LAST UPDATE: 01/20/2021
Welcome aboard HART!
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) is the public transit district in Hillsborough County, Florida, covering the municipalities of Tampa, Temple Terrace, Carrollwood, Brandon, and Ruskin. HART was established by an act of the Florida Legislature in 1980 and comprises of over 40 fixed-route local and express bus routes, a door-to-door paratransit service (HARTPlus), several flex-route neighborhood connectors (HART Flex), and a lightened version of bus rapid transit (MetroRapid). In addition to these services, HART also manages the TECOline Streetcar Line.
- Transit Routes
- TECO Line Streetcar
- Historical Notes
- Transit Vehicle Fleet
- Service Advisories
- Covid-19 Information (via HART’s blog)
Short-term detours & service changes (less than 2 weeks in duration) can be viewed on the HART website.
Unlike PSTA, HART never suspended fare collection & all normal fares remain in effect. Customers may utilize Flamingo Fares for a contactless experience.
Please try as best as possible to limit transit usage to essential trips.
The remainder of this page will go through a general overview of the HART bus system; including the structure by which HART bus routes operate on, transit centers and other major bus transfer points, and practical information such as current fares.
New to the system? Please read through my Transit 101 posts to get a general overview of how to use public transit. For specific information pertaining to HART, please visit their website.
Network Structure & Transit Centers
Like many transit districts; HART operates on a hub-spoke system by which routes travel out of centralized transfer points. There are currently two full-service transit centers that include a staffed customer service window. These centers also include restrooms, sheltered bus loading bays, & vending machines. In downtown Tampa, the Marion Street Transit Center (MTC) provides seamless connections to roughly a dozen local bus routes & 2 limited express bus routes.
Additionally, the MTC’s northern platform (which serves MetroRapid) also provides transfers to Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) express bus routes 100X & 300X, as well as intercity bus services provided by Megabus and RedCoach. In northeast Tampa, near the University of South Florida, the University Area Transit Center provides seamless connections to 10 local bus routes, one limited express route, and the MetroRapid North-South Line.
In addition to these facilities; HART also has three transfer centers that have sheltered bus loading bays, restrooms, and vending machines. These centers include the East Tampa (known as NetP@rk) Transfer Center, the Northwest Transfer Center, & the Yukon Street Transfer Center. Ticket vending machines (or TVMs) are also available at the Northwest, & Yukon Transfer Centers. There are also several other transfer points located throughout Hillsborough County.
A fourth transfer center in West Tampa (the West Tampa Transfer Center) was in operation between 2007 & 2017 before it was closed down due to the 2017 Mission MAX network optimization project. HART still owns the property & utilizes it on occasion for special events & bus staging as needed, but is otherwise not open to the public. It is unclear as to what HART eventually intends to do with the property. It could possibly be reopened should the agency receive additional long-term funding or the agency could opt to sell it to another interest.
Information regarding the WTTC can be found via the Historical Notes section.
The Marion Street Transit Center (better known as just the Marion Transit Center or MTC) opened in 2001 to replace a not-so-pleasant bus transfer depot located underneath Interstate 275 called the Northern Terminal. Prior to the opening of the MTC, customers had to deal with water leaking from the viaduct overhead whenever it rained. In addition, the Northern Terminal had no restroom facilities, which served as a huge inconvenience for customers. With the Northern Terminal becoming quickly outdated by the mid 1990s, it was clear that HART had to find a new site to build a modern terminal. In the late 1990s, the Florida Department of Transportation announced that the downtown viaduct section of I-275 would be undergoing a major overhaul. As a result, HART eventually chose a site located along Marion and Morgan Streets, just south of Scott Street to build its new downtown bus terminal.
The Marion Transit Center happily sits on the northern end of the Marion Street Transitway, which was constructed during the 1980s. The MTC serves nearly 15 local and express routes (including PSTA’s 100X and 300X) and includes an array of amenities, including; a customer service center, office space, bus driver lounge, restrooms, bus shelters, and an array of public art displays. There is also an on-site “grab-n-go” eatery called MTC2, which is operated in partnership with the MacDonald Training Center. In mid-2009, HART began installing television screens in select parts of the transit center to display real-time departure information.
The MTC serves the following routes: 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 19, 30, 275LX, & 360LX (Main complex), MetroRapid (400), PSTA 100X & 300X, Megabus, RedCoach (North Platform).
Constructed in the late 1990s & located in the USF area (within the quadrant of 131st Ave, Livingston Ave, N 27th St, & 132nd Ave), the UATC is the transfer point for 10 local bus routes, one limited express route, & is the northern end of MetroRapid Route 400. This facility includes bus shelters, restrooms, & a customer service center.
The UATC serves the following routes: 1, 5, 6, 9, 12, 33, 42, 44, 45, 48, 275LX, & MetroRapid (400).
Located on the corner of Sheldon Road & Waters Ave, the Northwest Transfer Center replaced the makeshift bus depot at Hanley/Waters Plaza. Construction began in the spring of 2007 & was dedicated/opened to patrons July 29, 2008. The facility is equipped with vending machines, restrooms for both patrons and employees, an adjacent park-n-ride lot & eight bus loading bays.
The Northwest Transfer Center serves the following routes: 16, 30, 34, 39, & PSTA Route 812.
Located in east Tampa, on the site of the NetPark Office Center (formerly East Lake Square Mall), off 56th Street and Hillsborough Ave, the NetPark Transfer Center is a transfer point for 7 local routes & includes restrooms, phones, & vending machines. The facility is also slated to become a stop for the future MetroRapid Route 401 & possibly a subsequent 56th St/US 41 express or rapid line.
NetPark serves the following routes: 6, 15, 32, 34, 37, 38, & 48.
Situated within Sulphur Springs, the Yukon St Transfer Center was HART’s very first sheltered transfer center, opening to customers back in 1983. This facility was renovated in 2012 to bring everything up to modern standards, including the addition of restrooms.
The Yukon facility serves the following routes: 14 & 16. Customers needing to use Route 1 can walk a short distance to street-side stops at Florida Ave & Yukon St.
With the massive overhaul and expansion of the Tampa International Airport complex, a bus hub canopy & platform were constructed next to the new Rental Car Center. This facility is able to accommodate up to seven 40-foot buses at one time. Customers getting off at the hub to catch a flight can utilize an elevator bank at the northern end of the platform to transfer to SkyConnect trains to the main terminal complex.
The TPA Airport Bus Hub currently serves the following routes: 10, 30, 32, & PSTA Route 300X. The hub may also become home to the future MetroRapid Route 401, as well as planned regional express routes from Pinellas & Pasco Counties.
- Britton Plaza in South Tampa serves routes 14, 17, 19, 36, 360LX & PSTA Route 100X. This is a singular sheltered platform located at the center of the plaza’s parking lot. Buses stage nearby along Dale Mabry Hwy.
- Westfield Brandon in Brandon serves routes 8, 31, 37, 38, & 46. This is a singular sheltered platform located near the mall’s Food Court entrance. Buses stage nearby along the circulator road.
- WestShore Plaza in the WestShore Business District serves routes 15 & 45. This a singular sheltered platform with three bus loading bays. A street-side stop for Route 30 is located at the intersection of WestShore Blvd and Gray St, across from Sears. It is possible that these two routes may move to the TPA Airport Bus hub at a later time.
Span of Operating Service
While most HART routes & the TECOline Streetcar operate 7-days-a-week, Routes 24LX, 25LX, 31 & South County Flex only operate on weekdays, & Route 275LX only serves downtown Tampa on weekdays. Additionally, Route 360LX only serves downtown Tampa & Brandon Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, the route only serves the segment in South Tampa that runs south of Britton Plaza.
On the following major holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day, HART will operate a Sunday-level schedule. On all other holidays, as well as Black Friday and Christmas Eve, buses will operate a normal Weekday schedule – though exceptions may apply.
I usually try to blog about upcoming holiday service schedules approximately 2 weeks prior to the upcoming holiday. Please keep in mind that routes that normally do not operate on Sundays will not operate on the selected holidays above either, regardless of the day of the week that the holiday falls upon.
Below is the current fare structure for the HART system, effective October 1, 2015. Fares have not changed dramatically since then, though express fares were eliminated in January 2021 due to the elimination of the agency’s remaining express routes (limited express routes remain, but the local fare is assessed). A major overhaul of the HART fare structure is coming in July, 2021 with the full public rollout of Flamingo Fares.
- One-Way Cash Fares
- HART Local, Limited Express, and MetroRapid: $2.00.
- Discount*: $1.00.
- HART Local, Limited Express, and MetroRapid: $2.00.
- HARTride Passes
- 1-Day Unlimited Ride Local: $4.00.
- Discount*: $2.00.
- 10-pack Local: $37.00.
- Discount*: $18.50.
- 10-pack Commuter Express: $53.00.
- Discount*: $26.50.
- Adult Student 31-Day Unlimited Ride Local: $48.75 (from participating educational institutions).
- HART provides a Semester Pass for Hillsborough Community College students for $110.00.
- 31-Day Unlimited Ride Local: $65.00.
- Discount*: $32.50.
- 3-Day Unlimited Ride Visitor Pass: $11.75.
- Bulk Purchase Discount (200 passes or more): $9.50.
- 1-Day Unlimited Ride Local: $4.00.
- Multi-County Passes
- Intercounty PSTA/HART Monthly Passport: $85.00 – For use on all PSTA and HART Bus, Trolley, and Streetcar Routes.
- HART Flex Fares
- One-Way Cash Fare: $1.00.
- One-Day Pass: $2.00.
- Regional Fares (Flamingo Card or App)
- 1-Way Cash Fare: $3.00, with a reduced fare of $1.50*.
- 1-Day Category: $6.00.
- 3-Day Category: $18.00.
- 7-Day Category: $30.00.
- 31-Day Category: $85.00.
- The Flamingo Fares project may introduce other fare categories not listed here. You can visit your respective smartphone’s app store to download the smartphone app. The Flamingo Fares Smart Card is coming soon to the general public.
(*)indicates that a HART Discount Permit is required.
Bikes on Transit
All HART vehicles (including Flex vans) are equipped with bike racks (can accommodate a maximum of two bikes). Additionally, folding bikes are allowed on board, given that they are properly packed/folded and are not blocking aisles. Please see my Transit 101 blog post regarding Bikes on Transit to learn how to use the on-board bike rack. You can also contact HART at 813-254-4278 to set up a demonstration.
The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (or TBARTA) provides alternative transportation solutions to help ease congestion along Bay Area roadways. These services include carpooling/vanpooling services, a bike buddy service, and the Emergency Ride Home program. Visit the TBARTA Commuter Services Website, or call 1-800-998-RIDE for further information. USF Tampa students can also take part in these wonderful services, including Emergency Ride Home!
Please keep in mind that information on this page is subject to change, especially things like schedules and fares. I do try my best to keep things as accurate as possible, but sometimes things change without notice. To obtain the latest information, please visit HART’s website or call 813-254-4278.
Please be patient as I continue to work on this section. I will have much more to come soon!