Category Archives: General (Public Transit)

All things about public transit in general will be housed under this category. This category comprises of topics/posts that apply to pretty much all transit districts.

Veterans Day 2017 Holiday Service Schedule

Saturday, November 11, 2017 is Veterans Day, with Friday, November 10, 2017 being observed by government offices.  While most transit agencies that I cover will operate a normal weekday schedule on November 10 & a normal Saturday schedule on November 11, some agencies may have exceptions as to which routes will run. Other agencies (specifically some smaller agencies) will not operate at all on Saturday or both days. Please see the following list to see if your respective transit agency will operate on Veterans Day.

As always, I want to thank all those who are currently serving in our nation’s military, or have served in the past. Thank you!


Transit Service Levels

Normal weekday service schedules will be in effect for the following transit agencies on Friday, 11/10/17:

  • Florida
    • HART (Tampa)
    • PSTA (St. Pete/Clearwater)
    • MCAT (Manatee County)
    • SCAT (Sarasota County)
    • LYNX (Orlando)
    • Votran (Volusia County)
    • SunRail (Central FL)
    • Citrus Connection (Polk County)
    • JTA (Jacksonville)
    • Palm Tran (Palm Beach)
    • Broward County Transit (Broward County)
    • Miami-Dade Transit (Miami-Dade County)
    • Key West Transit (Monroe County)
  • New York City Metro Region
    • MTA (New York City)
    • NICE (Nassau County)
    • PATH (Port Authority)
    • Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (NJ Transit)
  • Illinois
    • CTA (Chicago)
    • Pace Bus
  • Virginia
    • HRT (Hampton Roads) – Routes 918, 919, 922, & 925 will not operate.
    • WATA (Williamsburg)

Saturday service schedules will be in effect for the following transit agencies on Friday, 11/10/17:

  • Florida
    • PCPT (Pasco County)
    • StarMetro (Tallahassee)

The following transit agencies will not operate on Friday, 11/10/17:

  • Florida
    • Hernando THEbus (Hernando County)
    • Citrus County Transit (Citrus County)

Normal Saturday service schedules will be in effect for the following transit agencies on Friday, 11/11/17:

  • Florida
    • HART (Tampa)
    • PSTA (St. Pete/Clearwater)
    • MCAT (Manatee County)
    • SCAT (Sarasota County)
    • PCPT (Pasco County)
    • LYNX (Orlando)
    • Votran (Volusia County)
    • JTA (Jacksonville)
    • Palm Tran (Palm Beach)
    • Broward County Transit (Broward County)
    • Miami-Dade Transit (Miami-Dade County)
    • Key West Transit (Monroe County)
    • StarMetro (Tallahassee)
  • New York City Metro Region
    • MTA (New York City)
    • NICE (Nassau County)
    • PATH (Port Authority)
    • Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (NJ Transit)
  • Illinois
    • CTA (Chicago)
    • Pace Bus
  • Virginia
    • HRT (Hampton Roads)
    • WATA (Williamsburg)

The following transit agencies will not operate on Saturday, 11/11/17:

  • Florida
    • Citrus Connection (Polk County)
    • Hernando THEbus (Hernando County)
    • Citrus County Transit (Citrus County)

Please note that the above listing is NOT INCLUSIVE of all transit services. Please contact your respective transit agency for further information.


Customer Service


Veterans Ride FREE With Proper ID

Some transit agencies, including HART & PSTA, are allowing veterans with proper military or veteran identification to use their transit systems for FREE as a “Thank You” for serving our great nation. Please check with your transit agency to see if they are doing this. For HART & PSTA, FREE rides are valid on board all local, limited express/commuter, express, and trolley routes. Paratransit & Link Services (HyperLINK, Direct Connect) are not included. HART will honor these FREE rides on 11/11/17 & PSTA will honor them on both 11/10 & 11/11/17.


Disclaimer

As always, I try to make sure that all information in this post is correct. Schedule information is obtained from the transit agencies themselves, so they are ultimately responsible for what goes out to customers. However, if you spot something that I’ve typed that is incorrect, please let me know as soon as possible so that I may make corrections.


And one last reminder!

Daylight Savings Time in the United States ends at 2:00am on Sunday, 11/4/17.

Be sure to set your clocks back one hour before you head to bed tomorrow, 11/3/17. I hope everyone enjoys their extra hour of rest!


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Service Advisories

This page will be updated regularly when there is a detour or other service change that may impact transit customers for more than 72 hours.

For advisories affecting the New York MTA, please visit the agency’s Planned Service Changes page. You can also sign up for alerts when service interruptions occur.

For advisories affecting the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (a.k.a. LYNX), please visit the agency’s Service Alerts page.

The listing below is current as of 11/14/2017
Transit agency logos are utilized for informational purposes ONLY. Thank you.


 

Detour: Due to roadway blockage, buses may be detoured via 4th Ave from Channelside Dr to 17th Ave. Customers can board buses at: 4th Ave @ 14th St, 4th Ave @ 16th St & 7th Ave @ 19th St.

Detour 1: Due to water main construction, the Route 9 stops on 30th St., from Diana St. to Sligh Ave. will temporarily not be served. This detour will remain in effect until 12/08/2017.

Detour 2: Due to police activity, and for safety reasons, early morning & late afternoon/evening trips on Route 9 will be detoured via 22nd St between Hillsborough Ave & MLK Blvd. This detour will remain in effect until further notice. Please see HART’s flyer for details.

In addition to the ongoing Route 9 detour, MetroRapid buses are on detour via Central Ave between MLK Blvd and Hillsborough Ave until further notice due to police activity. Also until further notice, Route 9 buses will be on detour all day.

Delays & Detours – Pass-A-Grille: Due to ongoing roadway construction, the Central Avenue Trolley Westbound will travel on its regular route to Pass-a-Grille Way, right on 26th Ave, left on Sunset Way, right on 22nd Ave, left on Gulf Way, left on 19th Ave, and right on Pass-a-Grille Way to regular route. The Central Avenue Trolley Eastbound will travel on its regular route to Gulf Way, right on 22nd Ave, left on Sunset Way, right on 23rd Ave, and left on Pass-a-Grille Way to regular route. Westbound passengers may catch the route on 19th Ave or end of line. Eastbound passengers may catch the route on Pass-a-Grille Way around 23rd Ave Area.

Delays & Detours – Pier District: The Central Avenue Trolley Eastbound will travel from 2nd Ave NE to a left into Beach Drive Trolley Station (Old Dolphin Station), and right on 2nd Ave NE to regular route. Passengers may catch the route on 2nd Ave NE and Bayshore Drive NE.

Schedule Change: AM trips to Downtown have changed. This will result in buses departing from Temple Terrace City Hall 15 minutes earlier than the original schedule. Please see HART’s flyer for the new departure times.

Tampa International Airport Services: HART is currently operating a shuttle van or bus between the Rental Car Facility temporary stop & the TPA Airport main terminal. This service will be operating until the SkyConnect train service at the airport becomes operational (expected to be some time in February of 2018). Shuttles will operate every 20 minutes during the following days & times:

  • Weekdays – 5:10 a.m. – 12:50 a.m.
  • Weekends – 6:30 a.m. – 12:10 a.m.

Delays & Detours – Gandy Freeway Construction: Although the Gandy Freeway project is nearing completion, delays & detours are still possible at times. Routes 4, 9, 58, 74, & 100X are all operating on their normal routing at this time, but Route 444 trips to the St. Petersburg Housing Authority offices are being impacted by changes in the surrounding roadway configuration. Delays should be expected on Route 444 during these trips. Also, Routes 9 & 100X may experience delays due to changes in the surrounding roadway configuration.

Special Event Detours

Special events can always cause detours and interruptions to transit lines. Please check with your transit agency for more information.

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.


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HART launches new alert service through Everbridge

Okay, so you’ve planned out your transit trip, know when the bus is scheduled to arrive, got your fare ready, and are now at the bus stop. You’ve done everything that you needed to do and will be on time to work this morning, except that you weren’t aware that there was a detour along your bus route due to construction.

Nathan is not happy about his bus route being on detour. If he knew about the detour in ahead, he would have caught another bus elsewhere.

Different transit agencies have different ways to get the word out about transit service detours and interruptions. However, there is no single best way to do so – especially in the age of technology such as smart phones and Social Media. In some cases, people don’t know about a particular detour because they’ve missed the Social Media post about the detour, or perhaps that person doesn’t have a smart phone.

If you’re a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) customer, there’s no need to fret anymore! The agency has partnered with Everbridge to bring you service alerts via email or an automated phone call. It’s easy to sign up and the process only takes a few minutes. Within those few minutes, you’ll be able to start getting alerts about route detours and other service interruptions for the routes that you choose.

To access the sign in/up screen, simply click or copy the following link into your browser’s address bar.

https://member.everbridge.net/index/892807736726515#/login

The sign on screen. Click the image for a closer look.

If you’re registering for the first time, simply click the link indicated by the yellow arrow in the screen shot above, then follow the instructions on the next page.

The sign up screen. Click the image for a closer look.

Once you’re finished registering, you’ll be able to select which routes you want to receive alerts for.

The route selection screen. Click on the image for a closer look.

When finished, you’ll be able to view your profile and edit any details down the road (like if your phone number changes).

Summary screen. Click on the image for a closer look.

Because Everbridge is an opt-in service, you will only receive the alerts that you specify.

Have questions? Please visit the FAQ page or contact HART directly at 813-254-4278.

Even better news if you’re a City of Tampa resident! The City of Tampa also partners with Everbridge to provide you with Alert Tampa notifications.  The registration process is the same as the above. Please visit the City of Tampa website to learn more about the Alert Tampa service.


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Transit Agency Service Status Post-Hurricane Irma

Updated on 9/18/17 at 6:15AM – THIS IS THE LAST UPDATE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!!!

Please check the Florida Public Transportation Association website to find your area’s respective transit agency website.

Please be advised that due to the severe damage in the Florida Keys, Key West Transit will not be operating for the foreseeable future.


Service Status as of 9/18/17

Any transit agency that has not yet resumed full normal service is listed below.

  • Citrus Connection Polk County: Limited service will operate. View listing of operating routes.
  • Palm Tran: All services have been restored to normal operation, except Route 94, which will resume on a later announced date.
  • Miami-Dade Transit: All services have been restored to normal operation, except the following:
  • SunRail: Limited Trips – Please check the SunRail website.

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Labor Day 2017 Holiday Transit Schedule

Monday, September 4, 2017 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.


Service Exceptions and Notes

Some trolleybus routes (Pinellas County) may operate on a schedule other than a Sunday schedule. Please check psta.net for details.

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.

Service Exceptions and 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)

Service Exceptions and Notes

None at this time.


Customer Service

July 4 Holiday Transit Schedules Banner 9 - Cust Serv 1

July 4 Holiday Transit Schedules Banner 9 - Cust Serv 2

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.

Normal Transit Service Resumption

Regular weekday transit services will resume on Tuesday, September 5, 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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Transit 101 – Episode 3 – Transit Fares

transit-101-cover-1

Welcome back to Transit 101, where I talk about everything that you need to know about using public transit. In this episode, I’m going to talk about all things transit fares! Topics will include the following:

Paying with cash or tokens

Paying with a mag-swipe card

Paying through a smartphone app

Paying through a smart-card

Ordering transit fare media online

Customer Service Centers and Third Party Vendors


Paying with Cash or Tokens

only-cash-surveys.jpg

Paying for your transit journey with cash is very simple to do – especially if you’re paying for only a one-way trip. However, you’ll need to make sure that you have exact change with you at all times – as transit operators cannot handle change. If you need to make change, I strongly advise that you visit a customer service center, or a grocery store service desk. In some cases, change machines may be provided on-site at a transit center. You’ll want to contact your transit agency or visit their website to view updated fare information so that you’re not boarding the bus or train unprepared.

Most transit agencies allow customers to purchase one-day transit passes on board the bus, please make sure to have exact change and notify the bus operator that you’ll be purchasing a day pass prior to inserting money into the farebox. This will allow the operator to enter the necessary code to register to the farebox that you’re purchasing a day pass. Many transit agencies also have ticket vending machines that accept cash as payment for purchasing transit fare media.

While many transit agencies have eliminated tokens as fare payment, there are a small number of agencies that still accept tokens. If your transit agency accepts tokens as fare payment, you can normally purchase tokens at a customer service center or other designated sales outlet. Please be sure to insert your tokens in the designated slot on the farebox or turnstile.


Paying with a Mag-Swipe Card

IMG_20170105_071755.jpg
Front of a PSTA GO Card. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012 (You are welcome to share this photo for NON-PROFIT-GENERATING PURPOSES, but please provide credit to me. Thank you.)

Many transit agencies produce mag-swipe cards for use as transit passes. These cards come in many forms; but often include One-Day, Three-Day, Five-Day, Seven-Day, Fourteen-Day, and Thirty One-Day categories. Pass categories can vary by transit agency, so please be sure to contact your transit agency or visit their website for a listing of available passes and how much each pass costs.

IMG_20170105_071820.jpg
Back of a PSTA GO Card with the dates and times of first use and expiration. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012 (You are welcome to share this photo for NON-PROFIT-GENERATING PURPOSES, but please provide credit to me. Thank you.)

To purchase a transit pass, you can visit a customer service center or ticket vending machine. Many transit agencies accept both cash and credit/debit cards at their customer service centers and ticket vending machines. As I mentioned earlier, many transit agencies also allow customers to purchase a one-day pass on board buses with cash.

When activating your transit pass for the first time, be sure to insert your card into the designated slot on the farebox or ticket reader machine so that it prints the date and time of first use and the expiration date and time. Please see the photo above for an example of this. After your pass is activated, all you have to do is swipe the black stripe of the pass along the reader on the farebox, turnstile, or ticket reader machine.

imageedit_1_6201398033
SunRail Ticket Validator.

 

For transit systems that use the “Tap And Go” procedure, simply tap your pass against the ticket validator screen until you receive a message stating that your ticket is valid. This procedure is also done for smart cards (i.e. Chicago’s “Ventra” fare system).


Paying through a Smartphone app

Many transit agencies are gradually shifting away from mag-swipe cards as the primary form of payment. While many transit agencies will continue to accept cash for some time, many agencies are enticing customers who have smartphones to use an app to purchase transit fare via a credit or debit card. While some apps can only be used for purchasing physical transit passes (like a mag-swipe card) other apps can allow a customer to add value to a smart card (i.e. Chicago’s “Ventra” fare system) or the app itself can act as the transit pass (i.e. Flamingo Fares App).

When opening the smartphone ticketing app for the first time, be sure to follow the screens to set up your account, including adding your credit or debit card information for purchases. Locating these screens will vary per app, and some apps will have these screens appear for first time users automatically.

Once you’re finished setting up your account, including desired payment method, head to the screen to purchase your tickets. Like mag-swipe passes, smartphone app tickets can be separated into different categories. Be sure to take note of the price of each ticket and how long the ticket is valid for before selecting, as in many cases, you will not be able to receive a refund if you select the wrong ticket. And unlike mag-swipe cards that haven’t been activated yet, you won’t be able to transfer your purchased ticket to someone else.

Once you’ve selected the ticket that you wish to purchase, tap the ticket and go through the purchasing process. You will be asked to confirm your purchase before it becomes final. Once your ticket has been purchased, it’s ready to be activated. When you’re ready to use your ticket, follow the screens on the app to activate the ticket. Once the ticket is activated, follow the prompts to show the bus operator or rail ticket inspector your valid activated ticket.

With the Flamingo Fares App, when a ticket is activated, you will be able to open to ticket and be greeted with a screen with moving text. You will need to show this screen to the bus operator or rail ticket inspector to certify that your ticket is valid. To further ensure that your Flamingo ticket is valid, tap the screen so that it changes from pink to gray. This is will tell the bus operator or rail ticket inspector that your ticket is indeed valid.

Always be sure to take note as to when your ticket expires. Once your ticket has expired, you will be prompted to purchase a new one.

For the Tampa Bay Region (Hillsborough, Pinellas, and coming soon – Sarasota – counties), here’s a short video on how to use the Flamingo Fares App (put together by PSTA).


Paying with a Smart Card

Credit: Ventra Chicago

For transit agencies that utilize a smart card for transit fares (i.e. the Chicago CTA and Pace Bus via “Ventra”), you’ll want to first make sure that you’ve purchased and activated your card. Your transit agency will provide instructions on how to do so and can also help walk you through the steps to using the card. With smart cards, you’ll simply use the “Tap and Go” procedure that I mentioned earlier in this post by tapping your card against the fare validator screen. Once you receive a message that your fare is valid, simply proceed to the bus or train for boarding.

Transit agencies that utilize smart cards often make it easy for you to manage your account. This can be done online or even through a smartphone app. The Chicago “Ventra” fare payment system recently launched its own smartphone app so that customers can manage their account and add funds to their smart card easily and efficiently. Some agencies (including the Chicago CTA and Pace Bus) allow the smart card to also be used as a normal debit card, so that you can store money on the card not just for transit fares, but also for regular purchases – like that grab-and-go sandwich when you don’t have time to dine in before your commute to work.

If you live in or are planning to visit the Chicago, IL area, the “Ventra” website will provide all of the information that you need to purchase, activate, and manage your “Ventra” card, including how to download the smartphone app.


 Ordering transit fare media online

Many transit agencies allow you to purchase transit tickets online. Simply visit your transit agency’s website and select the link to purchase your desired fare media. Since the purchasing process for each transit agency varies greatly, I will not be able to provide a step-by-step process. Any detailed questions should be directed to your transit agency’s customer service team.


Customer Service Centers and Third Party Vendors

Many customer service centers, located at major transit hubs and some rail stations, allow you to purchase transit tickets directly from a customer service agent. Cash and checks are accepted at the customer service centers, though restrictions may be placed on the acceptance of checks. For credit and debit card purchases, you may be directed to a ticket vending machine if one is available.

Many transit agencies partner with third party merchants (such as CVS Pharmacy) to sell transit passes. Check with your transit agency to see if such an arrangement is in place and if so, which vendors take part.


Disclaimer

While I do my best to provide the most accurate information regarding fares in this post. Some things may change over time – such as the way that smartphone apps work. This post is designed to provide a general overview on the types of transit fares available and how to purchase fare media. If you have any detailed questions about your particular transit agency’s procedures, please contact their customer service team.


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The Back To School 2017 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 few months 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!

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.


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