July, 2019 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

For our July Showcase photo, we continue our journey across the US. Where to next you ask?

Miami-Dade Transit (a.k.a. Miami-Dade Department of Transportation & Public Works – DTPW) # 19154 on Route 137.

This month, we head southeast to Miami, FL, where we have the largest transit system in all of Florida – Miami-Dade Transit. The above photo was taken by our South Florida regional moderator Carlos A.

Miami-Dade Transit was established in 1960 and oversees roughly 90 bus routes, 2 elevated rail lines, a people mover system, & paratransit services. The agency is currently planning to execute a major overhaul of its bus system & wishes to expand upon the current Metrorail elevated rail network. However, like many transit agencies across the globe – funding & political issues act as blockades at times when it comes to realizing the system’s full potential.

One of the biggest problems that has faced M-D DTPW is that its entire fleet has become vastly outdated, with buses & trains consistently breaking down, causing customer frustration throughout the network. Fortunately, this scene is being alleviated with new modern trains & buses, which are entering service throughout the remainder of 2019 & continuing through 2020. Once the fleet has been replenished, there could very well be a major expansion effort that follows.

Our South Florida regional moderator Carlos resides in the Miami area & regularly rides the M-D DTPW system. His photos also grace the Global Transit Guidebook website. Pretty soon, you’ll be seeing a dedicated section to the DTPW network – including a list of bus & rail routes, fleet page, & other information.


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June, 2019 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

For our June Showcase photo, we continue our journey across the US. Where to next you ask?

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit # 1218 (ex-Sarasota County Area Transit # 1202X) at the Marion Transit Center in Tampa, FL.

This month, we come back to my original home transit system – Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) in Tampa, FL – to showcase one of its newer additions to the fleet. No, it’s not the swanky new 2019 Gilligs, those will be profiled in a later post. Instead, I’m going to focus on the first batch of secondhand buses that HART has had during the past decade – the 2011 and 2012 40-foot suburban style Gilligs from Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT). Before I jump into the buses themselves, let’s take a glance at the HART system as a whole.

HART began back in 1981 as a countywide replacement to privately-operated service Tampa City Lines – which was originally parented by National City Lines. The agency started with roughly 20 or so local routes and a small handful of “Downtowner” express routes that converged into downtown Tampa. Over time, the system gradually expanded to include major portions of Hillsborough County, including Plant City, Temple Terrace, Carrollwood, & Ruskin.

In 2005 & 2017 respectively, the agency underwent significant service overhauls & optimizations to gradually shift away from the old hub-spoke system & towards a more gridded system that focuses on streetside transfers rather than formal hubs. With the possibility that a new funding source will finally be put to good use, the agency is gearing up for a major expansion over the next decade that would include doubling current bus service & possibly create new multimodal avenues throughout the county.

Currently, HART has roughly 200 buses in its fleet – but should have around 450 or so to effectively serve the needs of Hillsborough. As of May, 2019, 70 of those buses are powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), & there are plans to add battery electrics to the fleet in the coming years. In addition to the mainstay fleet, HART has acquired the 8 Gillig buses from Sarasota, as well as 6 Gillig buses from Orlando – marking the second time in 11 years that the agency has purchased secondhand buses.

So how are the ex-SCAT suburbans doing?

On November 13, 2018, #’s 1201X (now 1217) & 1202X (now 1218) were formally transferred to HART. Re-branding of the buses into the HART livery began shortly thereafter, followed by general preparation (installing the HART fareboxes, radios, etc.). 1218’s first day in revenue service with HART was March 5, 2019, with 1217 following suit on March 26, 2019. During the course of May 1 through 3, 2019 – after being delayed due to paperwork issues on SCAT’s end – #’s 1101X through 1106X (to be re-branded as simply 1101 through 1106) were transferred & are currently undergoing re-branding. I predict that these buses will be on the road by the beginning of September, though they could enter revenue service as early as mid August. All of the buses will primarily be assigned to Routes 60LX & 275LX – which serve Tampa International Airport. However, runs on Route 20X have happened & runs on the 360LX are not entirely out of the question either.


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May, 2019 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

For our May Showcase photo, we continue our journey across the US. Where to next you ask?

Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) # B028 on the First Coast Flyer Blue Line.

This month’s destination is Jacksonville, FL, known to many as River City, as the mouth of the St. Johns River is just east of the city center. Jacksonville is among a handful of cities that I know of by which are completely incorporated into the county by which they’re located in. This means that no matter what point you enter Duval County, you also simultaneously enter the Jacksonville city limits. This also means that some services – such as police – operate as a combined countywide entity, rather than having separate municipal and county departments.

In 1988, the residents of Duval passes a gas tax aimed at funding various transportation needs within the county without continuing to rely on tolls. This allowed tolling points along the various tolled bridges and expressways to be eliminated. This, along with other organizational changes over the years allowed the JTA to take on the scope of not just providing public transit services, but also county-level roadway improvements [though some projects involve coordination with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)].

The JTA currently operates the Skyway monorail in Downtown Jacksonville, as well as 30 local bus routes, 7 shuttle bus routes, 4 express bus routes, and the First Coast Flyer BRT Lite network – comprising of 4 lines (one of which is currently under construction). The JTA also operates the St Johns River Ferry, the Clay Community Transportation flex van service, the Gameday Xpress football game shuttle during Jacksonville Jaguars home games, and Paratransit services (Connexion). Additionally, the JTA partners with other entities to provide Connexion Plus (private, same-day, door-to-door service), ReadiRide (on-demand ride-share style service), and the Nassau Express Select van service.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit Jacksonville on several occasions during the past two decades, but more recently, I’ve been able to hop on a few of the JTA local routes, as well as the First Coast Flyer Green, Blue, and Red lines. The Purple Line remains under construction, with a projected opening for some time in 2020. The bus depicted in this month’s photo was on the Blue Line. The JTA’s bus fleet comprises of all Gillig Low Floor models, with some newer buses possessing the BRT Plus styling. While most of the fleet is diesel-powered, there are a few diesel-electric hybrid buses operating. In 2014, JTA began transitioning its fleet to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), with its first batch of buses becoming operational in 2015. There are a total of 94 CNG buses in operation (out of a total of roughly 200 buses), with 43 of them being specifically branded for the FCF system.


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Spring Hiatus

Sometimes, you need time to re-focus on more important matters.

As the title implies, I will be taking some time away from publishing new blog posts to re-focus on updating existing content & pages on The Global Transit Guidebook website. This hiatus will begin on Thursday, May 2, 2019 and will end on Friday, June 29, 2019. The only exception to the hiatus will be on Saturday, June 1, 2019, when I will automatically publish my June “Showcase” photo post. Other than that though, there will be no new blog posts during this time.


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Vacation Time!

Time for a vacation…


I would like to take a few moments to inform my readers that I will be on vacation from of April 11, 2019 through 14, 2019. Additionally, I will be largely offline from April 8 through the 10 & also from April 15 through the 17. During this time; website activities will be temporarily suspended, and Social Media activities will be limited. My social media moderators John B. & Jake will be overseeing The Global Transit Guidebook Facebook Page & the Global Transit Guidebook Forum Facebook Group during my time away. Please do not hesitate to reach out to them if you have any questions or concerns.


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April, 2019 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

For our April Showcase photo, we continue our journey across the US. Where to next you ask?

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) # 3437 on Route 39C in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

This month’s destination is Toronto, the provincial capitol of Ontario in Canada, and its transit agency – the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). The above photo was contributed by Global Transit Guidebook Forum member Toby R.

Now, if you’ve been following The Global Transit Guidebook for a while now, you’ll notice that this isn’t the first time that a TTC vehicle has appeared on the Showcase rolls. However, the streetcar got airtime last time, so now it’s time for the bus network to shine!

The TTC has been around since the 1920s & operates over 150 bus routes, 10 streetcar lines, & 4 bus routes. In focusing on the bus network this time around, I’ll briefly break down the various bus services that exist within the TTC system, as well as the agency’s bus fleet.

Like any transit agency, the TTC has a network of local bus routes that connect to various parts of the metro region. However, many routes operate in branches (noted by a suffix letter next to the route number) – so some branch routes may serve specific thoroughfares & destinations or have limited stop service, while others may only run limited trips during the day, or seasonal trips. Thus, it’s very important to check the respective route number, map, & schedule to ensure that you board the correct bus. Some routes & branches may operate frequent service – meaning departures are every 10 minutes or better during peak times.

In addition to the local network, the TTC operates a variety of express routes – many serving downtown Toronto, community shuttle routes, & night service routes – operating strategically when streetcar & subway service has ended for the night.

The TTC bus fleet comprises exclusively of either Orion or Nova vehicles – though Orion Bus Industries was later acquired by competitor New Flyer Industries. The agency will pick up new NFI battery electric vehicles later this year – along with a batch of Proterra & BYD battery electric vehicles.


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Friday Rewind – 2008 HART Fleet Repainting

Out with the old & in with the new.



In this month’s Friday Rewind, I take a look back at when Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) began repainting their bus fleet. When I began riding HART in 2006, most of their buses still donned the late 90’s era “HARTline” white with red/blue/green ribbons scheme. The only exception was the 2005 & 2006-series buses which had the same scheme that is used today, but in a purple/gray tone. The latter buses signified the overall transition from the “HARTline” days to the modern era, but that transition – little known to me at the time – was not yet complete.

Now retired bus # 2015 at Britton Plaza. This was a 2000-series bus that had been involved in an accident a few months prior to this sighting & was repainted as part of work done to repair the damage from the accident.

Here’s what I wrote in my original post back on August 13, 2008.

Some of you may have noticed in recent weeks that many of HART’s buses look like they’re literally going to the dogs. Especially in respects to the exterior paint being scratched away in some areas.

Rest assured; the entire fleet is in good hands. In fact, a couple buses rolled out this week with a fresh coat of paint. The blue, navy, and white livery matches the style of the purple, violet, and white livery that is already seen on Commuter Express buses. However, I assume that HART chose the color scheme to better match the buses to the agency’s logo, which is also navy and blue.

The Global Transit Guidebook by HARTride 2012 –
https://globaltransitguidebook.com/2008/08/13/hart-rolls-out-repainted-buses-for-local-routes-amid-reporting-record-ridership-levels/

The new livery is only a part of the many changes that HART’s fleet of buses are going through at the present time. You may have read the post regarding the installation of GPS and automated annunciation systems, as well as security cameras, on all buses. Well those systems seem to be fully functional since my last ride on the Route 19 in late July. I don’t know how extensive the GPS system operates, but I’m sure we will be seeing real-time message boards at some transfer centers in the not too distant future, so that patrons will be able to know exactly when the next bus departs.

The Global Transit Guidebook by HARTride 2012 –
https://globaltransitguidebook.com/2008/08/13/hart-rolls-out-repainted-buses-for-local-routes-amid-reporting-record-ridership-levels/

As mentioned above, other changes were occurring with HART’s fleet at the time, including installation of GPS, surveillance, and automated announcement systems – all of which are still in use but are slated for upgrades in the coming months. There was also a short-lived trial of having LCD screens at the Marion Transit Center that displayed real-time departure information. This project eventually went to the wayside in favor of the OneBusAway app.


Wondering how HART’s livery has evolved over the years? Simply view the gallery below:


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March, 2019 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

For our March Showcase photo, we continue our journey across the US. Where to next you ask?


This month’s destination is New York City – but I’m not profiling the MTA this time. It’s time to give the PATH some limelight. I took the above photo during my 2017 New York City transit excursion.

The PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) subway system originated from its predecessor – the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad – & was originally envisioned to be much larger than it is today, but budgetary, political, & other constraints stifled every possibility of the network realizing its full potential. Nonetheless, the PATH line are an integral part of the overall regional transit network in New York City & surrounding areas.

PATH service operates seven days a week with frequent service during the day on weekdays & less service on weekends & overnights. There are two service branches – the Newark/World Trade Center branch & the Newport/Hoboken/Midtown Manhattan branch. Service patterns vary between weekday daytime & weekday evening/weekends/holidays. The current service pattern, schedules, & service advisories are available on the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey website.


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Website Update – February 2019

Creating a better website experience for you.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been making preparations for my next & largest website update to date. Many of you may have already noticed the new theme & layout, as well as the completion of some sections.

However, over the next few months, I’ll be heavily working on sections that I previously was unable to complete due to other obligations. Such sections for the most part, have been temporarily taken down until I’ve had a chance to re-work them. You’ll thus notice the lack of links on the navigation bar.

My completed sections/pages so far comprise of the following:

  • Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority section (with the exception of the Active Transit Vehicles page)
  • Manatee County Area Transit section
  • About section
  • Other Features & Projects section
  • Intercity Transit Services subsection
  • Transit Museum subsection
  • Alternative Fueled Vehicles subsection

If you’d like to get sneak peak on what I’m working on here at The Global Transit Guidebook & you happen to have a presence on Facebook, please feel free to join The Global Transit Guidebook Forum Facebook Group. There, you can also share your transit-related photos & experiences, partake in periodic group polls & photo contests, & share transit-related news & happenings from your area. You do not have to be a transit enthusiast or advocate to join.


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February, 2019 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

For our February Showcase photo, we continue our journey across the US. Where to next you ask?


This month’s destination is Salt Lake City, UT & its surrounding region – served by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA). The UTA operates roughly 110 fixed bus routes [including bus rapid transit (BRT) service], several light rail lines, a modern streetcar line, & a commuter rail line. The agency also possesses over 400 transit buses (mostly Gilligs, but there are some Orion & New Flyer buses as well), roughly 164 paratransit & flex vans, roughly 114 light rail vehicles, 53 commuter rail cars, & 18 locomotives (as of 2017).

The Showcase photo for this month is bus # 13036, which is a 2013 40-foot Gillig Low Floor diesel with the BRT Plus styling. While most of UTA’s buses are diesel powered, there are some diesel-electric hybrid & compressed natural gas (CNG) powered buses in the fleet as well.

UTA services operate throughout the week, with many bus routes operating at least every 30 minutes during the day – with some popular routes operating every 15 minutes. Bus & rail services can vary depending on the type of route or service, destinations, & day of the week. Services may be reduced during major holidays.


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