Welcome to the Blog!

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 posts and web pages. So any comments that I find to be inappropriate or offensive will not be posted on the website. Periodically, I will have ”Focus Posts” and poll questions that deal with specific transit-related topics.

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Celebrating 10 Years of Transit Blogging

Can you believe that it’s been 10 years since I began blogging about public transit? I sure can’t! It almost seems just like yesterday that I put together The Tampa Transit Utopia Discussion and began to express my feelings and thoughts about public transit in my region and beyond. So what exactly have I done in these past 10 years when it comes to blogging about transit? Well, let’s take a quick look.

Besides all of the blog posts and content pages that you’ve likely seen, I’ve taken a trip to Belgium & France, a trip to Norfolk & Virginia Beach, two trips to New York City, & several trips to Orlando. I’ve also been able to decrease my dependency on a car and take transit much more often than I used to, which allows me to take stress off my aging and increasingly unreliable car. In addition, I’ve been able to utilize a variety of transit modes – including local & express bus, shuttle & flex van, light rail, commuter rail, monorail, funicular, and subway.

You can see in the collage above just some of the buses and trains that I’ve had an opportunity to ride on or at least photograph. I’ve enjoyed many combined rides on board Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT), Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT), Pasco County Public Transportation (PCPT), SunRail, LYNX, Votran, StarMetro, Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), and many others.

So what is my favorite transit system? Well, that’s a tough one. I would say PSTA is my favorite, with the New York City MTA being a very close second. PSTA is my favorite not only because it’s my home system, but because they’ve been able to make a lot of improvements over the past 10 years – despite the failure of the 2014 Greenlight Pinellas sales tax referendum. The MTA is my second favorite because I was able to get to so many destinations in the New York City region without having to jump into a car – all despite the hardships that commuters face each day on the buses & subway trains.

While HART will always have a place in my heart, I feel that local government is neglecting transportation in Hillsborough County to a point where it’s almost unbearable to use transit there, & it’s really sad that it’s come to this point. When you have too many people who think that transit is only for the poor & disabled & thus don’t think it’s worth it to fund the system unless you’re able to leverage blowing tons of money into interstate highway widening with nonsense toll lanes, it’s really sickening to be honest. Transportation should not be a partisan political football – period, and for that reason, I’ve been able to gradually increase my transit advocacy – including through my No Tax For Tracks Truth Page Presents – Away with Tampa Bay Next Facebook Page.

So what will the next 10 years bring? Well, more transit photos, videos, stories, and other content, as well as more involvement in transit advocacy. I also hope to be able to embark on a few more travels – including round 2 in Europe, round 3 in Tallahassee, round 4 in New York City, as well as possible trips to Miami, Jacksonville, & San Francisco. I also fully intend to keep my site around for at least another 10 years & am trying my best to execute an expansion that I’ve been planning for the past several months. My day job has been quite busy as of late, so it hasn’t allowed me to do as much updating as I would like.

Before I close out this post, I want to say thank you to all of my visitors & group members, as well as all those who have provided support & contributions to my site over the past 10 years. I also want to thank the many members, moderators, & administrators at SkyScraperCity for giving me inspiration to launch what is now The Global Transit Guidebook, & for continuing to support my endeavors along the way! Without your support, I would not be able to do what I do today. Thank you!


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Legalese | Disclosures

April, 2018 Photo of the Month

HART #1721 departs Britton Plaza on Route 19.

After taking a few months hiatus, the “Photo of the Month” showcase is back with Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) bus #1721. This is one of ten 2017 40′ Gillig Low Floor buses that the agency purchased using funds from a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant, adding to a 15-bus order that the agency already placed back in 2016.

Besides continuing HART’s trend of replacing older diesel buses with compressed natural gas (CNG) ones, this fleet (which ranges from #’s 1716 through 1725) was the first to feature the sleek BRT Plus styling that Gillig has provided its customers for the past few years. The Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX), Palm Tran, and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) are the three other Florida transit agencies that have these styled Gillig buses in their fleets.

The Gillig BRT Plus design differs from their regular BRT design in the sense that the sleek roof faring stretches across the entire length of the bus, instead of just having curved front and rear ends.

Transit 101 – Episode 4 – Bikes on transit

Ever wanted to take your bike with you when you embark on your transit commute? Well in many cases, you can! Many transit agencies have equipped their buses with bike racks, which allow for easy transport of your bike when going from A to B. Additionally, many transit agencies no longer require you to have a special permit to use this service.

In this episode of Transit 101, I’ll show you how easy it can be to bring your bike with you while riding the bus or train.


Bikes on Buses

You can see the bike rack that is attached to the front of this Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) bus.

As I mentioned a moment ago, many transit agencies have equipped their buses with bike racks. While many agencies use racks that can accommodate two bikes, some agencies use racks that can accommodate three. The way that the racks look may vary based on the supplier that the transit agency uses, but a wide array of bikes can be accommodated regardless of the type of rack used.

Below is a video from the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) illustrating how to use the bike rack on the front of the bus. Before the bus arrives at your stop, be sure to have your proper fare ready and step near the curb with your bike with you. It is a general courtesy to notify the operator of your bike before loading it onto the bike rack of the bus.

When unloading your bike, as illustrated in the video, notify the operator that you’re going to remove the bike from the rack and exit the bus through the front door.


Bikes on Trains

Two bikes are secured to the on-board bike rack on a SunRail Commuter Rail train car.

Many transit agencies that operate subway, light rail, or commuter rail systems will also allow customers to bring their bikes with them while on board a train. Specific rules may vary between agencies, including whether an on-board bike rack is available. Generally, older trains will not have on-board bike racks available – so if you’re allowed to take your bike with you, you’ll need to make sure that you hold your bike securely and keep all aisles and doors clear.

Accessing rail lines that do not utilize traditional fare gates or turnstiles are usually not an issue if you have your bike with you. However, accessing systems that do use such mechanisms can be very challenging and intimidating. In these situations, never attempt to lift your bike over a turnstile. Instead, utilize the service swing gate to access the rail platform. Always carry your bike up and down stairways and use elevators when they are available. Do not attempt to carry your bike onto an escalator, as you may wind up easily falling on the moving steps – which can result in serious injury or even death.

If a transit agency staff member or security guard is visible, it is generally advised that you notify them first so that they may assist you in getting your bike to and from the platform area. On older subway systems (like the New York City Subway), some entrances and exits may be configured in a manner by which entering or exiting the platform area with a bike may be impossible (for instance, the station exit only features a full-height revolving gate with metal bars). In these cases, simply proceed to the next available station that has a service swing gate.

If the station exit only features full-length revolving gates like this, do not attempt to exit, simply proceed to the next station. You don’t end up like this unlucky soul (who did not have a bike, but was attempting to evade fare). Credit: NY Post.

General Rules

While specific rules regarding bikes on transit vehicles may vary between transit agency, below are the general guidelines to follow when taking your bike with you on your transit journey.

In addition to the above, do your best to not create a situation by which you may be denied boarding because your bike is suddenly considered a safety hazard. Always be considerate of those around you and wait for exiting customers to leave the transit vehicle before boarding. Always keep doors and aisles clear, properly secure your bike, and follow instructions given by transit agency staff, security guards, and law enforcement officers. But above all, enjoy your transit journey with your bike close by!


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Legalese | Disclosures

Getting Around Pinellas During Spring Break 2018

It’s hard to believe that March is just around the corner, and with that comes the rush of college students and families from all across Pinellas County and beyond to enjoy the county’s award-winning beaches. Also along with that, comes a lot of traffic and parking headaches. In this post, I will break down some of the alternatives available to you should you join in on the Spring Break hustle and bustle.


Extra Transportation Options in Clearwater Beach

Looking towards Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach, a hotspot of tourist activity during Spring Break.

Let’s first begin in Clearwater Beach, which is extremely popular amongst county residents and visitors alike. In fact, the beach was just named the best beach in the United States by TripAdvisor, based on reader reviews. It’s also one of the most congested beach communities in Pinellas due to the massive amounts of traffic that come across the Memorial Causeway bridge each day during the peak tourist season.

To help alleviate some of the congestion and to promote an alternative option to get to and from Clearwater Beach, the City of Clearwater and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) collaborated last year to provide additional bus trips between the beach and designated park-and-ride lots in downtown Clearwater. While the initiative was considered a success, it was met with many challenges – including where to let customers on and off at once at Clearwater Beach.

For this year, PSTA – along with the City of Clearwater – constructed the Clearwater Beach Transit Center along the westbound lanes of the Memorial Causeway, just east of the Clearwater Beach roundabout.  This facility includes a bus pull-in bay that can accommodate up to three transit vehicles, as well as shelters for customers. The PSTA Suncoast Beach Trolley, as well as both Jolley Trolley routes (Beach and Coastal), will serve the facility.

Whether you’re driving into the Clearwater area, or using a PSTA bus route to connect to the trolleys, you can leave the driving to your bus operator and not have to worry about changing lanes or battling other visitors to find a parking space. I will tell you right now that finding parking in Clearwater Beach is extremely difficult during the peak tourist season, and you could be waiting over 15 minutes in some cases just to find a parking space.

For the Spring Break 2018 season, PSTA has created a page on its website where you can learn more about the expanded trolley service and park-and-ride lot locations. Buses will depart the park-and-ride lots every 15 minutes (with PSTA and Jolley Trolley vehicles alternating trips) and customers will be able to park at the lots for free. Once at Clearwater Beach, you will be able to exit at the Clearwater Beach Transit Center and will only need to walk a short distance to get to the powder white sand of the beach, or other nearby shopping and dining destinations.

Anyone who parks their vehicle at one of the designated Park-and-Ride Lots will receive a FREE day pass for use throughout the entire PSTA system.

In addition to the PSTA and Jolley Trolleys, the Clearwater Ferry is also making improvements to handle this year’s Spring Break crowds – by adding boats and boosting its schedule. The service is also planning to execute an expansion to Dunedin, with further plans to expand to other beachside destinations. Fares are $4.00 each way, with discounted fares available for Seniors, active Military members, and children.


Transportation Options to St. Pete Beach

A Central Ave Trolley vehicle at Pass-A-Grille.

St. Pete Beach is another tourist hotspot during Spring Break, but isn’t as congested as Clearwater Beach. Nonetheless, roadways can get jammed at times and parking can be a hassle. Additionally, roadway construction around Pass-A-Grille is making getting around a headache of its own.

PSTA provides trolley service to St. Pete Beach and Pass-A-Grille via the Central Avenue Trolley. The trolley operates every 20 minutes during the day on weekdays and every 30 minutes during the evening and all day on weekends. Please note that some trips may be delayed or rerouted due to construction in Pass-A-Grille. PSTA is currently exploring the possibility of truncating Central Avenue Trolley service at the Don Cesar Beach Resort stop, and having customers transfer to a shuttle bus or van to complete their trip to Pass-A-Grille.

St. Pete Beach also serves as the southern terminus for the Suncoast Beach Trolley – which departs every 30 minutes. You can catch either trolley at the Gulf Blvd/75th Ave transfer point and quickly get to and from the beaches – whether you’re coming from St. Pete, Clearwater, or somewhere in between.


What if I’m going to another beach?

Most of Pinellas’ award-winning beaches are served by either a PSTA bus or trolley, or the Jolley Trolley lines. The only exceptions are Fort Desoto Park/Beach, Honeymoon Island, Sunset Beach, and Fred Howard Park, as there is no transit service to these destinations. However, bicyclists can ride to these areas without having to venture too far off from a bus route or The Pinellas Trail system.

The Central Avenue Trolley serves the following destinations:

  • Pass-A-Grille Beach
  • St. Pete Beach (transfer point to the Suncoast Beach Trolley is at 75th Ave @ Gulf Blvd)
  • South Pasadena
  • Central Avenue Corridor & the historic Grand Central District
  • PSTA Grand Central Station
  • The Edge (Arts & Entertainment) District
  • Downtown St. Petersburg (including Beach Dr, Sundial Shoppes, and The Pier District)

The Suncoast Beach Trolley serves the following destinations:

  • St. Pete Beach
  • Treasure Island
  • Madeira Beach (including the John’s Pass Shopping District & Boardwalk)
  • Reddington Beaches (including Reddington Shores)
  • Indian Shores
  • Indian Rocks Beach
  • There are no stops in the Belleair Beach or Belleair Shores areas. Unfortunately, these communities are not very friendly to transit and do not wish to place any funding towards transit service, so thus there are no trolley stops in these communities.
  • Sand Key Beach
  • Clearwater Beach (including dining and entertainment)
  • PSTA Clearwater Beach Transit Center
  • Island Estates (early morning trips only)
  • PSTA Park St Terminal
  • Downtown Clearwater dining and entertainment
  • The Jolley Trolley Beach Route serves Island Estates after 10:00am. The route also serves many popular Clearwater Beach destinations throughout the day. Departure times are staggered so that you don’t have to wait too long for either a PSTA Suncoast Beach Trolley or a Jolley Trolley vehicle to arrive if you’re traversing the island.

The Jolley Trolley Coastal Route serves the following destinations:

  • Sand Key Beach
  • Clearwater Beach (including dining and entertainment)
  • PSTA Clearwater Beach Transit Center
  • Island Estates
  • PSTA Park St Terminal
  • Downtown Clearwater dining and entertainment
  • Various coastal destinations throughout Dunedin, Ozona, and Tarpon Springs – including the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks.

Regardless of where you venture off to via PSTA, be sure to download the Transit App before you go!


What other transportation options are available?

For those who aren’t using transit to get around, but still don’t want to rent a vehicle, you can utilize Uber and Lyft. Just keep in mind that surge pricing may be in effect during periods of high demand. Taxicab companies will also be busy shutting people around the area.

If you’re visiting Downtown St. Petersburg, you can also take advantage of Coast Bike Share. Fees are affordable and there are numerous hubs located throughout the city.


Going to Manatee County?

If you decide to venture into Manatee County during the week, Manatee County Area Transit continues to provide its award-winning Skyway ConneXion bus route (Route 203) with two trips per day, Monday through Friday. A one-way fare is $5.00 (with the intercounty fare being $3.00). A day pass can be purchased on board the bus for $10.00, which can be used on all MCAT bus routes. For more information, please visit the MCAT website.


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Legalese | Disclosures

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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Legalese | Disclosures

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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Legalese | Disclosures

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. As of 2/25/18, all PSTA GTFS data has been removed from OBA.

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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