agencies, please follow local media outlets.
While I’ve done my best to ensure accuracy, the listed information ultimately comes from the transit agencies themselves. If you spot an error, please let me know as soon as possible so that I can correct it.
Post was last updated on 09/10/2019 @ 9:35am EDT. This was the final update made.
Dorian was declared as an extratropical system on 09/07/2019 and continues to move east, northeast across the eastern Canadian maritimes (Nova Scotia & Newfoundland). As the storm enters the northern Atlantic, it is expected to be downgraded to an extratropical storm, then eventually dissipate.
Below is the 5:00am advisory information from the National Weather Service. This will be the final storm update that I share with my readers on Dorian.
As of 9:00am EDT on 09/08/2019, we’ve exited full #StormMode. However, we will remain in partial #StormMode (meaning that we’ll continually monitor weather conditions & see if there’s any further tropical developments that could impact the US, while resuming normal website & social media activities) through the end of Hurricane Season, which is 11/30/2019.
Transit System Updates
At this time, all affected transit agencies (to the best of my knowledge) have restored transit services.
While creating my last couple of blog posts, I noticed that WordPress rolled out a few new editing blocks for me to insert. I’ve created this testing post so that I could try them out & see how I can incorporate some of these new features into future blog posts & page updates.
Okay, so the first CoBlock I inserted is one with a few buttons. You’re limited to four buttons per block, but it’s not necessarily bad. I’ve been able to modify the above setting so that there is adequate spacing between rows, otherwise, the layout looks very awkward.
The links that are connected to each button actually do work – they link to the respective pages on my Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority subsection. Since this new feature is available, I am considering replacing many of my graphical “buttons” with these.
Let’s check out some other things that I haven’t used
It’s honestly been a while since I’ve scrolled through all of the editing blocks that are available in the newer WordPress editing interface, & I’ve noticed a few that I previously did not see. Let’s check those blocks out now.
Videos with a caption sidebar. Nice!
The above block allows me to insert a photo or video & then do a quick write-up on the side – such by which would be longer in length than a normal underneath caption.
Welcome to my transit blog, where you can read up on transit-related topics ranging from fare evasion to service adjustments. Feel free to start a discussion if you please, just make sure that you keep things clean. All comments are moderated, meaning that I must approve all comments before they can show up on blog… Read more
In this third episode of Journeys Afar, I will begin showcasing my recent trip to the west coast – San Francisco, CA to be exact! While I didn’t think that this particular trip would happen so soon, I’m glad that I was able to embark on it when I did – as it was almost… Read more
While I’ve written several Transit Tourism type posts during the course of the past several years, I never really had a name for the series. But now I do! Journeys Afar will take you on a documented journey along my out-of-town trips by which I’m able to utilize public transportation. Such posts will include re-launches… Read more
Monday, November 11 is Veterans Day, with Friday, November 10, 2019 being observed by government offices. While most transit agencies that I cover will operate a normal weekday schedule on November 11, some agencies may have exceptions as to which routes will run. Other agencies (specifically some smaller agencies) will not operate at all on… Read more
Beginning Monday, November 4, 2019, through February of 2020, the TECOline Streetcar Line will experience a service interruption due to ballast replacement along the streetcar right of way between Cadrecha Plaza in Ybor City & Cumberland St in the Channelside District. Please see the map below for an overview of how service will operate during… Read more
Our November Showcase photo is here! Can you believe we’re almost at the end of 2019? Anyhow, we continue our journey across the US. Where to next you ask? If you happen to follow my HARTride 2012 page on Facebook, then you already know that I was given the opportunity to travel again – this… Read more
It’s time for students to return to school – & the school buses to hit the roads once again.
Well folks! It’s that time again! Time for many people to head back to school! & whether you’re a college student attending one of the local colleges or universities, or a parent trying to get some last minute school supply shopping done for your children, it is always important to know that with the school year starting back up, you can expect increased traffic on the roads. & yes, that includes those big yellow school buses!
In this Back to School Edition blog post, I will be highlighting the importance of school bus safety, because often times, we see accidents that involve a school bus. All 50 states in the US have laws that revolve around school buses, specifically laws that make it illegal to pass a school bus when it is stopped (and its red lights are flashing & signs are extended out). Sadly, there are too many incidents by which vehicles pass a stopped school bus as it is loading or unloading passengers, and some of those incidents have involved fatalities or serious injury.
Below, is a classic example of motorists not doing what they’re required to do. FOX 13 (WTVT) reported on this matter, along with several other local media outlets, in Port Richey, FL in 2018. Things got so bad along this portion of US Hwy 19 (which is already a massively busy highway to begin with) that the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office has to step in & hand out citations to the violators.
As always, I wish everyone that is headed back to the classroom a safe and wonderful school year!
Our August Showcase photo came in a bit late here on the website due to some personal obligations. However, it’s better late than never that I get this next post up, so…with that, we continue our journey across the US. Where to next you ask?
This month, we travel back to the Tampa Bay area to visit my current home transit system – the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA).
PSTA was established in 1982, when the St. Petersburg Municipal Transit System & the Central Pinellas Transit Authority merged to create one unified, countywide entity. PSTA currently operates roughly 40 bus routes with roughly 200 transit vehicles. The agency also provides support to the St. Petersburg Downtown Trolley (a.k.a. the “Looper”), the Clearwater Jolley Trolley, & participates in several different mobility partnerships across Pinellas County.
While PSTA does its best to provide efficient service throughout Pinellas, the agency has been dealing with many financial constraints that limits its potential. This problem is echoed by many transit agencies across the nation & is not expected to get much better unless new long-term funding sources are opened.
The photo above is of one of PSTA’s newest buses, # 19102, which is a 2019 35-foot Gillig Low Floor hybrid with the BRT style front. PSTA has gained a total of 20 transit buses & 8 cutaway vans during the past two years that have allowed the agency to rid itself of all of its 2001 & 2002-era buses, as well as a few of the worst performing 2008-series buses.
Next year’s bus order is slated to be rather large as well – with 19 replacement replica trolley buses to replace the aging 2007, 2008, & 2009 models, as well as roughly 15 more buses for the planned Central Ave BRT project. Additionally, there may be a provision – depending on funding – for up to 10 additional regular service buses. So thus, PSTA may very well be able to order a total of 44 buses.
In this episode of Transit 101, I will explain how to get from A to B via rail. If you’re riding a passenger rail system for the first time, you may be intimidated. Don’t worry though, it’s not as hard as you may think. However, there’s a few key things you’ll want to follow before heading out to the rail station.
Have your origin & destination stops in mind. Or at least the closest landmarks or other points of interest that will help you get to where you need to go. Need to plan out your trip? Check out Episode 1.
Allow enough time for departure & arrival. Ideally, you’ll want to get to your origin rail station no later than 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure. If your transit agency has a real-time transit tracker application, this can certainly help with knowing approximately what time your train will arrive. Need help with understanding a transit schedule? Check out Episode 2.
Have your fare ready. Unlike bus systems, rail systems will require that you have some form of purchased fare media ready – whether it be a pre-purchased mag-swipe card, tap-and-go card, or mobile fare payment application. Need to know more about transit fares? Check out Episode 3.
Heading to the origin rail station
Once you’ve been able to locate your starting train route & where the nearest station for that route & direction are located, you’ll want to leave promptly when it is time to do so in order to allow enough time to catch the train. If you’re having to use a bus route or two to reach your respective rail station, you will need to account for the time needed to get to the origin bus stop, travel time, & any transfers you’ll need to make, as well as weather conditions.
Also be mindful that not all rail systems will allow you to bring your bike with you – especially during peak times, so be sure to check with your respective transit agency as to what their policy is regarding bringing your bike with you on the train. Just like getting to a bus stop, weather conditions & other unforseen circumstances may make your journey more difficult.
Need to use the bus to connect to your train? Check out Episode 4.
Arriving at the rail station
Because many rail stations are uniquely constructed, identifying them can sometimes be more of a challenge than locating a bus stop. Even more confusing sometimes, is locating where the exact entrance is. Light rail, streetcar, commuter/suburban rail, intercity rail, & elevated subway/metro stations often have easily identifiable station entrances. With underground subway/metro stations though, some entrances can be obscured within existing buildings.
Once you’ve identified where the station entrance is, be sure to have your fare media ready to validate at the turnstile or validator machine. Virtually all subway/metro systems & some commuter/suburban rail systems have controlled access, where you must pass through traditional turnstiles with valid fare media before you can access the train platform. Other commuter/suburban rail systems, intercity rail systems, & streetcar/light rail systems typically have more of an open access protocol, where you are basically freely able to walk onto the train platform without encountering a turnstile or other gated access. However, you must still have valid fare media with you at all times – as transit agencies typically employ staff members who are required to check that your fare media is indeed valid.
While many rail stations have the option of purchasing fare media from a staffed booth on-site, many also have ticket vending machines where fare media can be purchased. Many transit agencies allow you to purchase transit passes/cards online & are also adopting mobile fare payment apps. Additionally, contactless bank cards are being adopted as an additional avenue to pay transit fares without having to have separate media in hand.
Once you’ve ensured that your valid fare media is ready, it’s time to proceed to the train platform. Just like riding the bus system, riding the train system can be challenging if you don’t know which platform your train will arrive on. Virtually all rail stations have signage of some sort to help lead you in the right direction – including which track & platform you’ll need to proceed to. If you’re traversing through a complex rail station with multiple lines & services, it’s extremely important that you follow the signs to the correct concourse by which your particular rail line will board at.
Waiting for the train to arrive
Once you’ve located the correct platform and track by which your train is set to arrive at, be sure to stand clear of the platform edge, as failing to do so can result in serious injury or even death (that’s not a joke folks). The platform edge is typically indicated by some form of special surface that is brightly colored (either white or yellow). Most subway/metro stations will have some form of limited basic seating available, but you should be courteous & offer such seats to those with disabilities, the elderly, expectant mothers, & young children. If you must stand, please stand a reasonable distance away from the platform edge, while not brushing up against other commuters.
While many light rail, streetcar, commuter, & intercity rail lines are powered either by overhead electrical wiring (also known as catenary wire) – with some commuter & intercity rail lines using diesel-powered trains, many subway/metro systems are powered by what is known as a third rail. This special beam (indicated in the second photo above) carries the electrical current that is needed to power the subway/metro train & can carry deadly results should a person make contact with it in any way while it’s live.
As you’re waiting for the train, you may notice some form of a countdown clock nearby to inform you of when the next train will arrive. Such clocks can come in the form of an LED display or LCD TV screen.
As the train approaches the station, you may hear an automated intercom announcement stating to step away from the platform edge & prepare to board the train. Please be sure to keep a reasonable distance from the train as it arrives, & wait until it has made a complete stop before attempting to board. Additionally, as a courtesy, you want to allow departing customers to exit the train first before attempting to board.
Once on board the train…
…find a seat & enjoy the ride! Keep in mind that there may be times where you will be standing – especially during peak hours. While many trains have ample seating, please always be mindful of any “Priority Seating” areas that are specifically designated for those with disabilities, the elderly, & expectant mothers. You’ll want want to offer these seats to such individuals if they board the train. Also, many subway/metro systems do not have special provisions – especially on older trains – so please be mindful to offer your seat to these individuals as trains become crowded.
Please be mindful of when your next stop will be. Unlike buses, there are no push buttons or cords to notify the operator as to when you wish to exit. You’ll want to have either a print or digital copy of the rail system map as reference for where to exit. Many newer trains have automated stop announcements & (in many cases as well) digital displays that show what the next stops are. Older trains should have static maps available. These tools will also help aid you in getting off at the right stop.
Handrails; when you’re able to reach onto one, hold tight, cause the train may travel fast.
Commuter/suburban & intercity rail trains are configured differently than subway/metro & light rail/streetcar trains. Many commuter & intercity rail cars have plush seating – with some seats having pull-down trays (like on commercial aircraft) or static tables (such as the ones pictured above). Many such trains also feature bar and/or dining cars available to add onto the customer experience. Again though, there are no special buttons or pull cords to indicate to the operator that you wish to exit, so it’s always helpful to have a map handy so that you know which stop to exit at. Also, be sure to have your valid fare media ready to show to on-board staff members in the event that they commence with a fare inspection (the latter also applies to many light rail/streetcar systems).
Exiting the train
When you’ve reached your destination station, be sure to stand close to the nearest exit door so that you can exit as quickly as possible. For your own safety, as well as the safety of others, refrain from pushing your way out of the train, as such can risk injury to yourself & others. On some commuter rail & many intercity rail lines, the boarding/de-boarding process may be a bit more similar to commercial aviation, so please be extra patient in these situations because different rules may apply.
Once off the train, step a reasonable distance away from the platform edge & allow others to exit & board. If you need to make a transfer, please be sure to locate signage that will lead you to the correct concourse, platform, & track. If exiting the station, follow the respective signs to exit the station.
In this episode of Transit 101, I will explain how to get from A to B via bus. If you’re riding a public bus system for the first time, you may be intimidated. Don’t worry though, it’s not as hard as you may think. However, there’s a few key things you’ll want to follow before heading out to the bus stop.
Have your origin & destination stops in mind. Or at least the closest landmarks or other points of interest that will help you get to where you need to go. Need to plan out your trip? Check out Episode 1.
Allow enough time for departure & arrival. Ideally, you’ll want to get to your origin bus stop no later than 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure. If your transit agency has a real-time transit tracker application, this can certainly help with knowing approximately what time your bus will arrive. Need help with understanding a transit schedule? Check out Episode 2.
Have your fare ready – whether it be exact change (cash), a pre-purchased mag-swipe card, tap-and-go card, or mobile fare payment application. Having your fare ready prior to the bus arriving at your stop allows for faster boarding & reduces the chance of the bus operator running behind schedule. Need to know more about transit fares? Check out Episode 3.
Heading to the origin bus stop
Once you’ve been able to locate your starting bus route & where the nearest bus stop for that route & direction are located, you’ll want to leave promptly when it is time to do so in order to allow enough time to catch the bus. While everyone has a different way of getting to & from their respective bus stops – including by bike, weather conditions & other unforseen circumstances may make your journey more difficult.
For example, let’s say you’re catching Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) Route 52 northbound from the stop at 62nd Ave N & 49th St N in Pinellas Park, FL, but your residence is about a 20 minute walk from the west. You want to catch the bus that is predicted to arrive at about 10:24am. This means you’ll want to be at the respective bus stop no later than about 10:14am. So try to leave your residence no later than 9:45am in this case so that you have enough time to get to your stop. For me, I tend to walk faster than others, but if you’re not a generally fast walker, or have mobility issues, then you’ll want to allow additional time as it pertains to your normal pace of travel.
Locating the bus stop
Locating your respective origin bus stop can sometimes be challenging, because not all stops look the same. Some stops can be distinguished by a simple concrete pad or a sidewalk with a designated bus stop sign (like the one above), while others will have the designated sign – along with a bench or even a covered shelter. It is very important though that you see the designated sign, as in most cases, the bus operator will only serve a bus stop with the designated sign posted at the location.
You sometimes may see stray benches on the side of the road with no bus stop sign to be found. Often times, this is the case because a bus route no longer travels through the area or stops have been moved or consolidated. The benches themselves may not belong to the transit agency, but rather a third party, and thus you should not solely rely on looking for the bench. Always look for the designated bus stop sign first.
Once you’ve found the bus stop sign, carefully look at which route it serves. You always want to make sure that you’re catching the correct route. Once you’ve confirmed that this is your stop, simply wait for the bus to arrive.
Note: If your transit agency has a real-time tracking application, you may have the ability to type in the designated bus stop ID number located on the bus stop sign. This will pinpoint your location in relation to the bus route & vehicle that you wish to catch.
Preparing to board
As the bus approaches your stop, you’ll want to step close to the curb, next to the bus stop sign and be prepared to board (please have your fare ready at this point for payment). To ensure that you’re boarding the correct bus, pay close attention to the headsign above the windshield. Many transit agencies have electronic (LED) headsigns that digitally display the route number (typically on the left side of the sign) and the destination. Some smaller agencies may rely on placards to show this information & such may be displayed in the windshield or along the side of the vehicle.
If you see that this is the bus that you want, simply motion to the bus operator (I typically hold my right arm and hand up to signal to the operator) to stop.
Now of course, if the bus that is approaching isn’t the one you need to board, step away from the curb and signal to the bus operator to continue along the route (I typically use my left arm to motion left-to-right repeatedly to indicate to the operate that “you’re not the bus I want to catch, keep going please). See the video below for an example.
During early morning or late evening hours – when it is dark outside, it’s helpful to wear bright clothing, as well as to carry a flash light or use the screen lighting from your cell phone to signal to the operator that you wish to board. If you’re using a flash light, please be careful not to shine the light directly towards the operator.
Once you’ve flagged down the bus that you need, just hop aboard…
Once on board the bus…
…you’ll first want to pay for your fare as instructed. For those using cash to pay for a one-way fare or purchase a day pass (mag-swipe card) on board the bus, simply insert your cash into the designated slots on the farebox. There will be a slot for dollar bills & a separate slot for coins. You’ll want to insert the bills first before inserting coins. If you’re purchasing a day pass, you’ll want to tell the bus operator that you’re doing so before inserting money so that he or she can enter the proper code on the farebox.
If you’re using a tap-and-go card (i.e. Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s STAR Card in Jacksonville, FL, or the Flamingo Fares Card in the Tampa Bay, FL Area), simply proceed to the on-board validator and tap your activated card against it. Once you see the screen acknowledge that your card is valid and the fare was deducted, then you’re good to go! For mobile fare payment apps, simply follow the on screen instructions. Some apps will work with a corresponding on-board validator for validating your fare, while other apps will require that you show the bus operator your activated ticket on screen.
Once you’ve paid your fare, find a seat, and relax. If you brought your bike on board the bus (see Episode 4), you’ll want to sit relatively close to the front of the bus so that you can see your bike on the bike rack. Please keep in mind that the seats closest to the bus operator may be designated as “Priority Seating”, meaning that those using mobility aids (including wheelchairs), the elderly, & expectant mothers will have seating priority. You’ll want to offer these seats to the elderly & expectant mothers. If someone using a mobility aid boards, you may be asked by the bus operator to vacate your seat if you are seated in the “Priority Seating” area.
State & Federal guidelines require that all individuals using mobility devices – such as a wheelchair or an electric scooter chair/power chair – be properly secured via a four-point harness system. This system uses special harnesses to secure the mobility device so that it does not shift while the bus is in motion.
Once you’re properly seated, simply enjoy the ride! Some transit agencies now provide amenities on board buses – such as USB charging ports & complimentary WiFi. If you decide to use your mobile device to listen to music or watch a video, please use headphones, as loud volume can disturb others on board. Below is a listing of other general rules to follow while on board.
Virtually all transit agencies forbid eating, drinking, & smoking on board the bus. Bottled water & infant formula are generally exceptions, but bottles must be closed when not in use.
Solicitation of any kind is also forbidden on board all transit vehicles.
Be courteous to your fellow riders & the bus operator by keeping conversations with other riders at a low volume. Please keep cell phone conversations at a low volume & to a minimum, & do not engage in unnecessary conversation with the bus operator – especially when the bus is in motion.
Weapons of any kind are not allowed – unless your particular country, state, or province has a law passed allowing for such.
Designated service animals are allowed on board to assist their respective owner. Some transit agencies may also allow small pets on board – given that they are properly secured in a carrier & not blocking aisles.
Strollers & carts should be folded & secured so as to not block aisles.
All customers should be properly dressed. Shirts, bottoms, & shoes are required.
Standees should hold firmly onto the handrails or overhead straps located on the bus.
Approaching your stop
Since transit buses cannot stop as fast as most personal vehicles, it is very important to signal to the bus operator when you need to get off. Most transit vehicles will be equipped with a stop request system that involves either pulling a cord or pressing a button to signal to the operator that you need to get off at the next stop.
Exiting the bus
If you’re able to, please try to exit the bus via the rear door – if there is one. If you need to retrieve your bike from the bike rack, please inform the operator & exit out the front door.
Never try to step in front of the bus unless you’re retrieving your bike, and never cross the street in front of or behind the bus. As much as possible, use designated crosswalks instead. If no crosswalk is available, wait for all traffic to clear before crossing – BUT BEWARE, some municipalities have strict jaywalking laws that by which you’ll be issued a hefty fine by law enforcement if they catch you, so once again…as much as possible, use designated crosswalks.
If exiting at a transit center or other transfer point by which buses pull up right behind another, parallel to the walkway/sidewalk, do not attempt to walk between buses, as the operator might not be able to see you. This is extremely dangerous!
Plus holiday schedules for other selected transit agencies
This combined post will cover special holiday service that Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) will be launching for the July 4th holiday, holiday schedules for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) & a few others, plus go over approved service changes for HART that will take place on Sunday, July 14, 2019.
So what exactly is HART doing for July 4?
Generally, HART has provided some form of extra transit service for the July 4th evening festivities – including extended streetcar service. However this year, they will be running two special complimentary shuttles in the downtown Tampa area to help shuttle people between points in downtown & the Marion Transit Center. This will make it convenient for those who don’t want to hassle with parking in downtown.
In addition to the above services, HART will operate its entire system FARE FREE that day. Just keep in mind that all routes will operate on a Sunday schedule & not all routes operate through 12-midnight. Below is a quick rundown of what times the last buses depart the Marion Transit Center.
Many transit agencies across the nation will operate limited to no service due to the holiday. Please be sure to plan accordingly if using transit.
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), StarMetro, the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX), & Miami-Dade Transit will also operate a Sunday schedule.
Votran will operate on a special holiday schedule. Please view the website for details.
Many other agencies – such as Pasco County Public Transportation & Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) will not operate. SunRail in Orlando will also not operate.
HART July Service Changes
Finally, I’d like to quickly highlight some of the system changes that HART will be rolling out on Sunday, July 14, 2019. These changes will mostly comprise of minor scheduling/time point changes, but three routes will be changed to help restore service lost during the Mission MAX system restructuring in 2017.
Schedules can be viewed on the HART website by selecting the menu button on the upper-right-hand corner, then selecting “Maps & Schedules”, then selecting “System Map & Schedules”, then selecting the routes drop-down box, & then scrolling down to the bottom listing within the drop-down that reads “HART Service Changes, Effective 7/14/19 – Coming Soon”.
Route 16 – Waters Ave: Will continue to serve the Rowlett Park loop on eastbound trips. However, buses will travel to the Yukon Transfer Center via Florida Ave after completing the loop & layover at the transfer facility. Buses will then travel straight to Northwest Transfer Center going westbound.
Route 30 – Kennedy Blvd/TPA Airport: Service in the WestShore Business District will be altered to restore fixed transit service to Cypress Point Park & the Social Security Administration offices off Cypress St. This area used to be served by Route 10 prior to its elimination during Mission MAX.
Route 39 – Busch Blvd: After completing the southbound/eastbound jog on Puritan Rd, 50th St, & Sligh Ave, buses will terminate at the NetPark Transfer Center. Westbound buses will not service 50th St & will continue directly to Northwest Transfer Center. Service to Yukon Transfer Center will NOT be restored at this time. It is unclear what HART may do in the future.
Routes 7, 8, 35, 37, and 38 will see minor scheduling changes during the weekdays, with Routes 14, 16, 30, 39, 45, and 46 seeing minor scheduling changes during the entire week.
I will begin updating my HART section here on the Global Transit Guidebook website soon. This will include a brand new route listing, an expanded transit vehicle photo gallery, & updated customer information.