Category Archives: Bus Service

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HART & HRT Service Changes – Effective 10/08/17

Sunday, October 8, 2017 is just around the corner, and there is much to talk about in this post. In addition to Hillsborough Area Regional Transit’s systemwide restructuring – called Mission MAX – Hampton Roads Transit is also enacting its own changes on the same day. HRT is also undergoing its own Transit Development Plan update and is considering undergoing a similar system restructuring to that of HART. I’ll delve more into HRT in a few moments, but first – let’s do one final rundown of the changes that we’re expecting to see on the HART system.


HART System Changes (Mission MAX)

HART has created a side-by-side comparison on which routes are changing, so that you’ll be able to easily see how each route operates now, versus after the restructuring takes effect. You can also view the summary list of the changes, an interactive system map – powered by Remix, and the new static system map. If you go to the Maps & Schedules Page on the HART website, you’ll be able to scroll all the way to the bottom of the routes drop-down menu to see the new schedules. Additionally, you can begin planning out how your new commute will shape up by going to Google Maps and using their transit trip planner. I have step-by-step instructions on how to use Google Maps’ transit trip planner, but you will want to do a couple of things before you begin mapping out your trip.

Does everything that I just wrote sound confusing? If so, let me break things down a bit:

  • A summary list of the changes is available on the HART website. This list goes through how each route is changing.
  • To view the new schedules for each individual HART route, simply go to the Maps & Schedules Page on the HART website, and select the routes drop-down menu on the left. Once you’ve opened up the drop-down menu, scroll all the way down to where you see “HART Service Changes, Effective: 10/8/17 – Coming Soon”. Beneath that divider, you will be able to view the new schedules.
  • You can view a side-by-side comparison of how each HART route looks like today, versus how they will look like after the restructuring takes effect. This tool is very helpful in determining how your commute will be impacted.
  • The new static system map will show how the entire HART system will look once the changes are in place.
  • You can also view an interactive system map that shows where each route travels to and from, as well as stop placement. The map is powered by Remix, which is a very powerful tool for transit agencies to use for planning – whether it be a large scale restructuring like what HART is doing, or a routine round of service changes. I’ve actually used the interactive mapping features when they were in demo mode (and open for general public use), and I can definitely see why many transit agencies like to use Remix as a tool for their transit system planning needs.
  • Lastly, you can go over to Google Maps and use their transit planning feature to view how your commute will shape up once the restructuring takes effect.
    • Simply click the blue diamond “directions” button on the upper left-hand corner of the page. Then, type the address of where you’re coming from and the address of where you’re going to.
    • Once your itinerary is mapped out, select the “train” icon at the top to launch the transit option.
    • Under the transit option, select the drop-down menu that reads “Leave Now”, and change it to “Depart at” or “Arrive by”, then change the date field to 10/8/17 or a date thereafter, and your desired arrival or departure time.
    • Now you can see which route options are available to you once the restructuring takes effect. You customize your commute further by using the “Schedule Explorer” tool on the bottom left if you wish.

If you have further questions about HART’s Mission MAX restructuring, please do not hesitate to reach out to them by calling (813)-254-4278, visiting the HART website, or reaching out to them via Social Media.


HRT System Changes

Now, let’s take a look at what HRT has in store for October 8, 2017. These changes are not as radical as Mission MAX, but as I mentioned earlier, HRT is working on its own TDP update, which calls for a systemwide examination of its services.


Changes taking effect in the Southside (Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, & Virginia Beach)

  • Route 2: The current detour on Route 2 will become permanent. No service will be provided to Naval Station Norfolk. The route will terminate at the NEX Mall. Schedule adjustments will be made.
  • Route 3: Minor schedule adjustments to improve adherence.
  • Route 21: The current detour on Route 21 will become permanent. No service will be provided to Naval Station Norfolk after 6:30 pm Monday through Friday. No service will be provided on weekends. The route will terminate at the NEX Mall. Schedule adjustments will be made.
  • Route 25: The route will be modified to provide service to Sentara Princess Anne Medical Complex. Service will be discontinued to the Municipal Center via Route 25. Service to the Municipal Center will be provided by Route 33.

  • Route 33: Minor schedule adjustments to improve adherence.

Changes taking effect in the Northside (Newport News & Hampton)

  • No changes are planned for this service change cycle.

Changes taking effect on the Express Routes

  • Route 919: All evening trips revised due to closure of Bainbridge Avenue and Franklin Street.
  • Route 922: The following morning trips will be discontinued due to low ridership:
    • 5:15 AM
    • 6:45 AM
    • All evening trips revised due to closure of Bainbridge Avenue and Franklin Street.

  • Route 960: The route will be revised to service Newtown Station. Service will be discontinued to Silverleaf Commuter Station. Route 960 will operate between Downtown Norfolk Transit Center and Arctic Avenue/19th Street with a stop at Newtown Station.

  • Route 965: All evening trips revised due to closure of Bainbridge Avenue and Franklin Street.


HRT Fare Changes

In 2014, HRT approved a two-phased systemwide fare increase, with the first phase taking effect October, 2014. With this second phase, the one-way base fare for local routes will be brought from $1.75 to $2.00, which is the same level that HART charges for a one-way local & limited express fare. The fare increase was conducted as a two-phased approach so that customers would not be negatively impacted by a single slew of fare increases all at once.

The new fares will take effect on Sunday, October 1, 2017

For a rundown of the new fares and frequently asked questions, please visit the HRT website.


HRT Transit Development Plan (TDP)

HRT is currently working on completing its TDP and is asking for public input. Two meetings will be held., one tonight and the other on Saturday, September 23, 2017. This TDP update calls for a systemwide examination of current services and recommends eliminating lower ridership routes and segments to pave the way for new services to higher demand areas. To view the recommendations and to provide comment, please visit the HRT website.


Please be sure to bookmark my website: hartride2012tampa.wordpress.com | Contact Me.

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HART Network Restructuring – Part 3

With the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) Board of Directors approving the massive network restructuring on August 7, 2017, the changes listed in this post will become effective on October 8, 2017. Over the next two months, I will be updating the various pages that I have published on the HART system to reflect the new network. Such changes will include a new route list, bus fleet roster, and transfer center information.


HART Public Hearing Video

If you weren’t able to attend the July 26, 2017 public hearing, you can watch it in its entirety below:


HART Board Meeting Video

I will have a link to the HART August 7, 2017 board meeting available here as soon as it is posted.


A breakdown of the Routes

Virtually every HART bus route was put up for review as to whether anything should be changed. While a few routes were spared from dramatic reductions, modifications, or an out-right elimination, many others aren’t faring as well – especially routes that serve lower ridership corridors.

The following links reflect the FINAL structure of the HART network as approved on August 7, 2017.

Overview of Changes

System Map Reflecting Changes

Interactive Map (times listed are for planning purposes only. Schedules will be laid out over the next two months and should be available by the first week of October).

Further info can be found on the HART System Restructuring/Transit Development Plan page.

  • Route 1
    • Route will no longer serve the vicinity north of Fletcher Ave. Buses will instead travel along Fletcher Ave (pre-MetroRapid alignment).
    • University North service would be taken over by Route 42 and HyperLINK service.
    • Weekday frequency will increase to 15 minute headways.
    • Further changes to the routing will be made in respects to Downtown Tampa circulation (see the “Downtown Tampa Circulation” section).
  • Route 2
    • Route 2 will be eliminated and replaced with optimized MetroRapid service.
    • Many stops will be consolidated with existing MetroRapid stops, while some stops become new MetroRapid stops.
  • Route 4
    • Route 4 will be eliminated entirely with no replacement service due to ultra low ridership.
    • Alternatives available include:
      • Route 360LX for MacDill AFB/South Interbay
      • HART Flex for Palma Ceia
      • Routes 14 & 19 for Hyde Park
      • HART Flex South Tampa will eventually expand to portions of South Tampa currently served by Route 4, but it is unclear as to when this will be done.
  • Route 5
    • Service from USF will be removed, with buses running along Fowler Ave and 30th St to the University Area Transit Center.
    • The USF Bull Runner Shuttle & HyperLINK would provide service into the USF Tampa Campus.
  • Route 6
    • Service from USF will be removed, with buses running along 56th St and Fletcher Ave to the University Area Transit Center.
    • The USF Bull Runner Shuttle & HyperLINK would provide service into the USF Tampa Campus.
  • Route 7
    • Service north of the HCC loop to Citrus Park will be eliminated entirely.
    • West Tampa Transfer Center will close permanently.
    • West Tampa segment will be revised to serve the North Blvd/Columbus Dr portion of current Route 14.
    • Route 11 will eventually replace the Main St segment.
  • Route 8
    • The original restructuring plan called for the removal of the loop in Progress Village, as well as other possible modifications. The loop will be removed due to safety concerns, but all other proposals have been removed.
    • Further changes to the routing will be made in respects to Downtown Tampa circulation (see the “Downtown Tampa Circulation” section).
  • Route 9
    • Route will be merged with Route 18.
    • The portion north of Hillsborough Ave will be eliminated and replaced with the following services:
      • East Tampa will continue to have access to Route 9 along 14th/15th Streets, Route 12 along 22nd St, and Route 5 along 34th St.
      • Sulphur Springs will continue to have access to the revised 9 service along Rowlett Park Blvd, Riverhills Dr, and 30th St. Customers will also be able to access to revised Route 16 along Waters Ave, which will replace a portion of Route 9 through this vicinity.
      • Route 42 will replace the segment of Route 9 between Yukon Transfer Center and University Area Transit Center.
  • Route 10
    • Much of Route 10 will be eliminated and replaced by nearby Route 11 (Cypress St corridor has ultra low ridership).
    • Portions of Route 10 will be taken over by South Tampa Flex.
  • Route 11%
    • New Route 11 will provide replacement service for those residing in West Tampa along Main St.
    • Due to construction along Main St, this route will not be implemented right away. See the notes at the bottom of this section.
  • Route 12%
    • Weekday frequency will increase to 15 minute headways.
  • Route 14
    • Portion south of MLK Blvd will change so that buses remain on Howard Ave/Armenia Ave for the entire length of the route, instead of diverting to Downtown via North Blvd.
    • North Blvd service south of Columbus Dr will be taken over by Routes 7 & 11.
    • Route 1 will provide alternate service for the portion of North Blvd that will be left without transit service.
    • Weekday frequency on the 14 will increase to 30 minute headways and Sunday hourly service will be added.
  • Route 15
    • Orient Rd segment will be removed & the Orient Rd Jail will no longer be served.
  • Route 16
    • Route will no longer serve the Yukon Transfer Center and will remain on Waters Ave, with the eastern terminus looping via 17th St, Sitka St, & Rowlett Park Dr, providing a connection to Routes 9 & 12.
    • Customers wishing to connect to the Yukon Transfer Center can transfer to Route 45 along Waters Ave.
  • Route 17
    • New Route 17 hourly service will take over the Manhattan Ave/Port Tampa portion of Route 19.
  • Route 18
    • Route 18 will be merged with Route 9 and will retain the portion north of Hillsborough Ave.
    • Customers residing south of Hillsborough Ave can access Routes 5 & 12 for alternate service.
  • Route 19
    • Route will be split at Britton Plaza, with the new Route 17 taking over the Manhattan Ave portion. The WestShore Blvd portion will be eliminated entirely due to lower ridership.
    • Routing through Hyde Park will remain mostly intact. However, only Northbound trips will serve Tampa General Hospital.
    • Weekday 30-minute frequency will expand to 10:00pm.
    • Saturday frequency will eventually increase to 30 minute headways, but it is unclear as to when this will occur.
    • Further changes to the routing will be made in respects to Downtown Tampa circulation (see the “Downtown Tampa Circulation” section).
  • Route 20X
    • No changes are being proposed for Route 20X, but running times may change.
  • Route 21LX
  • Route 22X
    • Route 22X will be eliminated and replaced by Route 60LX service. Route 46 would provide service between the Dover Park-N-Ride lot & Westfield Brandon, where customers can connect to the 60LX or 360LX to Downtown.
  • Route 24X
    • Route would be restructured to limited express operation, with new Downtown Tampa stops.
  • Route 25LX
    • Route would be modified with new Downtown Tampa stops.
  • Route 27LX
    • Route 28X will be eliminated entirely with no replacement service due to ultra low ridership.
    • Alternatives available include:
      • Routes 60LX & 360LX will provide alternating Monday through Saturday connections between Downtown Tampa & Brandon. Revised Routes 24LX & 25LX will also have Downtown connections during peak times.
      • Local connections to Westfield Brandon are provided via Routes 8, 31, 37, & 46.
  • Route 28X
    • Route 28X will be eliminated entirely with no replacement service due to ultra low ridership.
    • Customers can utilize TBARTA’s Vanpool Service by visiting the TBARTA Commuter Services website or calling 1-800-998-RIDE.
    • The Burnett Park Lot will become a Vanpool pickup/drop off location and will continue to serve Megabus trips. Other Park-N-Ride lots along the route will close.
  • Route 30
    • Western terminus will be moved to Tampa International Airport, with Route 60LX taking over the Town-N-Country portion.
  • Route 31
    • The original restructuring plan called for the 31 to be converted to an all-day limited express service, as well as other possible modifications. These modifications have been removed entirely due to customer concerns.
  • Route 32&
    • Segment east of NetPark Transfer Center will be taken over by Route 38.
    • Western terminus will extend to Tampa International Airport via Dale Mabry Hwy and International Plaza/Columbus Dr.
    • West Tampa Transfer Center will close permanently.
  • Route 33
    • Route will basically revert to its late 90s routing (before service to Hidden River was eliminated to take over the North Lakeview section of Route 36 during the system restructuring in the early 2000s) to replace the Hidden River section of MetroRapid.
    • University North service would be taken over by Route 42 and HyperLINK service.

      Route 33 as it was during the late 90s
  • Route 34%
    • No immediate changes will be made, but weekday frequency will eventually increase to 15 headways. See the note at the bottom of this section.
  • Route 36
    • Route will be modified to serve Dale Mabry Hwy between Tampa Bay Blvd and Britton Plaza.
    • Service south of Britton Plaza will be taken over by Route 360LX.
    • Buses will loop around the HCC Dale Mabry Campus by travelling Tampa Bay Blvd, Lois Ave, & MLK Blvd. Buses will then proceed northward on Himes Ave and follow the existing alignment to the Fletcher Ave loop.
    • Further changes may be made down the road to re-align the segment between Hillsborough Ave & Busch Blvd to Dale Mabry Hwy instead of Himes Ave.
    • West Tampa Transfer Center will close permanently.
  • Route 37
    • Service to Brandon Regional Hospital will be discontinued, with Route 46 and HyperLINK providing alternate service.
  • Route 38
    • New Route 38 will replace the hourly eastern segment of Route 32.
  • Route 39
    • Service to NetPark will be discontinued, with buses looping at Sligh Ave, 50th St, & Puritan Rd.
    • Yukon Transfer Center will no longer be served.
  • Route 41
    • Route 41 will be eliminated entirely with no replacement due to ultra low ridership.
  • Route 42
    • New Route 42 will serve heavier ridership areas in University North and University West that will suffer loses from the removal of Routes 1, 9, 18, & 33.
  • Route 45
    • Route will be modified as follows:
      • Service south of Waters Ave will remain largely unchanged, with the exception of service on Himes Ave being moved to Dale Mabry Hwy.
      • West Tampa Transfer Center will close permanently.
      • Service north of Waters Ave will replace Route 16 service to Yukon Transfer Center.
      • Service to University Mall will be offered via Route 12.
  • Route 46$$
    • Route will only serve areas in Brandon and Dover. The Causeway Blvd/Downtown segment will be eliminated entirely due to limited ridership and various expansion constraints.
  • Route 47LX
    • Route 47LX will be eliminated entirely with no replacement due to limited ridership.
    • Alternatives available include:
      • Route 31 local service for South County.
      • Routes 24X, 60LX, & 360LX for limited express connections to Downtown.
  • Route 51X
    • Segment along Fowler Ave and 56th St will be added to serve Temple Terrace City Hall.
  • Route 53LX$$$
    • Route 53LX will be eliminated entirely with no replacement due to limited ridership and various expansion constraints.
  • Route 57
    • Route will be eliminated with no replacement service due to low productivity and ridership.
    • Alternatives available include:
      • Route 6 for direct connections between NetPark Transfer Center and the University Area Transit Center.
      • HyperLINK for University North.
      • USF Bull Runner & HyperLINK for the USF Tampa Campus.
  • Route 60LX
    • Monday through Saturday all-day limited express service between Westfield Brandon Mall & Northwest Transfer Center via Downtown Tampa & Tampa International Airport, with buses operating every hour, replacing Route 30 through Town-N-Country & 61LX.
    • Departures from Westfield Brandon will be coordinated with Route 360LX to provide 30-minute headways between Brandon & Downtown.
    • Sunday service will operate hourly in Town-N-Country only (between Northwest Transfer Center & Tampa International Airport). There will be no Downtown or Brandon service.
  • Route 61LX
    • Route will be eliminated and replaced with Route 60LX service. Existing Park-N-Ride lots in Citrus Park & Carrollwood will become vanpool pickup/drop off locations.
  • Route 96 In-Towner^
    • No immediate changes will be made.
  • Route 97 In-Towner^
    • No immediate changes will be made.
  • Route 200X$
    • Route 200X will be eliminated entirely with no replacement service due to ultra low ridership.
    • Customers can utilize TBARTA’s Vanpool Service by visiting the TBARTA Commuter Services website or calling 1-800-998-RIDE.
  • Route 275LX%
    • New Monday through Friday all-day hourly limited express service will run between Tampa International Airport & the University Area Transit Center via Downtown Tampa/Marion Transit Center.
  • Route 360LX
    • Monday through Saturday all-day limited express service between Westfield Brandon Mall & MacDill AFB via Downtown Tampa, with buses operating every hour, replacing Route 22X.
    • Departures from Westfield Brandon will be coordinated with Route 60LX to provide 30-minute headways between Brandon & Downtown.
    • Sunday service will operate hourly in South Tampa only. There will be no Downtown or Brandon service.
  • MetroRapid North-South
    • MetroRapid North-South will absorb Route 2.
    • Existing stops will be kept, with some stops added on from Route 2.
    • Weekday frequency will increase to 12 minute headways during the day with 15-30 minute evening service.
    • Weekend service will be added with 30 minute headways.
  • HART Flex Brandon
    • Zone will be eliminated in favor of HyperLINK service.
  • HART Flex Northdale
    • No immediate changes will be made.
  • HART Flex South County
    • No immediate changes will be made.
  • HART Flex South Tampa
    • Northern boundary will extend to Cypress St to cover ground lost from Route 10. The fixed routing segment will also change.
    • Unclear if WestShore Plaza connection will be retained.
    • Possible expansion is being considered for areas south of Britton Plaza.
  • HART Flex Town-N-Country
    • No immediate changes will be made.
    • Zone will eventually be eliminated in favor of HyperLINK service.

Notes:

      • + Route 51X is undergoing changes that are unrelated to the service restructuring. Further changes may be made down the road to improve efficiency.
      • % Changes are being postponed until FY19.
      • ^ In-Towner Service is slated for elimination sometime in FY19, but may be retained longer due to Governor Scott vetoing funds that would have gone to starting up the Downtown Tampa HyperLINK zone. Alternative funding sources are being explored for the zone.
      • & It is currently unclear how expanded airport service will be structured. HART may have buses loop around the terminal as it currently does with Route 30. Sometime in late 2018, the airport stop will move from the main terminal complex to the new Rental Car Center, where buses will be able to load and unload airport customers, who will be able to connect with the new SkyConnect train to the main terminal.
      • $ Route 200X will eventually be replaced by PSTA’s planned replacement service from Clearwater, but this service is not expected to be up and running until sometime between 2020 and 2024. Contracted service may fill the gap for the interim, but HART currently does not have the resources to fulfill this.
      • $$ Depending on how additional county money is allocated, Route 46 may be retained largely as-is through FY19.
      • $$$ Route 53LX will be restored when additional funding becomes available.
      • * Tampa Bay Express has been re-branded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) as “Tampa Bay Next”, but the controversial interstate toll lane elements remain as a key element to the plan, which is not sitting well with many in the community.

Permanent Closure of West Tampa Transfer Center

The West Tampa Transfer Center will permanently close as part of the system restructuring.

With the demise of the Tampa Bay Center Mall in the early 2000s, HART began exploring sites for a replacement transfer facility in the West Tampa region. While several sites were originally evaluated, the current location along Himes Ave was eventually chosen.

I’ve personally have never been a fan of the West Tampa Transfer Center. I strongly believe that HART management at the time chose the “cheap way out” in building what could have been a more lucrative, long-term transit hub for the area. The current location of the WTTC is extremely inefficient during events at Raymond James Stadium because the facility sits right across the street from the stadium and must close due to traffic and security limitations. This operation forces buses to load and unload customers along MacDill Ave by MLK Blvd.

Closing the WTTC permanently will allow customers in the area to make street-side transfers while allowing buses to run more efficiently throughout the day.


Downtown Tampa Circulation

#1522 running down Morgan St in downtown Tampa.

As the HART system restructuring progresses, all local bus routes that currently service the Marion St Transitway will be moved off the Transitway to Morgan St, with Route 1 – which doesn’t currently serve the Transitway – making a loop around Tampa St and Florida Ave, but continuing to serve the Marion Transit Center. HART is taking a phased approach to this portion of the restructuring, but it is unclear when each of the movements will occur (some – like Routes 1 and 19 – will occur in October, 2017, but others will occur later).

At some point between 2018 and 2021, HART plans to launch an autonomous shuttle along the Transitway to shuttle customers between the south end of the Transitway and Marion Transit Center. Longer term plans have HART restructuring the Transitway to serve the regional express buses mentioned in the controversial Tampa Bay Express* plan.

There was previously discussion regarding the building of light rail along the Transitway, but from what I’m hearing, that plan has been deemed unfeasible due to limitations brought upon the current Downtown Tampa street grid. If the TECOline Streetcar were to be extended northward, it is likely it will be done so via the Franklin St Mall portion between Whiting St and Kennedy Blvd.

The In-Towner Trolley service will be retained for the meantime (see note at the bottom of this section), but will eventually face elimination in 2019 or 2020, as the current fleet of trolleybuses are approaching the end of their useful lives. Funding is currently being explored for a Downtown Tampa HyperLINK zone and the Tampa Downtown Partnership “Downtowner” Shuttle Service would provide additional alternative circulation in the Downtown area.


HART Resources

For complete information regarding the HART system restructuring, please visit the HART website, where they have a dedicated page with materials for you to look at. The HART Board of Directors will vote on the final restructuring plan at the August 7, 2017 meeting.


Please be sure to bookmark my website: hartride2012tampa.wordpress.com | Contact Me.

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

Legalese | Disclosures

HART Network Restructuring – Part 2

I was originally going to publish this post sooner, but the intricacies of pulling off such a dramatic bus network restructuring, as well as concerns from the riding public, forced me to postpone this post until after the July 26, 2017 public hearing.

Throughout the past few months, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) has been reaching out to as many customers as possible about the planned restructuring and gaining valuable feedback on what customers are needing. While a majority of customers want more frequent and direct bus service to the places that matter to them, others are worried that their bus route could be eliminated altogether.

In my last post, I went through an overview as to why HART is proposing such a restructuring of their bus network. While it is completely understandable that with limited funds, HART can only do so much, it really angers me that many of our elected officials will not allocate additional resources to fund the bus system. Furthermore, it angers me when some of the same elected officials who don’t want to put another dime towards improving bus service think that it’s terrific to allow the state to spend billions of dollars on the controversial Tampa Bay Express* interstate toll lanes, touting the lanes as “the only way” to significantly improve the region’s transit network.


HART Public Hearing Video

If you weren’t able to attend the July 26, 2017 public hearing, you can watch it in its entirety below:


A breakdown of the Routes

Virtually every HART bus route was put up for review as to whether anything should be changed. While a few routes were spared from dramatic reductions, modifications, or an out-right elimination, many others aren’t faring as well – especially routes that serve lower ridership corridors.

View the latest system restructuring map with additional revisions as of July 26, 2017. Further revisions we’re made on July 31, 2017.

Black = No Changes

Green = Frequency Improvements

Blue = Routing Changes

Dark Blue = Routing Changes with Frequency Improvements

Sky Blue: New Route

Magenta = New Route replacing Existing Service

Gold = Merging/Splitting

Orange = Elimination with Replacement Service

 


Red = Elimination without Replacement Service (Alternative Services May Be Available)

  • Route 1
    • Route will no longer serve the vicinity north of Fletcher Ave. Buses will instead travel along Fletcher Ave (pre-MetroRapid alignment).
    • University North service would be taken over by Route 42 and HyperLINK service.
    • Weekday frequency will increase to 15 minute headways.
    • Further changes to the routing will be made in respects to Downtown Tampa circulation (see the “Downtown Tampa Circulation” section).
  • Route 2
    • Route 2 will be eliminated and replaced with optimized MetroRapid service.
    • Many stops will be consolidated with existing MetroRapid stops, while some stops become new MetroRapid stops.
  • Route 4
    • Route 4 will be eliminated entirely with no replacement service due to ultra low ridership.
    • Alternatives available include:
      • Route 360LX for MacDill AFB/South Interbay
      • HART Flex for Palma Ceia
      • Routes 14 & 19 for Hyde Park
      • HART Flex South Tampa will eventually expand to portions of South Tampa currently served by Route 4, but it is unclear as to when this will be done.
  • Route 5
    • Service from USF will be removed, with buses running along Fowler Ave and 30th St to the University Area Transit Center.
    • The USF Bull Runner Shuttle & HyperLINK would provide service into the USF Tampa Campus.
  • Route 6
    • Service from USF will be removed, with buses running along 56th St and Fletcher Ave to the University Area Transit Center.
    • The USF Bull Runner Shuttle & HyperLINK would provide service into the USF Tampa Campus.
  • Route 7
    • Service north of the HCC loop to Citrus Park will be eliminated entirely.
    • West Tampa Transfer Center will close permanently.
    • West Tampa segment will be revised to serve the North Blvd/Columbus Dr portion of current Route 14.
    • Route 11 will eventually replace the Main St segment.
  • Route 8
    • The original restructuring plan called for the removal of the loop in Progress Village, as well as other possible modifications. These modifications have been removed entirely due to customer concerns.
    • Further changes to the routing will be made in respects to Downtown Tampa circulation (see the “Downtown Tampa Circulation” section).
  • Route 9
    • Route will be merged with Route 18.
    • The portion north of Hillsborough Ave will be eliminated and replaced with the following services:
      • East Tampa will continue to have access to Route 9 along 14th/15th Streets, Route 12 along 22nd St, and Route 5 along 34th St.
      • Sulphur Springs will continue to have access to the revised 9 service along Rowlett Park Blvd, Riverhills Dr, and 30th St. Customers will also be able to access to revised Route 16 along Waters Ave, which will replace a portion of Route 9 through this vicinity.
      • Route 42 will replace the segment of Route 9 between Yukon Transfer Center and University Area Transit Center.
  • Route 10
    • Much of Route 10 will be eliminated and replaced by nearby Route 11 (Cypress St corridor has ultra low ridership).
    • Portions of Route 10 will be taken over by South Tampa Flex.
  • Route 11%
    • New Route 11 will provide replacement service for those residing in West Tampa along Main St.
    • Due to construction along Main St, this route will not be implemented right away. See the notes at the bottom of this section.
  • Route 12%
    • Weekday frequency will increase to 15 minute headways.
  • Route 14
    • Portion south of MLK Blvd will change so that buses remain on Howard Ave/Armenia Ave for the entire length of the route, instead of diverting to Downtown via North Blvd.
    • North Blvd service south of Columbus Dr will be taken over by Routes 7 & 11.
    • Route 1 will provide alternate service for the portion of North Blvd that will be left without transit service.
    • Weekday frequency on the 14 will increase to 30 minute headways and Sunday hourly service will be added.
  • Route 15
    • Orient Rd segment will be removed & the Orient Rd Jail will no longer be served.
  • Route 16
    • Route will no longer serve the Yukon Transfer Center and will remain on Waters Ave, with the eastern terminus looping via 17th St, Sitka St, & Rowlett Park Dr, providing a connection to Routes 9 & 12.
    • Customers wishing to connect to the Yukon Transfer Center can transfer to Route 45 along Waters Ave.
  • Route 17
    • New Route 17 hourly service will take over the Manhattan Ave/Port Tampa portion of Route 19.
  • Route 18
    • Route 18 will be merged with Route 9 and will retain the portion north of Hillsborough Ave.
    • Customers residing south of Hillsborough Ave can access Routes 5 & 12 for alternate service.
  • Route 19
    • Route will be split at Britton Plaza, with the new Route 17 taking over the Manhattan Ave portion. The WestShore Blvd portion will be eliminated entirely due to lower ridership.
    • Routing through Hyde Park will remain intact.
    • Weekday 30-minute frequency will expand to 10:00pm.
    • Saturday frequency will eventually increase to 30 minute headways, but it is unclear as to when this will occur.
    • Further changes to the routing will be made in respects to Downtown Tampa circulation (see the “Downtown Tampa Circulation” section).
  • Route 20X
    • No changes are being proposed for Route 20X, but running times may change.
  • Route 21LX
  • Route 22X
    • Route 22X will be eliminated and replaced by Route 60LX service. Route 46 would provide service between the Dover Park-N-Ride lot & Westfield Brandon, where customers can connect to the 60LX or 360LX to Downtown.
  • Route 24X
    • Route would be restructured to limited express operation, with new Downtown Tampa stops.
  • Route 25LX
    • Route would be modified with new Downtown Tampa stops.
  • Route 27LX
    • Route 28X will be eliminated entirely with no replacement service due to ultra low ridership.
    • Alternatives available include:
      • Routes 60LX & 360LX will provide alternating Monday through Saturday connections between Downtown Tampa & Brandon. Revised Routes 24LX & 25LX will also have Downtown connections during peak times.
      • Local connections to Westfield Brandon are provided via Routes 8, 31, 37, & 46.
  • Route 28X
    • Route 28X will be eliminated entirely with no replacement service due to ultra low ridership.
    • Customers can utilize TBARTA’s Vanpool Service by visiting the TBARTA Commuter Services website or calling 1-800-998-RIDE.
    • The Burnett Park Lot will become a Vanpool pickup/drop off location and will continue to serve Megabus trips. Other Park-N-Ride lots along the route will close.
  • Route 30
    • Western terminus will be moved to Tampa International Airport, with Route 60LX taking over the Town-N-Country portion.
  • Route 31
    • The original restructuring plan called for the 31 to be converted to an all-day limited express service, as well as other possible modifications. These modifications have been removed entirely due to customer concerns.
  • Route 32&
    • Segment east of NetPark Transfer Center will be taken over by Route 38.
    • Western terminus will extend to Tampa International Airport via Dale Mabry Hwy and International Plaza/Columbus Dr.
    • West Tampa Transfer Center will close permanently.
  • Route 33
    • Route will basically revert to its late 90s routing (before service to Hidden River was eliminated to take over the North Lakeview section of Route 36 during the system restructuring in the early 2000s) to replace the Hidden River section of MetroRapid.
    • University North service would be taken over by Route 42 and HyperLINK service.

      Route 33 as it was during the late 90s
  • Route 34%
    • No immediate changes will be made, but weekday frequency will eventually increase to 15 headways. See the note at the bottom of this section.
  • Route 36
    • Route will be modified to serve Dale Mabry Hwy between Tampa Bay Blvd and Britton Plaza.
    • Service south of Britton Plaza will be taken over by Route 360LX.
    • Buses will loop around the HCC Dale Mabry Campus by travelling Tampa Bay Blvd, Lois Ave, & MLK Blvd. Buses will then proceed northward on Himes Ave and follow the existing alignment to the Fletcher Ave loop.
    • Further changes may be made down the road to re-align the segment between Hillsborough Ave & Busch Blvd to Dale Mabry Hwy instead of Himes Ave.
    • West Tampa Transfer Center will close permanently.
  • Route 37
    • Service to Brandon Regional Hospital will be discontinued, with Route 46 and HyperLINK providing alternate service.
  • Route 38
    • New Route 38 will replace the hourly eastern segment of Route 32.
  • Route 39
    • Service to NetPark will be discontinued, with buses looping at Sligh Ave, 50th St, & Puritan Rd.
    • Yukon Transfer Center will no longer be served.
  • Route 41
    • Route 41 will be eliminated entirely with no replacement due to ultra low ridership.
  • Route 42
    • New Route 42 will serve heavier ridership areas in University North and University West that will suffer loses from the removal of Routes 1, 9, 18, & 33.
  • Route 45
    • Route will be modified as follows:
      • Service south of Waters Ave will remain largely unchanged, with the exception of service on Himes Ave being moved to Dale Mabry Hwy.
      • West Tampa Transfer Center will close permanently.
      • Service north of Waters Ave will replace Route 16 service to Yukon Transfer Center.
      • Service to University Mall will be offered via Route 12.
  • Route 46$$
    • Route will only serve areas in Brandon and Dover. The Causeway Blvd/Downtown segment will be eliminated entirely due to limited ridership and various expansion constraints.
  • Route 47LX
    • Route 47LX will be eliminated entirely with no replacement due to limited ridership.
    • Alternatives available include:
      • Route 31 local service for South County.
      • Routes 24X, 60LX, & 360LX for limited express connections to Downtown.
  • Route 51X
    • Segment along Fowler Ave and 56th St will be added to serve Temple Terrace City Hall.
    • Route 53LX$$$
      • Route 53LX will be eliminated entirely with no replacement due to limited ridership and various expansion constraints.
    • Route 60LX
      • Monday through Saturday all-day limited express service between Westfield Brandon Mall & Northwest Transfer Center via Downtown Tampa & Tampa International Airport, with buses operating every hour, replacing Route 30 through Town-N-Country & 61LX.
      • Departures from Westfield Brandon will be coordinated with Route 360LX to provide 30-minute headways between Brandon & Downtown.
      • Sunday service will operate hourly in Town-N-Country only (between Northwest Transfer Center & Tampa International Airport). There will be no Downtown or Brandon service.
    • Route 61LX
      • Route will be eliminated and replaced with Route 60LX service. Existing Park-N-Ride lots in Citrus Park & Carrollwood will become vanpool pickup/drop off locations.
    • Route 57
      • Route will be eliminated with no replacement service due to low productivity and ridership.
      • Alternatives available include:
        • Route 6 for direct connections between NetPark Transfer Center and the University Area Transit Center.
        • HyperLINK for University North.
        • USF Bull Runner & HyperLINK for the USF Tampa Campus.
    • Route 96 In-Towner^
      • No immediate changes will be made.
    • Route 97 In-Towner^
      • No immediate changes will be made.
    • Route 200X$
      • Route 200X will be eliminated entirely with no replacement service due to ultra low ridership.
      • Customers can utilize TBARTA’s Vanpool Service by visiting the TBARTA Commuter Services website or calling 1-800-998-RIDE.
    • Route 275LX%
      • New Monday through Friday all-day hourly limited express service will run between Tampa International Airport & the University Area Transit Center via Downtown Tampa/Marion Transit Center.
    • Route 360LX
      • Monday through Saturday all-day limited express service between Westfield Brandon Mall & MacDill AFB via Downtown Tampa, with buses operating every hour, replacing Route 22X.
      • Departures from Westfield Brandon will be coordinated with Route 60LX to provide 30-minute headways between Brandon & Downtown.
      • Sunday service will operate hourly in South Tampa only. There will be no Downtown or Brandon service.
    • MetroRapid North-South
      • MetroRapid North-South will absorb Route 2.
      • Existing stops will be kept, with some stops added on from Route 2.
      • Weekday frequency will increase to 12 minute headways during the day with 15-30 minute evening service.
      • Weekend service will be added with 30 minute headways.
    • HART Flex Brandon
      • Zone will be eliminated in favor of HyperLINK service.
    • HART Flex Northdale
      • No immediate changes will be made.
    • HART Flex South County
      • No immediate changes will be made.
    • HART Flex South Tampa
      • Northern boundary will extend to Cypress St to cover ground lost from Route 10. The fixed routing segment will also change.
      • Unclear if WestShore Plaza connection will be retained.
      • Possible expansion is being considered for areas south of Britton Plaza.
    • HART Flex Town-N-Country
      • No immediate changes will be made.
      • Zone will eventually be eliminated in favor of HyperLINK service.

Notes:

      • + Route 51X is undergoing changes that are unrelated to the service restructuring. Further changes may be made down the road to improve efficiency.
      • % Changes are being postponed until FY19.
      • ^ In-Towner Service is slated for elimination sometime in FY19, but may be retained longer due to Governor Scott vetoing funds that would have gone to starting up the Downtown Tampa HyperLINK zone. Alternative funding sources are being explored for the zone.
      • & It is currently unclear how expanded airport service will be structured. HART may have buses loop around the terminal as it currently does with Route 30. Sometime in late 2018, the airport stop will move from the main terminal complex to the new Rental Car Center, where buses will be able to load and unload airport customers, who will be able to connect with the new SkyConnect train to the main terminal.
      • $ Route 200X will eventually be replaced by PSTA’s planned replacement service from Clearwater, but this service is not expected to be up and running until sometime between 2020 and 2024. Contracted service may fill the gap for the interim, but HART currently does not have the resources to fulfill this.
      • $$ Depending on how additional county money is allocated, Route 46 may be retained largely as-is through FY19.
      • $$$ Route 53LX will be restored when additional funding becomes available.
      • * Tampa Bay Express has been re-branded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) as “Tampa Bay Next”, but the controversial interstate toll lane elements remain as a key element to the plan, which is not sitting well with many in the community.

Permanent Closure of West Tampa Transfer Center

The West Tampa Transfer Center will permanently close as part of the system restructuring.

With the demise of the Tampa Bay Center Mall in the early 2000s, HART began exploring sites for a replacement transfer facility in the West Tampa region. While several sites were originally evaluated, the current location along Himes Ave was eventually chosen.

I’ve personally have never been a fan of the West Tampa Transfer Center. I strongly believe that HART management at the time chose the “cheap way out” in building what could have been a more lucrative, long-term transit hub for the area. The current location of the WTTC is extremely inefficient during events at Raymond James Stadium because the facility sits right across the street from the stadium and must close due to traffic and security limitations. This operation forces buses to load and unload customers along MacDill Ave by MLK Blvd.

Closing the WTTC permanently will allow customers in the area to make street-side transfers while allowing buses to run more efficiently throughout the day.


Downtown Tampa Circulation

#1522 running down Morgan St in downtown Tampa.

As the HART system restructuring progresses, all local bus routes that currently service the Marion St Transitway will be moved off the Transitway to Morgan St, with Route 1 – which doesn’t currently serve the Transitway – making a loop around Tampa St and Florida Ave, but continuing to serve the Marion Transit Center. HART is taking a phased approach to this portion of the restructuring, but it is unclear when each of the movements will occur (some will occur in October, 2017, but others will occur later).

At some point between 2018 and 2021, HART plans to launch an autonomous shuttle along the Transitway to shuttle customers between the south end of the Transitway and Marion Transit Center. Longer term plans have HART restructuring the Transitway to serve the regional express buses mentioned in the controversial Tampa Bay Express* plan.

There was previously discussion regarding the building of light rail along the Transitway, but from what I’m hearing, that plan has been deemed unfeasible due to limitations brought upon the current Downtown Tampa street grid. If the TECOline Streetcar were to be extended northward, it is likely it will be done so via the Franklin St Mall portion between Whiting St and Kennedy Blvd.

The In-Towner Trolley service will be retained for the meantime (see note at the bottom of this section), but will eventually face elimination in 2019 or 2020, as the current fleet of trolleybuses are approaching the end of their useful lives. Funding is currently being explored for a Downtown Tampa HyperLINK zone and the Tampa Downtown Partnership “Downtowner” Shuttle Service would provide additional alternative circulation in the Downtown area.


HART Resources

For complete information regarding the HART system restructuring, please visit the HART website, where they have a dedicated page with materials for you to look at. The HART Board of Directors will vote on the final restructuring plan at the August 7, 2017 meeting.


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Legalese | Disclosures

HART Service Changes – Effective 3/26/17

On Sunday, March 26, 2017, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) will enact minor scheduling and running time changes to Routes 5, 7, 12, and 32. On Monday, March 27, changes will be effective on Routes 31, 36, 46, 47LX, 53LX, 57, and 200X.

The most significant changes are that Routes 36 and 46 get a weeknight service boost. Instead of the routes cutting off after 9:00pm, both routes will have trips running as late as 11:00pm. Schedules can be obtained at gohart.org, and printed schedules will be available after March 19, 2017.


Overview of Service Changes


Route 00400 MetroRapid – Minor running time changes.

Route 00005 Route 5 – Minor running time changes on weekends.

Route 00007ARoute 00007B Route 7 – Minor running time changes on all service days.

Route 00012 Route 12 – Minor running time changes on all service days.

Route 00031 Route 31 – Minor running time changes.

Route 00032 Route 32 – Minor running time changes on weekends.

Route 00036 Route 36 – Weekday service between Carrollwood and Britton Plaza extended to 11:00pm in both directions. Running times changed.

Route 00046 Route 46 – Weekday service extended to 10:00pm for eastbound and 11:00pm for westbound. Running times changed.

Route 00047LX Route 47LX – Minor running time changes.

Route 00053LX Route 53LX – Minor running time changes.

Route 00057 Route 57 – Minor running time changes on all service days.

Route 00200X Route 200X – Minor running time changes.

Picture670 TECOline Streetcar – Morning Service Pilot Project ends on 3/24/17, so schedules will revert back to the prior scheme with some running time changes. Read more about the outcome of the pilot project on HART’s Blog.


What about New Tampa Flex?

For those of you wondering about if and when the planned New Tampa Flex route will launch, unfortunately, the plans are on hold for now. Due to falling ridership across the nation, and possible funding reductions at the state and federal levels, plus a possible shakeup of TBARA and the ongoing controversy around Tampa Bay Express – HART is currently preparing for the grim possibility of enacting across-the-board service cuts come 2019. It’s something that I’ve been fearing for a long time and I hope that key routes will not be cut. However, some lower ridership routes may be re-aligned, merged, or eliminated, and much of the entire HART network as it stands today will radically change over the next few years. Also expect to see some services converted into Flex routes and others into HyperLINK zones.


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Legalese | Disclosures

PSTA Board votes to purchase two battery electric buses

FB_IMG_1487842544573.jpg

At the February 22, 2017 board meeting, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority board voted to purchase two 35-foot battery electric transit buses, plus a charging station from BYD Motors at a cost not to exceed $2,200,000. Nine members voted for the purchase while five voted against. One or two members were not present at the meeting.

The vote to purchase the two buses caps off what has been nearly two years of analysis and discussion within the agency, and between elected and community leaders, and citizens. The move also quells what could have been a very heated debate between environmental advocates who championed the agency to take part in the pilot project and Tea Party conservatives who were insistent that PSTA had broken a prior obligation to revert to purchasing only straight diesel transit bus purchases following the failed Greenlight Pinellas initiative.

The idea of PSTA taking part in an electric bus pilot project surfaced sometime in 2014, but gained momentum in 2015. During the course of mid 2015; four manufacturers were brought in to showcase their vehicles and convey their benefits to PSTA leaders, elected officials, and riders. First was Proterra Inc., followed by BYD, Complete Coach Works, and New Flyer.

In 2016, further analysis and research was done to examine costs and benefits to PSTA, as well as decide whether the investment was well worth it. During this time, there was a lot of misconceptions going around that the initial costs of the purchase would far outweigh the long term benefits of the electric buses, as well as misconceptions that straight diesel buses were a much economical choice over the battery electric buses and even the existing hybrid buses that the agency was purchasing.

In late 2016, the issue was brought up as to how to pay for the charging station, as PSTA only had resources available for the buses themselves. Pinellas County leaders ultimately voted to allocate a portion of settlement money from the 2010 BP oil spill incident in the Gulf of Mexico towards the purchase of the charging station. The City of St. Petersburg has also expressed chipping in funds for the pilot project and ongoing operation of the buses, and Duke Energy has expressed its desire to assist with the project as well.

Concerns regarding the cost of the electric buses and whether it was worth it for the agency to purchase them stirred the five board members who ultimately voted against the move. County Commissioner Brian Scott was specifically concerned about a recent report that came out from the Tampa Bay Times regarding the dire financial limitations on both PSTA and neighboring Hillsborough Area Regional Transit. Tea Party conservative Barbara Haselden, who served as head of No Tax For Tracks Pinellas, voiced criticism towards the board for not following through on what she sees as taxpayer wishes to create an economically sound and efficient transit system by reverting back to only purchasing straight diesel transit buses.

Once the buses are in operation, it is very likely that they will be used as part of an enhanced circulator route in Downtown St. Petersburg. There is currently a study underway to re-evaluate downtown circulator service. The buses will also complement three 35-foot Gillig Low Floor Hybrid Drive BRT style transit buses that are in place for the agency’s 2018 bus fleet order. While no official timeline has been set for the production and delivery of the BYD buses, it is likely that they will arrive sometime in late 2018. The Gillig buses will likely be numbered 18101 through 18103, while the BYD buses will likely be assigned unit numbers 18110 and 18111.

Read the full Meeting Agenda


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Legalese | Disclosures

Winter 2017 Service Change Roundup – PSTA, Votran, and HRT

late-winter-2017-service-change-banner-1

It’s that time again; time to implement another round of service changes. This time, I was a tad late in posting the January, 2017 changes for Hampton Roads Transit and Volusia County Transit. So I decided to roll in those changes into one blog post with the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority’s February, 2017 service changes.

This round of changes saw mostly frequency and/or span of service increases for both PSTA and Votran, while HRT saw a round of scheduling and/or routing adjustments and two route eliminations. The biggest change for HRT is the discontinuation of hold requests.

What exactly is a hold request? Let’s say that you’re on the last trip of the evening and need to make a transfer. But the bus that you’re transferring to departs three minutes before the bus that you’re on is scheduled to arrive at the transfer point. Some transit agencies will allow you to place a hold request so that the bus that you’re transferring to will wait a few extra minutes for you to arrive.

With transit agency budgets getting tighter and efficiency improvements becoming more important than ever before, many transit agencies have decided to do away with hold requests to help keep buses running on time. PSTA is one of the transit agencies in West Central Florida that continues to honor hold requests. HART revised its hold request procedures a few years ago to where customers can only place a hold request during the last two trips of the evening, though exceptions may be made during the first trip of the morning.


Hampton Roads Transit (HRT)

Here’s a brief overview of the service changes that took effect for HRT back on January 16, 2017.

  • Route 25: Minor scheduling changes were enacted to improve efficiency.
  • Route 33: Routing changes were enacted near the Artic Ave & 19th St Transfer Point to improve efficiency. Please see the graphic below for details.c9231ce1-34f0-4790-96f0-7eb0a38b2182
  • Route 55: The last three trips departing Greenbriar Mall were adjusted to improve connectivity to other routes at the Robert Hall Transfer Point.
  • Route 57: Western terminus adjusted from Sunkist Rd/Airline Blvd. to Airline Blvd. and Quailshire Ln.
  • Route 58: The Mains Creek Rd deviation was discontinued. Buses now stay on Libertyville Rd between Mullen Rd & Great Bridge Blvd. Please see the graphic below for details.

5ad047b7-2aa0-40a1-9284-a80dcad5d1da

  • Changes to the Robert Hall Transfer Point: The transfer point was split into two boarding zones to expedite easier and quicker transfers. Zone A serves Routes 14, 55, 57, & 58, while Zone B serves Routes 6 ,13, & 15.
bfad869a-61bb-420b-babd-c500c16f8cf2
Credit: HRT
  • Route 101: Minor scheduling changes were enacted to improve efficiency.
  • Route 107: Scheduling changes were made to improve connectivity other routes at Patrick Henry Mall.
  • Route 111: Routing changes were made to the Jefferson Ave segment to where buses travel bi-directionally along Jefferson Ave, Thimble Shoals Blvd, Fishing Point Dr, and City Center Blvd.  Northbound buses previously traveled clockwise via Jefferson Ave, City Center Blvd, Fishing Point Blvd, Thimble Shoals Blvd, and then back to Jefferson Ave and City Center Blvd. Please see the graphic below for details.

687ec6a2-c83d-45cc-82b8-dc50bf426dae

  • Route 968 (Route Elimination): This route was operating on a test basis to evaluate transit service to key employment centers. Unfortunately, it was eliminated due to ultra-low ridership.
  • Route 969 (Route Elimination): This route was operating on a test basis to evaluate transit service to key employment centers. Unfortunately, it was eliminated due to ultra-low ridership.

Changes to the HRT Website

Locating bus schedules on www.gohrt.com has changed.  All routes are now separated by area (i.e. Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton) with separate pages on the Peninsula Commuter and Metro Area Express routes remaining intact. Previously, you could view a list of northside and southside bus routes without having to go through the area pages.


Volusia County Transit (Votran)

Here’s a brief overview of the service changes that took effect for Votran back on January 24, 2017.

  • Route 20: Frequency was increased from hourly service to every 30 minutes Monday through Saturday, interlining with Route 60 was discontinued, and the northern terminus was shifted to the Amelia Ave SuperStop (Transfer Point) by the Northgate Shopping Center. The DeLand WalMart on US Hwy 17 is now only served by southbound trips to the Market Place Transfer Point.
  • Routes 21 & 22: Departure times from the Market Place Transfer Point were changed to :25 past the hour to allow quicker transfers between these routes and the improved Route 20. The first trips of the morning on both the 21 & 22 no longer enter Deltona City Center.
  • Route 23: Departure times from the Market Place Transfer Center were changed to :20 past the hour.
  • Route 33: The SunRail weekday feeder route between DuPont Lakes and the DeBary SunRail station is no longer classified as an express route. Buses will stop at all marked Votran bus stops along the route.
  • Routes 40 & 41: Timepoint changes were enacted to alleviate confusion with the Julia St/US Hwy 1 interline point.
  • Route 60: Frequency was increased from hourly service to every 30 minutes Monday through Saturday, interlining with Route 20 was discontinued, and the western terminus was shifted to the Amelia Ave SuperStop (Transfer Point) by the Northgate Shopping Center. Customers wishing to visit the WalMart on US 17 will need to transfer to Route 20.

View updated schedules at www.votran.org


Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA)

Here’s a brief overview of the service changes that took effect for PSTA back on February 5, 2017.

  • Route 4: Sunday service now ends after 9:00pm, instead of ending after 5:00pm.
  • Route 7: Saturday service now ends after 9:00pm, instead of ending after 6:00pm. Sunday service now ends after 8:00pm, instead of ending after 5:00pm.
  • Route 11: Sunday service now ends after 6:00pm instead of ending after 4:00pm. Also, Sunday frequency is now hourly throughout the day. Previously, buses ran every two hours throughout the day on Sundays.
  • Route 14: Service now ends after 9:00pm Monday through Saturday and after 8:00pm on Sundays. Service previously ended after 8:00pm on weekdays, after 7:00pm on Saturdays, and after 5:00pm on Sundays. Sunday frequency has also increased from every two hours to hourly service.
  • Routes 18 & 19: Sunday service now runs through 8:00pm (Route 18) & 9:00pm (Route 19) respectively. Both routes used to end after 5:00pm on Sundays.
  • Route 23: Sunday service now ends after 7:00pm, instead of ending after 5:00pm. Sunday frequency has also increased from every two hours to hourly service.
  • Route 52: Saturday frequency was increased from hourly service to every 30 minutes.
  • Route 59: Saturday frequency was increased from hourly service to every 30 minutes; and weekday service now runs through 11:00pm, instead of ending after 8:00pm.
  • Route 61: Minor scheduling changes were enacted to improve efficiency.
  • Route 66L: A northbound trip from the Park St Terminal in Clearwater was added, with the bus departing at 6:05am.
  • Route 73: Saturday frequency is now hourly throughout the day. Previously, buses ran roughly every two hours throughout the day.
  • Route 76: Minor scheduling changes were enacted to improve efficiency.
  • Route 78: The last three weekday round trips now depart the Park St Terminal in Clearwater at 6:10pm, 7:25pm, & 8:35pm. These trips previously departed at 5:40pm, 6:55pm, & 8:05pm respectively. Saturday frequency was increased from hourly service to every 30 minutes. Sunday frequency was increased from every hour & 10 minutes to every 35 minutes.
  • Route 79: Minor scheduling changes were enacted to improve efficiency.
  • Route 98: Whitney Rd deviation was discontinued. Buses now stay on East Bay Dr/Roosevelt Blvd at the US 19 interchange. Those wishing to make transfers to & from the 98 can do so at the stop along Roosevelt Blvd & Dodge St.
  • Route 813 – North County Connector – Dunedin/Palm Harbor: Route has been split into two separate routes to allow for better flex service in the Safety Harbor area. The 813 will continue to serve Westfield Countryside, the Dunedin & Palm Harbor areas, & the Palm Harbor WalMart, and departure times have changed to reflect the split.
  • Route 814 – North County Connector – Safety Harbor (New Route): The Safety Harbor portion of the 813 is now the 814, serving Westfield Countryside, the Safety Harbor area, & Philippe Park every hour Monday through Saturday. The new route replaces the Safety Harbor Jolley Trolley.
  • Jolley Trolley – Safety Harbor Branch (Route Elimination): After a three-year run, the Safety Harbor branch of the Jolley Trolley was eliminated due to funding changes (the city of Safety Habor elected not to continue funding for the trolley beyond 2016).
  • New Hours for TD Late Shift: 10:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m.

View updated schedules at www.psta.net


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Legalese | Disclosures

PSTA OCTOBER 2, 2016 SERVICE CHANGES – PARTS 2 AND 3

On Sunday, October 2, 2016; the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) enacted a major revamp of key bus routes with the goal of streamlining service and improving efficiency and reliability throughout the system. These changes include the introduction of four new bus routes and substantial changes to 12 others – including the Jolley Trolley. I was originally going to make three posts in the series, with this post discussing changes made to key central Pinellas routes. However, due to Hurricane Matthew, I’ve decided to combine the two into one post.


Improving Clearwater and Northern Pinellas Service

Various routes in Central and Northern Pinellas were revised to improve system efficiency and eliminate notoriously long runs that caused entire routes to be inefficient. The most radical change was in North Pinellas, where routes in Dunedin, Tarpon Springs, Countryside, and Clearwater were changed.


img_20160927_070803-captioned-and-watermarked

 

route-59

With almost never-ending construction on Ulmerton Rd, Route 59 was continually bogged down in delays – which in-turn caused the entire route to run inefficiently. To help remedy this problem, the 59 was truncated at the 34th St N Platform, with the southern sections being taken over by Routes 4 and 9. Weekday frequency was also streamlined to include 15-minute peak service with 30-minute midday service (with the exception of a 15-minute “pulse” during the noon hours), and 40 to 45-minute evening service (after 6:00pm). Weekend service was left unchanged due to funding constraints, but February 2017’s service changes will yield 30-minute Saturday service and buses running through 11:00pm on weekdays, 10:00pm on Saturdays, and 9:00pm on Sundays.


15113-route-60-2016-09-03-captioned

route-60Route 60 saw no major changes, but did see adjustments made to running and departure times to improve efficiency.

 


IMG_20160325_072210route-61Route 61 was extended to Westfield Countryside via SR 580 to create an additional option for those wanting to commute between the Countryside, Dunedin, and Clearwater areas. The area around Palm Lake Village continues to be served, but the segment of SR 580 between Pinehurst Rd and County Rd 1 is no longer served, and the north-south portion in Dunedin was re-aligned to  Patricia Ave.


route-62Route 62 no longer serves Safety Harbor, and has instead been realigned to operate along SR 580 and McMullen Booth Rd between Westfield Countryside and the Shoppes at Boot Ranch. Service lost from the 62 was compensated via a revised Dunedin/Palm Harbor Connector.


route-66lSince the implementation of the Jolley Trolley Coastal Route back in the late 2000s, service along Alt US Hwy 19 has seen duplication of what could be one single service. PSTA and the company operating the Jolley Trolley agreed to combine the resources of the 66 and the Jolley Trolley Coastal Route into one trolley route. The 66 numbering was retained for a limited stop service that would follow the original local 66’s routing between Clearwater and Tarpon Springs, but service only operates during peak hours on weekdays, in addition to the AM and PM runs to the Clearwater Fundamental Middle School when class is in session.

IMG_20151205_074133

route-67Route 67 was streamlined so that all trips serve the Nielsen Media Research Campus in Oldsmar. The Forest Lakes Blvd segment between Commerce Rd and Tampa Rd was eliminated. Those in the southern portion of the Forest Lakes subdivision can still use the Tampa/Oldsmar Connector.


route-76Route 76 did not see significant changes to its routing or schedule, but an intermittent service area was added in Downtown Clearwater in the event that the route needs to be detoured due to downtown events.


route-78Route 78’s Dunedin portion was re-aligned to serve the Douglas Ave portion of the 61. Scheduling changes were also made.

 


Changes to the North County Connector

The Tampa/Oldsmar Connector was re-aligned to serve Belcher Rd instead of Countryside Blvd due to demand. Schedules have also been streamlined to where buses now operate every hour on Saturdays, instead of every hour and 15 minutes with the prior route, and buses run a bit later in the day as well.

The Dunedin/Palm Harbor Connector was re-aligned to serve the Safety Harbor/Main St portion of Route 62, while the limited trips to the St. Petersburg College Tarpon Springs Campus was eliminated due to low ridership. Schedules have also been streamlined and buses run a bit later than they used to under the old route.


What’s Next?

Starting February 5, 2017, PSTA will enact another round of service changes that will usher in expanded service for many Pinellas routes. This is able to be done thanks to the increase in the millage rate that PSTA receives from property tax revenues.


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Gasparilla 2017

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

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 28, starting at 2:00pm.

Roadway Closures and Parking Info

On Friday, January 27, the day before the parade (that is TOMORROW as of the publishing of this post), 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 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.

Routes 7, 8, 14, 19, & 30 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!!!

  • Routes 7 & 14 WILL NOT SERVE CASS ST. Instead, both routes will travel along Palm Ave from N. Boulevard and then follow Tampa St/Scott St into downtown (outbound will use Marion St/Henderson Ave/Florida Ave to Palm Ave).
  • Route 8 will be detoured via Nuccio Pkwy & Cass St. The normal route through Channelside and southern Downtown WILL NOT BE SERVED.
  • Routes 19 & 30 will be detoured via Howard/Armenia and I-275. The Platt/Cleveland/Brorien/Davis Island segments of Route 19 & the Kennedy Blvd segment of Route 30 east of Armenia/Howard WILL NOT BE SERVED.
    • Please make alternate arrangements if you are needing to get to/from Tampa General Hospital, as shuttle service may not be available.
    • If you reside in the Town-N-Country area, you can park your car at the Northwest Transfer Center and use Route 30 to connect to the Gasparilla festivities!
  • 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 9:00am and run roughly every 15 to 20 minutes through 7:00pm. 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.

The Cross-Bay Ferry will NOT OPERATE!!!

For those hoping to hitch a ride on the ferry this Saturday, sorry folks! This is due to US Coast Guard regulations in place during the parade.


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


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Greater Dayton RTA Service Suspension – What you need to know

Strike Force and Labor Dispute_0.jpg

It’s not too often that I report on transit happenings occurring outside of my coverage areas. However, in extenuating circumstances that could cause long-term impacts upon a transit agency while causing short to mid-term service disruptions – it’s important to know what your options may be if transit services are suddenly not available.

In the Dayton, OH region, many transit customers rely on the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority to provide bus and paratransit services each day. The area’s school district also contracts with the transit agency to provide basic bus service to and from schools. In Florida, most of the respective school districts provide their own busing to transport students to and from school.

During the past several months, a labor dispute has threatened to cripple transit services if left unresolved. Unionized employees have continually alleged that their needs for better pay and benefits have been left ignored by agency management. Despite several efforts to try and negotiate through the situation without incident, those talks have failed.

As of 12-midnight this morning, the unionized GDRTA employees are on strike, leaving regular bus services completely suspended and paratransit services operating at bare minimum levels until further notice. While many have been bracing for the possibility of a widespread service interruption in a worst-case-scenario for some time, other customers were left scrambling for transportation options as of this morning.


How did this happen?

Two key issues by which the unionized GDRTA employees – represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1385 – are demanding that management resolve are pay and medical benefits. Workers state that there has been no pay raise since April 2014 and that they have not been properly compensated for overtime. Additionally, increased costs in health care have prompted the agency to make unpopular changes in their employee’s medical benefits. So far, the two sides have been unable to come to an agreement and the union announced its intent to go on strike in late December of 2016, with January 8th being the “make it, or break it moment”.


What you need to know going forward

There’s no doubt that as the AM rush hour starts to dwindle that many are left stranded, wondering how they’ll get to where they need to go. While the strike is in effect, expect increased traffic as those who have access to a personal vehicle but normally use transit will be on the roads. Additionally, ride sharing and taxi services will be to capacity and a speedy pickup may not be available. While biking, walking, carpooling, and telecommuting may be an option for some, it will not be an option for many others.

For those who rely on paratransit services (also known as Project Mobility), you should contact (937) 425-8300 for further information and scheduling a next-day trip. You can monitor updates through local media outlets and through social media. Frequently Asked Questions are posted to the RTA website.


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HART Route 97 makes a comeback on 12/10/16

On December 4, 2016, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) will be enacting some minor scheduling and/or routing changes to improve efficiency throughout the system. Such changes will be enacted on Routes 24X, 25LX, 37, and 96. However, the most significant change will take place on December 10, 2016; when the agency is slated to revive Trolleybus Route 97 – this time under the fresh “In-Towner” branding.

Please visit www.gohart.org for schedules.


Overview of the Service Changes

Service Change notice from HART.
Service Change notice from HART.

Route 97 Reintroduction

This next section will discuss both the old and the new Route 97


The Original Route 97

downtown-old
The original Route 97 as it operated between 2008 and 2012 (see the Green Line). Credit: HART.

HART originally ran Route 97 as a weekend trolley service in Downtown Tampa to compliment the existing Route 96. Route 97 service was funded through the City of Tampa, and would begin service at 6:00pm Friday night and ran through 2:00am Saturday morning. The service would then repeat on Saturday at 6:00pm, running through 2:00am Sunday morning. In 2012, the 97 was eliminated as budget woes hit both HART and the city. City funding ultimately went into helping to maintain the 96.


City events test demand for a revival of the Saturday Trolley

During the past few months, HART and the City of Tampa have been working on ways to better serve the downtown area without hurting each other’s budgets. In October, HART began  to operate a trial Saturday trolley service during large-scale events in Downtown Tampa – such as MegaCon. These trials were funded by the city and have been well received by customers from what I heard. Reviving trolley service on Saturdays will allow for customers to have an alternative to driving and parking – even for those who just want to take a walk or jog along the Riverwalk, or connect to the Streetcar to have lunch in Ybor City.


What the new service will bring

The new Route 97 will be shaped as depicted above.
The new Route 97 will be shaped as depicted above. Credit: HART.

The new 97 will operate on Saturdays between 11:00am and 7:00pm, with 30-minute frequency. However, during larger downtown events, the city may step in to help fund additional service. Additional service may include increased frequency and/or service hours. Below, is a quick glance at the basic schedule, which is subject to change – so please be sure to visit www.gohart.org for the latest information.

97-basic-schedule
The basic schedule for the new Route 97. Select the image for a larger view.

And one more note; OneBusAway tracking will be available for the 97 when it operates its basic schedule. Additional services will not be trackable until improvements to the OBA application are introduced by which special services are able to be tracked. If this ever happens is really anyone’s guess.


Other service changes – Effective 12/4/16 or 12/5/16

In addition to the reintroduction of the 97, HART will be enacting minor scheduling and/or routing changes to Routes 24X, 25LX, 37, and 96. These changes mainly encompass making detour routing from August and October, 2016 permanent fixtures.


Routes 24X and 25LX – Effective 12/5/16

A map depicting the new routing for Routes 24X and 25LX during the AM rush. Credit: HART.
A map depicting the new routing for Routes 24X and 25LX during the AM rush. Credit: HART.

Routes 24X and 25LX, which serve the South Interbay region of South Tampa on weekdays from the Brandon/Riverview area, will be seeing a change in routing during the AM service hours. PM routing will remain unchanged. Please see the maps below for both AM and PM routing. Schedules have been tweaked accordingly to reflect the changes.

Route 24X.
Route 24X.
Route 25LX.
Route 25LX.

Route 37 – Effective 12/4/16

Changes to Route 37 at the Hillsborough Community College Brandon Campus. Credit: HART.
Changes to Route 37 at the Hillsborough Community College Brandon Campus. Credit: HART.

Route 37 has previously served the Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Brandon Campus via Columbus Dr, which was previously the campus’ sole entrance/exit. In 2015, a second entrance/exit was added to the campus in the form of Nancy Watkins Dr. In August, 2016 – after several months of planning – HART enacted a temporary detour for Route 37 buses serving the HCC campus. Buses now travel in a clockwise direction from Falkenburg Rd, to Nancy Watkins Dr, curving around the east border of the campus to Columbus Dr, and then back onto Falkenburg. The previous on-campus stop was removed in favor of adding a stop on the north end of the campus on Nancy Watkins Dr. Schedules have been tweaked accordingly to reflect the changes.

Please note that the HCC Brandon Campus is NOT SERVED prior to 6:00am on weekdays, on weekends, and other times when classes are not in session (such as holiday breaks).


Route 96 – Effective 12/5/16

In October, 2016, the routing for Route 96 – the In-Towner Weekday – was changed to better serve key portions of Downtown Tampa and the Channelside District. The detour routing from October will now be permanent. Schedules have been tweaked accordingly to reflect the changes.

96-map-nov-16
The permanent route for the 96 will follow the detour routing that was enacted back in October, 2016.

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