HART December, 2018 Service Changes

HART Routes 45, 60LX, 360LX, & the TECOline Streetcar

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) will be enacting a few route changes on Sunday, December 2, 2018. Changes include routing/scheduling changes to Routes 45, 60LX, & 360LX, as well as minor scheduling changes for the TECOline Streetcar Line.

Note: These changes were already in the works prior to the passage of the All For Transportation referendum & would have been enacted regardless of the election results on November 6, 2018.

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Thanksgiving Weekend 2018 Holiday Transit Schedules

Family, Shopping, and Attractions

Thanksgiving is almost here, meaning that you can spend some quality time with family and enjoy a hearty meal. It also means that the shopping hubbub that Black Friday often brings to our various retail establishments. And on top of that, the Thanksgiving weekend is often jammed packed full of specials and savings at local attractions.

But what does this all mean for you, the transit rider? It means that you’ll need to plan accordingly to get from A to B, because many transit agencies will operate limited to no service on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 22, 2018. Thus, you’ll want to pay close attention to the listing below to see if your area’s transit agency will be operating that day.

This year, I’ve been able to gather information on a wider array o transit agencies within the US. Please keep in mind that this list is NOT INCLUSIVE of all transit agencies within the US, so if you do not see your respective agency here, please contact them directly.

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Sarasota County Area Transit sells express bus fleet to Hillsborough Area Regional Transit

A New Life

Post was updated on 11/25/2018.
Please see the bottom of this post for the updated information.


Many transit agencies go through vehicle replenishment on a regular basis. Here in the United States, most transit vehicles operate anywhere from 10 to 15 years before it’s time for the agency to bid farewell and retire them. Some agencies however will keep buses on the road longer if the need is there – like if a new bus order is delayed or additional demand arises, while others may part ways earlier than planned if the vehicles are no longer needed – many instances due to shrinking budgets and service reductions.

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PSTA Bus Fleet – September, 2018

#2116 at Williams Park. I last saw this bus in operation back in February, 2018.

Something that I don’t talk about too often via a blog post is bus fleet changes. And for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), there’s been a ton going on recently – old buses leaving, new buses arriving or on order, and sadly…buses getting into accidents.

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Labor Day 2018 Holiday Transit Schedule

Monday, September 3, 2018 is Labor Day and many transit agencies will be running limited service, with some agencies not operating at all. As always, please see the listing below to see what level of service that each transit district will operate.


Select the image for a closer look.

Service Exceptions and Notes

Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) bus routes will not operate, except for the Anna Maria and Beach Express Trolleys. Schedules can be obtained at www.ridemcat.org.

Votran Routes 1, 3, 4, 10, 15, & 17 will operate on a normal Sunday schedule. Routes 20, 21, & 23 will operate on a special Holiday schedule with 60 minute headways on Route 23, and two hour headways on Routes 20 & 21. Routes 40 & 41 will also operate on a special Holiday schedule with two hour headways. All other routes – including Routes 31, 32, & 33 – will not operate. Schedules can be obtained at www.votran.org.

To view holiday service schedules for the Gainesville RTS system, please visit their website at go-rts.com, Once on the homepage, hover over “Schedules” and select the “Fall 2018” button (schedules are updated in accordance with the college calendars at the University of Florida). Once on the schedules page, select the “Holiday/Reduced” button to view which routes will operate.

Select the image for a closer look.

Service Exceptions and Notes

Chicago CTA Website

PACE Website (Chicago area suburban bus services)

Metra Website (Chicago area Commuter Rail services)

Select the image for a closer look.

Select the image for a closer look.

Service Exceptions and Notes

NYCMTA Website

NY/NJ PATH Website

NJ Transit Website

SEVT “Moover” Website

SEVT “The Current” Website

Rabbit Transit Website

Select the image for a closer look.

Service Exceptions and Notes

Virginia Beach WAVE Trolley/Shuttle services will begin their fall service reductions after Labor Day. Please see below for the following information.

  • Route 30 – Atlantic Ave Trolley: Will continue to operate its normal daily schedule until Sunday, September 30, 2018.
  • Route 31 – Campground Shuttle: Will be discontinued for the season.
  • Route 35 – Bayfront Shuttle: Will reduce service to operate on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only until Sunday, September 30, 2018.

Customer Service

Select the image for a closer look.

Additional Notes

Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) are available throughout the following locations for customer convenience.

  • HART (Tampa, FL): All major transit centers (Downtown/Marion, University, NetPark, Northwest, & Yukon). TVMs along the TECOline Streetcar Corridor are being removed in preparation of Fare-Free Streetcar Service, which will officially launch in October of 2018.
  • HRT (Norfolk/Hampton, VA): Updated locations.

Normal Transit Service Resumption

Regular weekday transit services will resume on Tuesday, September 4, 2017.


Disclaimer

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


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The Back To School 2018 Post

It’s time for students to return to school – and the school buses to hit the roads once again.

Well folks! It’s that time again! Time for many people to head back to school! And whether you’re a college student attending one of the local colleges or universities, or a parent trying to get some last minute school supply shopping done for your children, it is always important to know that with the school year starting back up, you can expect increased traffic on the roads. And yes, that includes those big yellow school buses!

In this Back to School Edition blog post, I will be highlighting the importance of school bus safety, because often times, we see accidents that involve a school bus. All 50 states the US have laws that revolve around school buses, specifically laws that make it illegal to pass a school bus when it is stopped (and its lights are flashing and signs are extended out). Sadly, there are too many incidents by which vehicles pass a stopped school bus as it is loading or unloading passengers, and some of those incidents have involved fatalities or serious injury.

In the past, I’ve been able to provide a link to Shawn’s “School Bus Driver” website, which had a page dedicated to this matter in particular. However, he has closed the website as of a couple of years ago. In place of that link, I am going to share a diagram that has been seen on various sites across the web. The diagram clearly shows when vehicles must stop for a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading students.

passingbuses

With that said, I wish everyone that is headed back to the classroom a safe and wonderful school year!


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Summer Service Changes – PSTA, HART, LYNX, SunRail, Votran

This post was last updated on 06/19/2018
More information has been released regarding the upcoming service changes for LYNX, SunRail, & Votran

It’s that time again…service changes, service changes, service changes!

In this post, I will outline some of the key changes that are coming to the following transit agencies: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (d.b.a. LYNX), SunRail Commuter Rail, & Volusia County Transit (Votran).

Please note that with some of the agencies, further detailed information may not be available immediately as of this posting. Updates will be made when that information becomes available. This post is meant to present a general level overview of some of the key changes that will be enacted during the course of the next two months.

Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA)

PSTA is enacting several map/scheduling/time point changes on Sunday, June 17, 2018, which can be viewed on the PSTA website. The most significant changes however will take place the following day, Monday, June 18, 2018 – when Routes 100X & 300X will be officially re-launched as extended versions of their current selves. This will allow both routes to each serve a key area in the Tampa Bay region that wasn’t previously served by a PSTA express bus route.

  • Route 100X – St. Petersburg/Gateway/Tampa Express: Thanks to additional Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Urban Corridor Project funding, the 100X will be extended southward to serve Downtown St. Petersburg via Interstate 275. All existing points (Gateway Mall, Britton Plaza in South Tampa, and Downtown Tampa) will continue to be served as they are today, with the limited trips to the Fidelity National (FIS) complex on Roosevelt Blvd & 16th Ct N being kept. The overall span of service within the existing route will largely remain the same, but adjustments to the schedule have been made to account for the Downtown St. Petersburg leg, thus creating an expansion to the overall span of service when the extension is accounted for.
    • The redesigned Route 100X will continue to operate Monday through Friday only, but will have a peak-hour frequency of roughly every 45 to 50 minutes, instead of the current 30 to 60 minute frequency. The midday trips have also been re-timed.
    • Buses will originate in Downtown St. Pete, at The Pier District (2nd Ave N, just east of the Sundial Shoppes where the Central Ave Trolley terminates), with the first trip of the morning departing at 4:42am.
    • From The Pier District, buses will circulate through the downtown area – serving all designated bus stops along the way – before entering the interstate system via I-375. Buses will then exit I-375 and enter I-275 north, then exiting at 54th Ave N.
    • From 54th Ave N, southbound/westbound buses travel along MLK St N while northbound/eastbound buses use 4th St N to enter/exit Gateway Mall.
    • From Gateway Mall eastward, the existing routing is used. The last trip from downtown St. Pete will be at 5:42pm.
  • Route 300X – Gateway/TPA Airport/Tampa Express (re-branded as the “Airport Express”): With the opening of the bus transfer hub at Tampa International Airport’s Rental Car Center, PSTA began formulating plans to alter Route 300X service while longer term plans for a direct express route from Clearwater Beach to Tampa continue to materialize. FDOT Urban Corridor funding will allow for the 300X to serve the TPA Airport Bus Hub on most trips while maintaining hourly peak service & the limited midday trips. Two trips (one AM eastbound & one PM westbound) will be kept as direct trips between the Ulmerton Rd Park-N-Ride Lot & Downtown Tampa via I-275. The overall span of service will remain largely the same – with a slightly earlier start time & somewhat later end time.
    • The redesigned Route 300X will continue to operate Monday through Friday only, with peak frequency changing to operate hourly versus the existing schedule. The midday trips have also been re-timed.
    • Buses will continue to originate at the Ulmerton Rd Park-N-Ride Lot on Ulmerton Rd, just east of Starkey Rd. The only major routing change is that most trips will now serve the TPA Airport Bus Hub, where customers from Pinellas can easily transfer to HART Routes 30, 32, 35, 60LX, & 275LX. Future plans also include Pasco Transit launching its own express route from central Pasco County to the bus hub.
    • The first eastbound trip of the morning will be at 6:10am, with the last trip being 6:20pm.
    • Only the 7:00AM Eastbound trip from the Ulmerton Rd Park-N-Ride Lot & the 4:55PM Westbound trip from HART’s Marion Transit Center will skip the airport. These trips will travel between Downtown Tampa and the Gateway area directly. These trips are being retained as direct trips to/from Downtown Tampa due to concerns from customers who use the existing 300X during the height of rush hour to get to/from work.
  • Other Changes: Minor map/scheduling/time point changes will be made to Routes 5, 7, 14, 15, 16, 20, 68, & the Dunedin/Palm Harbor Flex Connector (Route 813).

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART)

HART will be enacting similar changes to some of its bus routes on Sunday, July 1, 2018, which can be viewed on the HART website (Select the Routes drop-down menu and scroll to the “HART Service Changes – Effective 71/18” section to view maps and schedules). The most significant changes will include the replacement of Route 51LX with Route 275LX, the addition of Route 48 – which restores service to key areas of northeastern Hillsborough that was lost when Route 57 was eliminated in October, 2017, and the elimination of the Downtown Tampa In-Towner Trolley Services due to ultra-low ridership.

  • Route 14 – Armenia Ave: Weekday service will be completely re-timed to reflect traffic patterns during the day. Buses will now depart roughly every 30 to 35 minutes. Weekend frequency will remain unchanged.
  • Route 48 – Temple Terrace: One of the biggest complaints by far that I’ve seen since the Mission MAX system restructuring was implemented back in October of 2017 was the elimination of Route 57 through Temple Terrace. The 57 was eliminated due to lower ridership & high upkeep costs, but many residents complained that they were left with no avenue to get to work or other destinations in Hillsborough without the route in place. While these residents clamored for HART to revive the 57, the route in its previous form was not going to return due to certain areas having ultra-low ridership levels. However, talks for a replacement service to serve key areas where residents were left with no service begin gaining traction during the late winter of 2017, when Hillsborough County officials began discussing the possibility of additional funding for the transit system. While a recurring funding arrangement failed to be reached, a one-time infusion was agreed upon to provide additional funds for service maintenance and expansion through FY 2018.
    • The routing for the 48 will be similar to how the 57 operated, with buses originating at the NetPark Transfer Center on 56th St & Harney Rd. Buses will leave the transfer center going south on 56th to Harney Rd, then 78th St, Temple Terrace Hwy, Davis Rd, Morris Bridge Rd, and then Fowler Ave. The previous segment of the 57 along 56th St and Fletcher Ave will not be served by the 48 due to the 6 already serving those areas. 42nd St & Skipper Rd just north of the USF Tampa campus will also not be served by the 48. Buses will instead continue down Fowler Ave to 30th St, where they will connect to the University Area Transit Center.
    • Service will run hourly, with weekday service starting at 5:30AM & running through 9:30PM. Weekend service will pretty much mirror the weekday schedule.
  • Routes 51LX/275LX: Due to the continuing decline in ridership of Route 51LX, which runs from Pasco County to Downtown Tampa via Temple Terrace, HART will be eliminating the route entirely & replacing East Pasco to Downtown Tampa Limited Express service with Route 275LX. The 275LX will operate all week long instead of just during weekday peak hours with hourly frequency, plus service to Tampa International Airport. The agency is re-allocating its funds through the FDOT Urban Corridor Project to fund the 275LX service.
    • With the 275LX, buses will originate at the Wiregrass Park-N-Ride Lot in Wesley Chapel, then travel down Bruce B. Downs Blvd to the Lowe’s Park-N-Ride Lot near I-75 in Tampa Palms. From there, buses will make a stop at the University Area Transit Center via Bruce B. Downs Blvd, then to Downtown Tampa & the Marion Transit Center via Fowler Ave & I-275. The segment along Bruce B. Downs Blvd & Fowler Ave will essentially restore basic service to areas along these corridors that were lost when Route 45 was re-aligned & Route 57 was eliminated back in October, 2017.
    • From the Marion Transit Center, buses will re-enter I-275 and terminate at the Tampa International Airport Bus Hub at the Rental Car Center, with departures synchronizing with Route 60LX so that customers traveling between the airport & downtown can enjoy a roughly 30 minute headway. Service on the 275LX itself will be hourly, with service starting up at approximately 5:10AM & running through about 10:00PM. Two trips will originate at the Marion Transit Center going to Tampa International Airport & the other two will originate at the University Area Transit Center going to Wiregrass. In the evening, trips will stagger to end at either transit center between 9:50PM & 11:00PM. Weekend schedules will basically mirror the weekday schedule.
  • In-Towner Services: Due to the continuing decline in ridership, Routes 96 & 97 will be eliminated. Customers wishing to traverse through Downtown Tampa can utilize Routes 1, 8, or 19, with Routes 1 & 19 serving western Downtown & the Riverfront, & Route 8 serving eastern Downtown & the Channelside District. Customers can also use the Downtowner free shuttle service provided by the Tampa-Downtown Partnership. Talks are currently underway as to the possibility of the partnership transferring operation of the shuttle service to HART.
  • HyperLINK Service: Despite the initial success of the HyperLINK ride-share type program, various factors – including whether there would be future commitments to run the service by private sector vendors – have prompted HART to end the service. Service in all zones will wind down on July 31, 2018.
  • Other Changes: Minor map/scheduling/time point changes will be made to Routes 1, 25LX, 31, 42, & 45.

Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (d.b.a. LYNX) & SunRail Commuter Rail

In anticipation of the opening of Phase II of SunRail from Sand Lake Rd in southern Orlando to Poinciana, LYNX is making key changes to the bus network in Osceola County, along with changes to other routes in the overall network to improve system efficiency.

Xpress Route 208, which currently runs from the SunRail Sand Lake Rd Station to the Kissimmee Intermodal Station, will end services on Friday, July 27, 2018. SunRail trains begin operating between the Sand Lake Rd & Poinciana Stations the following Monday, July 30, 2018.

Also in anticipation for the SunRail extension, a new route will be created in Osceola County – Route 155 – which will serve The Loop, Osceola Parkway, Tupperware SunRail Station and Buena Ventura Lakes.

You may view all of the upcoming changes – most of which will become effective on Sunday, July 15, 2018 – on the LYNX website. Further updates will be made when schedules for each individual route become available.

The new SunRail schedule is now available on the SunRail website by selecting the banner on the homepage. A PDF file will then open with the new schedule.

Volusia County Transit (Votran)

Votran has an odd tendency to not post service changes in a very timely manner. However this time, they’ve posted a week ahead regarding the launch of Route 44 in the New Smyrna Beach area. This route will connect the Julia St & Sams Ave transfer point in downtown NSB to the WalMart supercenter & Shoppes at Coronado complexes on the northwest corner of SR 44 & I-95. Buses will then travel eastward to the beachside, to Indian River Village, before heading back to the downtown NSB transfer point. Service begins on Monday, June 25, 2018 and will operate on a flag-stop system until permanent stops are constructed.

Further updates will be made when the new schedule & map are posted.


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Memorial Day 2018 Holiday Transit Schedules

Memorial Day will be on Monday, May 28, 2017. Memorial Day gives us here in the United States a chance to reflect on the hardworking service of our military members, especially those who have lost their lives while fighting to protect our country’s freedoms.

Like most Federal Holidays, most transit agencies will be running limited services, with some agencies not running services at all. If you plan on using transit on Memorial Day, please plan your day accordingly…and in ahead, as customer service lines may be closed.


Additional Notes:

Some trolleybus routes (Pinellas County) may operate on a schedule other than a Sunday schedule. Please check the transit district’s website for details.

Additional Notes:

NYCMTA Website

NY/NJ PATH Website

NJ Transit Website

Chicago CTA Website

PACE Website (Chicago area suburban bus services)

Metra Website (Chicago area Commuter Rail services)

Additional Notes:

Virginia Beach WAVE Service is currently in operation.


Memorial Day 2016 Z-CustServ1

Memorial Day 2016 Z-CustServ2

Additional Notes:

Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) are available throughout the following locations for customer convenience.

  • HART (Tampa, FL): All major transit centers.
  • HRT (Norfolk/Hampton, VA): Along the Tide LRT corridor in Norfolk, as well as at HRT transit centers, the High St Ferry station, and at select (summer) locations along the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
  • NYC MTA: Various locations throughout the region.
  • PATH: Most subway stations.
  • Chicago CTA & Pace Bus: Various locations throughout the region via Ventra.

Normal Transit Service Resumption:

Regular weekday transit services will resume on Tuesday, May 29, 2015.


Disclaimer:

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


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HART BUS SERVICE DURING THE 2018 TAMPA BAY AIRFEST

Post was updated on 5/10/18 at approx. 8:45pm ET
A link to HART’s flyer has been added to the post.

It’s that time again…time for the Tampa Bay Air Fest and all of the awesomeness that it brings! This year’s event will be held on Saturday, May 12, 2018 and Sunday, May 13, 2018.

As with previous events, traffic congestion throughout South Tampa will be very heavy, so you will want to leave early and be prepared to brave the crowds…both at the event and while on the road. If you want to avoid the traffic and parking hassles, I strongly encourage you to use transit to get to and from the event. As with many previous events, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) is partnering with MacDill Air Force Base to provide bus transportation. However, with last year’s Mission MAX system restructuring taking place – Route 4 no longer exists, so HART is instead modifying Route 360LX to operate more frequently during AirFest Weekend.

Scene from one of the previous AirFests. Credit: HARTride 2012

Gates will open at 8:00am, but as in years past, you can expect to see cars lining up as early as 7:00am or earlier. Why sit in traffic and worry about if you’ll even get a parking space when you can leave the driving to HART?


Modified Route 360LX Service.

While the normal Route 360LX operates hourly – with Brandon to South Tampa service operating Monday through Saturday & South Tampa only service on Sundays, the modified service will operate every 15 minutes between the Britton Plaza Shopping Center and MacDill via Downtown Tampa’s Marion Transit Center, with 30 minute service between Britton Plaza and Downtown Tampa. This will provide a convenient and frequent one-seat ride to and from the festivities. Service east of Downtown will operate on an hourly basis, following the normal Saturday schedule. All normal Route 360LX stops north of Britton Plaza will be served, while the stops along Dale Mabry Hwy south of Britton will not. Buses will instead detour via Euclid Ave, MacDill Ave, Shelton Ave, and Bayshore Blvd – entering the Bayshore Gate. Buses will then drop off passengers at a loading/unloading area near Hangar 1.

Please note that the map above is based on the current Route 360LX routing, along with detours enacted during past events. Routing is subject to change due to traffic and security limitations. Map was created by HARTride 2012.

Scheduled Departures.

Saturday services between Westfield Brandon and the Marion Transit Center in Downtown Tampa will mirror the normal Saturday schedule with hourly departures. The Downtown to Britton Plaza leg will operate based off of the normal Saturday schedule, but will have the additional runs added in to create a 30-minute headway between the two stops. Because of traffic limitations, HART will do its best to maintain 15-minute frequency south of Britton Plaza and will have extra buses staged for use if needed.

Sunday services will be similar to that of Saturday, but with no service between South Tampa and Brandon outside of event shuttle hours. Event shuttle service will commence at 8:00am on both days, with buses traveling inbound (from Brandon to South Tampa) until roughly 4:00pm. After 4:00pm, service in South Tampa will shift to an outbound mode – meaning that buses will begin travelling northbound/eastbound only towards Downtown and Brandon (with limited southbound trips). Trips may alternate amongst the two destinations and guests should carefully examine the LED signs on the bus to make sure they’re boarding the correct bus to their final destination. The outbound pattern will continue from South Tampa until about 6:00pm. After that time, the additional trips will begin winding down and normal evening services will commence.

View the full schedule from HART

All other HART routes (17, 30, 36, & 60LX included) will operate their normal weekend schedules.


Fares

Normal HART fares apply for the Route 360LX shuttle, as well as all other HART bus routes. Because of the many constraints involved with AirFest; if you’re considering hopping on the bus, you should purchase your HARTride Farecard or Flamingo App/Card fare in advance. If you choose to pay for your fare on board the bus, you will be asked to pay with cash (exact change please), as there won’t be enough 1-Day Farecards available for issuance on board the bus.


Park-N-Ride? Be Careful!

For those wishing to park their cars in order to catch a HART bus to AirFest, you will need to keep in mind that regular parking fees apply to all Downtown Tampa parking garages and lots that typically charge a fee.  Please leave metered street-side parking spaces open and available for those who need to do business in Downtown, and do not park in permit-only lots – as your vehicle will be subjected to towing. Please also do not park your vehicle along residential streets – as once again, your vehicle will be subjected to towing. Residential streets need to be as open as possible to allow First Responders to safely pass through and to allow local residents and their guests room to park.

If you’re parking your vehicle at Britton Plaza or Westfield Brandon Mall, please keep in mind that these are NOT official HART Park-N-Ride lots and are owned by their respective private mall/shopping center owners. While arrangements are in place for AirFest, you should return to your vehicle no later that 9:00pm to prevent your vehicle from being towed. As businesses begin closing down for the night at 9:00pm, any vehicles remaining in either parking lot (aside from employees who are wrapping up their work at the on-site businesses) will be subjected to towing.


Using Ride Share? Take it to the Lot…not the Base…

Many will be enticed to use Uber or Lyft to get from A to B due to the traffic constraints in South Tampa, and while such ride share services can be convenient, they can also get very expensive if one does not know for sure the full extent of the circumstances that AirFest brings to South Tampa traffic. Because of security limitations, all vehicles entering the base to attend AirFest (except HART buses of course) will be required to park in the assigned spaces along the tarmac. Once parked, you will not be able to just whisk your vehicle out of the base to drop someone off – the vehicle will have to stay parked for a few hours. Therefore, you should consider being dropped off either at a location near the intersection of Dale Mabry Hwy and Interbay Blvd and walk to the base from there, or being dropped off at Britton Plaza, Marion Transit Center, or Westfield Brandon to catch a HART bus.


What Not to Bring.

Because MacDill AFB is an active military installation, certain items are prohibited and all guests are subject to airport-style security screening at the event entrance. A full list of prohibited items is available on the AirFest website.


For further information regarding AirFest, please visit the AirFest website. For further information regarding HART bus services, please visit the HART website.

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Transit 101 – Episode 4 – Bikes on transit

Post was updated on 07/07/2018
Created new content to add to the post

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 quick glance of how I load my bicycle onto the bike rack of a PSTA bus. You can then read through the step-by-step instructions. 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.

Loading your bike

Using the bike rack on the front of the bus can look intimidating at first, but it’s a very simple process.

Here’s a bus without any bikes loaded on the rack. If this is your situation, you’re good to load your bike without issue.

Before loading your bike onto the bike rack of the bus, you want to first and foremost, make sure that the bus has made a complete stop. Once the bus has stopped, you will want to make eye contact with the bus operator to signal to him or her that you are going to load your bike onto the rack.

Here’s a closeup of the empty bike rack in the upright position.

One of the first things you should notice when looking at the bike rack is the handle towards the front-center of the rack. Simply squeeze the handle and pull the rack outward towards you until it lays flat, parallel to the ground.

This handle is used to lower the rack to its downward flat position, as well as to raise the rack back to its upright position when emptied.

Once you’ve lowered the rack, it should look like the photo below…

A HART bus with the bike rack in the downward/flat position.

You are now ready to load your bike! When loading, be sure to read the labeling on the rack carefully to know how to position your bike.  You should see a sticker that indicates where to position the front wheel of the bike.

My bike is loaded onto the bike rack, but there’s one more step we need to do to secure it.

Before boarding the bus, you will need to make sure that your bike is secured. Each bike rack slot has a securement arm to do just that while the bus is in motion. You will want to look at the rack, towards the front wheel slot, to locate the arm.

Here’s a closeup of where you will find the securement arm.

Once you’ve located the securement arm, grab the hooked portion and pull it outward, then upward over the front wheel of your bike.

Pulling the securement arm over the front wheel will help secure your bike while the bus is in motion.

If performed successfully, the hooked portion of the arm should be secured over the top of your front bike wheel, in front of the frame, just like shown in the photo below.

Closeup of where the securement arm should be, once raised over the front wheel of your bike.

Another closeup of where the securement arm should be, once raised over the front wheel of your bike.

Once your bike is fully secured to the bike rack, simply board the bus and pay your fare. While on board, you’ll want to sit close to the front of the bus so that you can keep watch of your bike while the bus is in motion.  Being that I’ve had several bikes stolen when I was younger, I’m always doing my best to make sure that my bike is secured at all times.

My bike is loaded and secured! I’m ready to board the bus!

When you’ve reached your destination stop, notify the operator that you’re going to remove the bike from the rack and exit the bus through the front door. Then, follow the above process in reverse – pulling and lowering the securement arm, removing your bike from the rack, then squeezing the center rack handle, and pulling the rack back up to its upright position.

Always make sure that the bike rack is clear and raised back to its upright position before leaving, unless another customer wishes to load his or her bike onto the rack.

Be sure that the rack has locked back into place before leaving the roadway. And always be sure to thank your bus operator and leave the roadway as quickly as possible so that the operator can proceed to his or her next stop.

The bike rack on the bus can fill up quickly – especially during peak weekday hours and also times where frequencies aren’t as great.

If another customer wishes to load his or her bike onto the rack, then you can leave the rack down. If another bike is occupying the other slot(s) of the rack, please be considerate of the other customer’s bike so that you do not cause any inadvertent damage while loading or unloading your bike.

Some transit agencies use different types of bike racks for their buses. While the general loading and unloading process is the same, the securement arms may be different.

In the photo above, you might notice that the bike rack is somewhat different than the ones illustrated in the other photos. That’s because PSTA is among several transit agencies that use more than one type of bike rack.  The manufacturer of the rack used on bus #10113 above is BykRak, while the manufacturer of the rack used in my other photos above is SportWorks. Each manufacturer will have a similar design for their racks, but there may also be fundamental differences – such as the securement arm and how it attaches to the front wheel of your bike. You will want to be mindful of this when loading and unloading your bike so that you do not cause inadvertent damage to the arm.


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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