Category Archives: Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART)

HART Route 51X Park-N-Ride Change

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) will be enacting a service change on Monday, July 17, 2017 for Route 51X, which serves Downtown Tampa, New Tampa, and southeastern Pasco County during weekday rush hours. The change being made is regarding the Park-N-Ride lots that the route currently serves.

In an effort to better serve the southeastern Pasco communities, and to better position HART and Pasco County Transit for future system growth; a new Park-N-Ride lot is nearing completion in the Wiregrass district of Wesley Chapel, on Bruce B. Downs Blvd just south of the Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel campus.

The opening of the new Park-N-Ride will replace two existing Park-N-Ride facilities, one at the Victorious Life Church on Old Pasco Rd, and the other at the Tampa Korean United Methodist Church on County Line Rd. The last day of operation for the two latter Park-N-Ride lots will be on Friday, July 14, 2017.

To view the new routing and schedule for HART Route 51X, please see the flyer below. Please also check for further updates on www.goHART.org.

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Transit Tourism – New York City Transit Excursion 2017 – Part 2

In Part 2 of Transit Tourism – New York City Transit Excursion 2017, I am going to document my departure out of Tampa. Now, usually, my trips to Tampa International Airport aren’t much to write about – mainly because of the fact that Tampa Bay’s transit system is so inadequate. It’s even more pitiful when a world class airport like Tampa’s, is only served by one bus route – Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Route 30. Now, It’s been envisioned for a while to have a small transit hub on Tampa International Airport property, but previous plans fell through due to budgetary constraints and changing climates in the airport’s expansion plans. Fast forward to the present, and the airport is undergoing the largest expansion project ever to date. In the coming months, I’ll be making another update to my Tampa International Airport page – which will include photos of the terminal as of May/June 2017. Phase 2 of the airport expansion will include accommodations for HART buses to layover by the Consolidated Rental Car Facility – which would end the practice of buses going through the terminal loop roadway. Customers would instead get off the bus at the rental car center and take a SkyConnect train to the main terminal.

Whether you reside in Town-N-Country or South Tampa, HART Route 30 gets you to Tampa International Airport with 30-minute service seven days a week!

Now, to get back to the purpose of this post; instead of having my mom drop me off at the airport, or taking a taxi (the latter which costs a lot more than what I wanted to spend on transportation), I decided to take HART from my mom’s house in South Tampa to the airport via Routes 19, 36, & 30. Route 19 currently operates every 30 minutes on weekdays and every hour on weekends between Port Tampa City in South Tampa and Downtown Tampa’s Marion Transit Center. The 19 also serves Britton Plaza, Memorial Hospital, the Hyde Park district, and Tampa General Hospital. Buses south of Britton Plaza currently split into two segments, running roughly every hour; Manhattan Ave and WestShore Blvd. Route 36 currently traverses Dale Mabry Hwy and Himes Ave between South Tampa via Britton Plaza and Carrollwood by Fletcher Ave. The 36 runs every 30 minutes on weekdays and every hour on weekends. Finally, Route 30, which serves the airport, runs along Kennedy Blvd from Marion Transit Center to WestShore Blvd, passing by WestShore Plaza and International Plaza malls before arriving at the terminal. Buses continue onward to the Northwest Transfer Center in Town-N-Country, and operate every 30 minutes all day, all week. Under HART’s system reorganization plan, all three routes are slated for major revisions.

While it’s not necessarily easy to get to the airport via transit given the fact that Tampa Bay’s transit system is so inadequate, it is not necessarily impossible either if everything falls into place just right. While planning out my trip to New York, I heavily took transit accessibility into consideration and chose a flight out of Tampa that would not be so early in the morning by which I wouldn’t be able to use the bus to get to the terminal, but also not so late in the day by which I would not be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Big Apple during the same day. I also wanted to ensure that I would be able to connect between the airport in New York and wherever I was staying. The itinerary that I ultimately chose for my flight to New York was one by which the flight out of Tampa would depart at 8:30am and arrive in Washington D.C. (Reagan National Airport) by around 10:45am. My connecting flight out of D.C. would then depart at 12-noon and arrive at New York’s LaGuardia Airport by 1:30pm. This allowed me to plan my bus rides from South Tampa to TPA Airport in a manner by which I would enjoy seamless connections and relatively light traffic on the roads. Even though I had to get up early the morning of May 9, I was more than ready to head out that morning to catch my bus and flight. Best of all, I didn’t have to worry about parking fees or taxi fares, or having a family member drop me off. I left my car at my mom’s house, purchased a 3-day Flamingo Fare via the Flamingo Fares Tampa Bay App, and was able to relax and post on Facebook while on the bus. Below is an illustration showing the HART buses I took.

An illustration showing the HART bus routes that I rode to Tampa International Airport on May 9, 2017. Click on the image for a closer look.

Now before I go into each route, I will go ahead and clear something up that I know some of you will ask me. I purchased a 3-Day Flamingo Fare because I used HART on May 7 and May 8, in addition to May 9. I did this for two reasons; first, so that I would not have to hassle with locating parking in Ybor City or Downtown Tampa, and second, so I wouldn’t have to pay for each bus ride or purchase three separate day passes. May 7 happened to fall during the 2017 RiverFest, which was held along the Downtown Tampa RiverWalk. This family-friendly event featured food, entertainment, and all sorts of activities for everyone to enjoy! As with many Downtown Tampa events, parking is always a challenge, so I parked my car at Britton Plaza and took the 19 to Downtown to check out the festivities. On May 8, I parked in Downtown near the Marion Transit Center and took Route 8 to the HART Ybor City offices for a sit-down discussion with Sandra Morrison – HART’s Public Information Officer, and Marco Sandusky – HART’s Senior Manager of EEO and Community Programs. During our meeting, we discussed HART’s planned restructuring and what suggestions that I had in regards to various routes that are slated to be changed. We definitely had a wonderful discussion and I look forward to future transit conversations with them.


Route 19 – Manhattan Ave Branch to Britton Plaza

My journey to New York kicked off at around 4:00am. My duffel bag and backpack were ready to go the night before, and all I really had to do was get ready for the day ahead. Once I was all set to go (about 5:05am), I double checked my backpack for my boarding passes and then walked over to the bus stop. I managed to arrive at the bus stop just shy of 5:20am, which was the time that the first Route 19 bus to Downtown would depart from Port Tampa City. HART bus #1602 (a 2016 40-foot Gillig Low Floor CNG) arrived on time, and I was able to board without any issues with my Flamingo pass. I took my seat near the front of the bus and enjoyed the fifteen-minute ride to Britton Plaza. The bus actually arrived at the plaza a couple of minutes early, so I was able to have a little extra time at the plaza to eat my egg sandwiches that I prepared the day before. During my wait for Route 36, I saw Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) bus #2309 pull in, the last 2003 Motor Coach Industries (MCI) coach that was still in service for Route 100X. PSTA has slowly been phasing out its ten 2003 coaches since 2015 due to their age and rising cost to maintain them. Until funding avenues can be found for replacement coaches, standard Gillig Low Floor buses are being used as fill-ins for the 100X and 300X. My feeling is that PSTA may eventually purchase a fleet of 40-foot Gillig Low Floor suburban style buses that offer high-back reclining seats and luggage racks. Such buses are currently used at Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) for their Route 100X service. #2309 was pulled from service after May 19, 2017, and is awaiting official retirement.


Route 36 – Dale Mabry Hwy to Kennedy Blvd

HART bus #1004 (a 2010 40-foot Gillig Low Floor Diesel) arrived at Britton Plaza at approximately 5:50am. I quickly boarded and took a seat towards the middle of the bus. My ride was quite enjoyable, just like my ride on Route 19, with little traffic on the roads to delay the bus. While I was concerned that at least one trip would go haywire somehow, that fortunately did not happen. The ride on the 36 in fact, only took about nine minutes and the bus arrived at the stop on Dale Mabry Hwy at Kennedy Blvd on time. The clock had just struck 6:00am as I got off to cross the intersection and proceed to the Route 30 westbound stop.


Route 30 – Kennedy Blvd to TPA Airport

The walk to the Route 30 westbound stop along Kennedy Blvd by Church St took me about ten minutes. Once at the stop, I had until about 6:25am before the Route 30 bus arrived. During my wait, I saw the South Tampa Flex van (#4505) pull up and pick up a passenger. She was the only person to board the van and was the only passenger on board the van when it left. Both the Route 19 and 36 buses had only a handful of passengers on board, which was typical for an early morning trip. Buses typically don’t begin to crowd up midway through the route until around 6:30am, though the Route 36 bus did have a few more passengers on board than the 19 bus did. When #1215 (a 2012 Gillig Low Floor Diesel, which replaced 2000 Gillig Low Floor Diesel #2005) arrived, the bus was pretty crowded, so I was only able to take a seat after a standing passenger at the front of the bus got off a few stops down Kennedy. The bus continued to fill up with passengers until it was almost standing room only. During the fifteen-minute bus ride to the airport, I browsed the web and also posted a few things to Facebook. Like many transit agencies, HART buses are equipped with complimentary WiFi access to allow passengers to browse the web and social media without eating up their data plans. When I got off at the TPA Airport stop, which is located on the north (or Red) side of the Baggage Claim area, the clock read 6:38am, another on time arrival for HART!


Traversing TPA Airport

It took me only a few minutes to walk from the Baggage Claim level to the Shuttle level. For those unfamiliar with TPA Airport’s unique layout (only Orlando International Airport possess a similar layout to Tampa’s), level 1 of the main terminal (also known as the Landside Terminal) is for Baggage Claim. Level 2 is Ticketing and Check-In (of course I checked in online since I was not checking any bags in), and level 3 is where the shops, restaurants, and airside shuttles are located. Boarding and deboarding of planes take place at the airsides, by which passengers will take a people mover shuttle between the main terminal and the airside. SkyConnect will be a people mover line as well – connecting the main terminal to the southeast parking garage and the rental car center. To learn more about TPA Airport, you can visit their website. Also be sure to check out Orlando International’s website if you plan on flying into City Beautiful soon.

Once I arrived at the shuttle station to go to the airside (about 6:45am), I noticed that only one shuttle per airside was in service. During the construction process at the terminal complex, each airside is operating one shuttle instead of two. This is to allow modifications to be made to each of the shuttle bays. In the case with Airside E, both shuttle bays will be relocated so that more space can be made for shops and restaurants. Once the work wraps up next year or so, both shuttles will return to service at each airside. And by the way, the shuttle trip only takes about a minute to complete, which is very convenient versus airport terminals that follow a more traditional layout with long concourses. Security screening wasn’t too bad either and the lines weren’t terribly long. Every time I enter an airport to catch a flight, I’m always concerned that security screening will take a long time. However, on my last fight to New York in 2011, the lines weren’t very long either. At most, it was only about fifteen minutes. By the time I arrived at my gate, it was 7:00am – an hour of relaxation before boarding call!


I will continue my journey to LaGuardia in Part 3 of the series. However, I am going to also talk about the transit system in Washington D.C. and why I’m wary of ever using it. I will also talk about the shuttle buses at Reagan National Airport, so please stay tuned!

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HART Network Restructuring – Part 1

You may have heard during the past few months about Hillsborough Area Regional Transit. I’m not talking about the Premium Transit Feasibility Study or OneBusAway; but rather, I’m referring to the planned network restructuring that the agency is currently planning. The massive changes are a part of the normal Transit Development Plan update that HART, and every transit agency throughout the country, is required to perform periodically. Transit Development Plans are put into place to show the public and other government entities throughout the local, state, and federal levels, as to where transit services are now and where they should be in the future. Many factors are taken into consideration when a transit agency performs a TDP update – including demographical changes, funding levels, and vehicle fleet.

HART is currently conducting a system-wide analysis for the first time since the early 2000s and is seeking public feedback on it. The planned changes are aimed at reducing system inefficiencies while improving core service in the more populated sections of Hillsborough County. The re-evaluation comes at a crucial time – when many in the region are still undecided on where our overall transportation network should head towards, overall transit ridership is dropping across the nation due to economic changes and added transportation and work options, a possible reduction in property taxes in 2019, and an uncertain future over federal transit funding due to vastly different priorities between the previous Obama Administration and the current Trump Administration.


What changes are being made?

Much of the HART bus system as it exists today will be radically different. Many low ridership routes will be eliminated in favor of increasing frequency on higher ridership areas. HART Flex services will be reorganized, as will express bus service. HyperLINK services will ultimately get a boost in service, and overall duplication of stops and routes will be reduced. HART is also looking to serve a couple of areas where demand for transit service is high but aren’t being served yet.

You can view all of the planned changes on the HART Website, but I will highlight a few of the most significant changes.

  • Closure of the West Tampa Transfer Center
  • Elimination of Route 2, being replaced by optimized MetroRapid service that will operate on weekends as well.
  • Reorganization of Routes 7 & 30 (including removing Route 30 from the airport loop. Route 30 would eventually serve the new TPA Airport CONRAC facility).
  • Reorganization of Express services.
  • Expansion/Reorganization of HART Flex services.
  • Expansion of HyperLINK services.
  • Implementation of Uber/Lyft Discount Vouchers for late evening and overnight hours (where it is no longer feasible to run regular buses during the late nights with few riders on board).

How can I voice my concerns & questions?

I will be providing my own insight into these changes in Part 2 of this post. However, I want to help get the word out regarding some upcoming public workshops and hearings so that you’ll be in the know.

Public Workshops

Monday, June 19, 2017 (TODAY!!!)
HCC Southshore Campus
551 24th St NE
Ruskin, FL 33570
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
(10:30 presentation)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017
CDC of Tampa
1907 E. Hillsborough Ave #100
Tampa, FL 33610
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
(6:30 presentation)

Thursday, July 6, 2017
Kate Jackson Community Center
821 S. Rome Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
(6:30 presentation)

Monday, July 10, 2017
University Area CDC
14013 North 22nd St
Tampa, FL 33613
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
(6:30 presentation)

Additional Outreach Events

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Marion Transit Center
1211 N. Marion St
Tampa, FL 33602
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
University Area Transit Center
13110 N. 27th St
Tampa, FL 33612
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Thursday, June 22, 2017
Northwest Transfer Center
9325 W. Waters Ave
Tampa, FL 33615
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Sunday, June 25, 2017
Tampa Outdoor Market – Al Barnes Jr. Park
2902 N 32nd St
Tampa, FL 33605
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Sunday, June 25, 2017
Multicultural Family Day
Water Works Park
1710 N Highland Ave
Tampa, FL 33602
11:00 am – 7:00 pm

Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Marion Transit Center
1211 N. Marion St
Tampa, FL 33602
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
University Area Transit Center
13110 N. 27th St
Tampa, FL 33612
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Town ‘N Country Public Library
7606 Paula Drive #120
Tampa, FL 33615
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Thursday, June 29, 2017
West Tampa Transfer Center
4201 N Himes Ave
Tampa, FL 33607
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Thursday, July 6, 2017
Westfield- Brandon Transfer Center
459 Brandon Town Center Mall
Brandon, FL 33511
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Friday, July 7, 2017
netp@rk Transfer Center
5003 N. 56th St
Tampa, FL 33610
6:30 am – 8:30 am and 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Saturday, July 15, 2017
Hillsborough County Neighborhoods Conference
Sheraton Tampa East
10221 Princess Palm Ave
Tampa, FL 33610
8:00 am – 2:30 pm

Saturday, July 15, 2017
Brandon Mall – Back to School Bash
459 Brandon Town Center Mall
Brandon, FL 33511
10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Formal Public Hearing
Final Opportunity for the public to voice their concerns before the HART Board votes on the changes!!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
HART Ybor, 1201 E. 7th Ave
Tampa, FL 33605
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm


Any questions concerning these community meetings and the public hearing may be directed to HART Service Development, 1201 East 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605, or by email at servdev@goHART.org / HARTinfo Line: (813) 254-4278 / TDD: (813) 626-9158

Special Accommodations:
Any person requiring special accommodations to attend or participate, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act,
should contact HART within at least three (3) business days prior to the meeting at (813) 384-6553.


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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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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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(Note: All links above have been updated to reflect the new website)

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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HART July, 2016 Service Changes

HART July 2016 Service Change Banner 1

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) will be enacting various minor scheduling and time point changes on Sunday, July 17, 2016. These changes will affect Routes 1, 6, 8, 14, and 16.

HART will also permanently incorporate the detour routing for Route 36 along Dale Mabry Hwy and Busch Blvd.

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To view the schedules; please visit www.gohart.org, and from the drop down menu of routes on the “Maps and Schedules” page, scroll to the “HART Service Changes” section.


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Improving Regional Bus Connections in Tampa Bay

Making inter-county travel via transit even better!

With the launch of an improved Purple Bus Route in Hernando County and the upcoming cross-bay connection between Pinellas and Manatee Counties, traveling from one county to another couldn’t be any easier!

An illustration showing all intercounty bus routes, as well as key local connections. Please bear in mind that the lines shown on this map may not actually reflect the true routing of the bus lines. Created by HARTride 2012 using Google Maps and Microsoft Paint.
An illustration showing all intercounty bus routes, as well as key local connections. Please bear in mind that the lines shown on this map may not actually reflect the true routing of the bus lines. Created by HARTride 2012 using Google Maps and Microsoft Paint.

As shown in the illustration above, various transit agencies have launched cross-county bus services in order to improve regional connectivity and provide better services overall to their customers. While many of these services only operate during peak weekday hours, they are no less vital to the overall transit structure and will serve as part of the broader plan for a regional fare structure that is currently in development.

Current Services

Now that I’ve outlined which services operate, let’s take a look at each inter-county route in a bit more detail.

Route 18 – Pasco County Public Transportation (PCPT): This local Monday through Saturday bus route travels from the Cross Bayou K-Mart near US 19 to Tarpon Springs, where connections to Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) Route 66 are available.

Route 19 – Pasco County Public Transportation (PCPT): This local Monday through Saturday bus route travels along US 19 from Tarpon Springs, where connections to PSTA Routes 19 and 66 are available, to Bayonet Point Plaza, where connections to PCPT Route 21 are available. Route 21 in-turn connects to the Scheer Commerce Center, where connections to the Hernando Bus Purple Route are available.

Route 20X – Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART): This peak weekday express bus route was established back in the 1980s and allows for customers to connect to Downtown Tampa from Lutz and Lake Magdalene. In 2011, the route was extended into the southern fringe of Central Pasco County, where it begins its AM runs from the Super Target parking lot on County Line Rd and Dale Mabry Hwy. Future expansion of the route could allow for connections to Pasco County Public Transportation (PCPT) Route 54.

Route 51X – Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART): Introduced during the 2000s, this peak weekday express bus route provides connections between Downtown Tampa, New Tampa, and the Wesley Chapel area of Pasco. PCPT Route 54 connect to the HART service at the Victorious Life Church Park and Ride Lot during selected trips. Future modifications of the route will allow it to better serve Wesley Chapel by serving the Shoppes at Wiregrass and the Florida Hospital campus. Use of the Victorious Life Church Park and Ride Lot will eventually discontinue.

Route 99 – Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) and Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT): Launched in 2004, this Monday through Saturday local route connects Palmetto to Bradenton and Sarasota. Connections to both agencies routes are available along the way.

Route 100X – Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA): Introduced in 1985 as a HART route, PSTA took over the 100X in 1993 and midday trips have since been added to what was originally a peak only weekday express route. This route currently connects Downtown Tampa to South Tampa and the Gateway region of St. Petersburg, but future plans have the route being extended towards Downtown St. Petersburg and the addition of Saturday service is not too far off either.

Route 200X – Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART): Route 200X started out as a state-operated experimental shuttle in the 1970s. By the 1980s, it had become a vital connection between Downtown Tampa and eastern Clearwater. The route currently operates during peak hours, Monday through Friday, but modification could occur if a planned Clearwater Beach to Tampa International Airport express route is launched.

Route 300X – Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA): Launched in 2003, this peak weekday express route provides connections between the Ulmerton Rd Park and Ride Lot on Ulmerton Rd and Starkey Rd, and Downtown Tampa. Midday trips are provided and future expansion could hold more trips for this service.

The Oldsmar/Tampa/Countryside Flex Connector – Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA): Launched in 2012, the OTC Flex Connector provides Monday through Saturday cutaway van service to the Countryside/Boot Ranch area of Pinellas, as well as Oldsmar and Town-N-Country. The route’s western terminus is Countryside Mall and the eastern terminus is HART’s Northwest Transfer Center. Both transfer hubs provide connections to both agencies own routes. Customers wishing to continue from Town-N-Country from the Flex route can use HART Route 30, and those wanting to connect from Countryside Mall can use PSTA Route 19 to get to St. Petersburg’s Grand Central Station, the Pinellas Park Transit Center, or Tarpon Springs. For those wanting to travel toward Downtown Clearwater, PSTA Routes 76 and 78 can get you there.

The Longboat Key Trolley (Route 18) – Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) and Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) Not Shown on the Map Above: The Longboat Key Trolley provides a cross-county beach-side connection from Downtown Sarasota to Longboat Key. Those wishing to go northward can connect to the Anna Maria Trolley, and connections to MCAT Route 6 is also available.

The Hernando Bus Purple Route: While the Purple Route has been in service for some time now, the western terminus fell short of the Pasco/Hernando County Line. In January of 2016, this changed when the route was extended to the Scheer Commerce Center, allowing for connections to PCPT Route 21. The Purple Route operates only Monday through Friday.

The Skyway ConneXion – Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT): Launching on April 1, 2016, the Monday through Friday two-round-trip express route will allow for connections between the MCAT and PSTA systems via I-275. The route will operate as a pilot for the first few months to evaluate ridership demand.

Megabus Service to Orlando and Miami Not Shown on the Map Above: Megabus.com launched its Florida intercity bus services in 2014 and allows for connections to nearly all major Florida cities.

Redcoach and Greyhound also provide intercity bus services to many major Florida cities.

Filling in the missing links

While the above services lay the foundation for vital inter-county connections, more funding is needed to expand upon what we have and allow for even more connections to other counties in the future. PSTA and HART are both currently planning  additional connections between Pinellas and Hillsborough, specifically to connect to Tampa International Airport, which is currently only served by HART Route 30. HART also has short term plans to enhance its New Tampa and Central Pasco service, as well as longer term plans to provide even more service to Pasco, as well as create connections to Manatee and Polk Counties. Hopefully one day, one can be able to seamlessly travel throughout the entire Central Florida Region via transit; including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, Manatee, Sarasota, Polk, Osceola, Orange, Lake, Seminole, and Volusia Counties.


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OneBusAway – PSTA

If you visited Hillsborough Area Regional Transit’s OneBusAway desktop website (http://tampa.onebusaway.org/enterprise/) this morning, you may have noticed something different.

PSTA's Route 59 on the HART OneBusAway desktop website.
PSTA’s Route 59 on the HART OneBusAway desktop website.

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority bus routes were indeed showing up on HART’s OBA interface, rather than HART’s own routes (though HART Routes 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 16, 30, 31, 33, 34, 36, 37, 39, 41, 45, 46, 57, 96, and 400-MetroRapid were all showing as they normally would, as well as some HART express routes). If you were using the mobile app for OBA, the situation was a lot less confusing, as both HART and PSTA routes showed up on the interface.

Now, while I can only guess that today’s occurrence was a test run of sorts, HART and PSTA have been working together for the past several months to bring OBA functionality over to Pinellas County, as part of a broader regional connectivity plan that will soon usher in the first stages of a regional smart card-based fare structure. So therefore, I also see today’s occurrence to be the next stage in preparations for the official launch of OBA in Pinellas, which is currently slated to happen sometime later this year.

Don't worry, PSTA's current "Real Time" interface, powered by Clever Devices, is not going away.
Don’t worry, PSTA’s current “Real Time” interface, powered by Clever Devices, is not going away.

For those wondering about PSTA’s current “Real Time” bus tracking system that is powered through Clever Devices, that system is here to stay. Instead, OBA will become an additional convenience for PSTA customers – especially those who utilize smartphones. Those of us who have utilized the Clever Devices interface know that if you’re using a smartphone, the only effective avenue to track buses in real time is the mobile “text-only” site.

With the preparations continuing for PSTA to join the OBA realm – which already includes the New York City MTA, Sound Transit, and Atlanta’s MARTA, in addition to HART – expect to see more great things from both agencies as we head towards the summer months. My only question now is, will the official launch of OBA (Pinellas) happen sooner than some of us think it will? Only time will tell on that I guess…


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HART Minor Schedule Changes for March 27, 2016

HART March 2016 Service Change Banner 1

Post updated on 3/26/16.

On Sunday, March 27, 2016 and Monday, March 28, 2016, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) will be enacting minor scheduling changes to Routes 24X, 25LX, 27LX, 28X, 31, 36, and 41. These changes will all comprise of running time changes to improve efficiency along each of the routes. New schedules can be viewed through the Maps and Schedules page of goHART.org by selecting the route drop down box, then scrolling down to the bottom of the list. New schedule booklets will be distributed roughly one to two weeks prior to the changes taking effect. Any questions or concerns about these changes should be brought directly to HART’s attention. You can contact HART via phone at 813-254-4278.

The final weekday northbound Route 36 trip will leave at 9:15PM instead of 9:05PM.


Update: 3/26/16

In addition to the above mentioned changes, the following changes are also being made to the following routes:

  • Route 4: The current detour that takes buses down Interbay Blvd and Dale Mabry Hwy prior to 9:00am will become permanent. Please see the route map for details.
  • Route 16: Additional weekday eastbound trip at 8:15PM.
  • Route 47LX: The 4:40 PM trip out of Marion Transit Center will continue from the South 301 Park-n-Ride to Amazon Fulfillment Center.

Service change


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