Monday, April 25, 2011

How to Ride

Tampa is synonymous with pirates, so it’s only fitting that a few “arrrgh mateys” would help us teach you and other riders the ins and outs of riding HART. The video was shot in various locations of downtown Tampa and focuses on the Krewe of Gasparilla and their adventurous trek back to their ship.

Luckily, HART was there to help them keep their head above water!

The video can be found on the HART YouTube Channel, as well as on

Thanks to the Krewe of Gasparilla, the production “krewe” at CTTV and HART Employees, Marcia Mejia and Mark Sheppard for their help with the video! Great job!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Green at HART

Forty-one years ago, the first Earth Day was held around the country with over 20 million people participating in the event to create awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural beauty. One day out of 365 days (366 when you throw a leap year into the mix) to appreciate the Earth and protecting it.

Shouldn't the Earth be a concern... every day? That's the thought process at HART.

What we do naturally has a connection with "green", through taking cars off the road, reducing carbon emissions and providing for more walkable communities. In fact, the American Public Transportation (APTA), shows that public transportation saves the United States 4.2 billion gallons of gas annually and saves the U.S. $13.7 billion in congestion each year!

As an organization, we feel it's necessary to be a responsible organization focused on environmental sustainability. That's why we don't just rest on the numbers above.

HART has taken a number of steps to ensure that as an organization we are doing our part for the planet. Sure we have some hybrid buses and some hybrid staff vehicles, but the meat and potatoes is in the waste that HART recycles during our day-to-day maintaining and operating of the buses and the 750+ employee organization.

Steps that HART takes in regards to our fleet vehicles:
  • Entire fleet is EPA certified
  • Replaced 38% of our bus fleet with the latest EPA-certified low emission engines
  • Waste oil, used non-crushed oil filters, coolant, scrap metal, aluminum is all recycled
  • Freon is reused after being captured by a reclaim system
  • HART purchases recycled and environmentally friendly coolants
  • Use of synthetic oils, which extends the life of the oil and minimizes the number of times we have to drain it
  • 80% recyclable vehicle wash systems
Steps HART takes in regards to our transit facilities:
  • Waterless urinals and low-water consumption equipment are in place
  • Solar film was recently (April 2011) installed at Marion Transit Center to improve cooling efficiency
  • Motion sensor lights in restroom facilities
  • Electric hand dryers
  • Fluorescent bulbs are crushed; glass remains and mercury are recycled
  • All chemicals and cleaners are green certified
  • Use of non-aerosol sprays
  • No-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints that can have pretty serious health effects (liver/kidney damage)
  • 65% of our bus shelters have solar panels, with plans to include panels on all our shelters within 2 years
  • All office paper, batteries, copier toner cartridges and electronic circuit boards are recycled
With over 750+ employees, 200+ vehicles, and over 10 million miles traveled by our service vehicles last year, you can imagine just how much waste is recycled.

HART has also operated on a compressed work week schedule since 2008 for our Administrative Office in Ybor. The office is closed every other Friday, allowing HART to realize some energy cost savings through a reduction in energy consumption.

Shortly, HART will also take the "LEED" by beginning construction on the HART Operations Facility renovation into a Leadership into Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building - get it? Lead... LEED? The redesign will introduce a slew of new windows into the building, taking advantage of natural lighting. Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting (consuming 50% less electricity than fluorescent lighting) will also be featured throughout the building.

The name of the game nowadays is sustainability. Using public transportation is one of a variety of possible sustainable commutes, but know that beyond the buses, vans and streetcars, HART is doing its part for the environment!

In the past HART has been named a "Best Workplace for Commuters", given a "Clean Air Partnership Designation", and received "GreenFleet" status through the Enivronmental Protection Commission.

HART would like to extend the "green" gesture, by offering FREE rides on the HART system (not including the TECO Line Streetcar and HARTplus) on Earth Day, April 22, when you ride with a friend!

You can't beat saving a little green, while going green!

Find out how much you can reduce your carbon footprint by using the Carbon Savings Calculator on the HART of Green page at!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Commute that Pays You Back!

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released their new Transit Savings report showing how much Americans can save by leaving their car in the garage and taking public transportation. The APTA report shows that on average, Americans can save $10,116 a year or $843 a month.

Over $10,000 a year by giving up the wheel, picking up a book and letting HART do the driving! With the cost of a 1-day unlimited ride pass at $3.75 a day ($60 MONTHLY pass) and most routes running every 15-30 minutes, your weekly $60 fill up doesn't look so tantalizing anymore, eh?

We previously mentioned on this blog around the New Year, the Top 10 Reasons to Try Transit in 2011. Our #2 reason to try transit was the threat of $3-a-gallon gas. Only four months removed from that list, and crude oil prices on the rise, we are looking at close to $4-a-gallon gas.

Riding with HART makes even more sense when you realize that monetary savings are only one piece of the puzzle. Studies show that transit riders are three times more likely to meet fitness guidelines (30 minutes a day of physical activity) than drivers. Not to mention the reduction in stress by trading in the steer-wheel gripping gridlock for a nice book or end-of-day power nap.

The suh-weetest part of it all, is that should you find yourself in an emergency or an unplanned situation, you can catch a taxi cab ride to your destination, FREE. Actually, you can catch up to eight free taxi cabs annually. There are some restrictions, but as long as you ride the bus two times a week, TBARTA Commuter Services has you covered. To register, call them at (800) 998-RIDE.

If you're not yet convinced on transit, how about the good ol' fashion "everyone else is doing it" argument? Going "green" is in and terms like "global warming", "carbon footprint", and "eco-friendly" have all become a part of the general vernacular. Do you have energy-efficient light bulbs, low-flow shower-heads, and recycle bins in your house, but then drive a gas guzzler to work? Then, there is still work to be done.

The ultimate green initiative is public transportation!

According to APTA, public transportation reduces energy consumption to the tune of 4.2 billion gallons of gas a year, or the equivalent to 320 million cars filling up - 900,000 times a day. A household's biggest carbon footprint contributor is their car. One person switching their 20-mile commute to public transportation can also reduce their carbon footprint by 4,800 pounds of CO2 annually. CO2, or carbon dioxide emissions have been linked to global climate change known as "global warming".

Hopefully by now, you're at least considering a trip on HART. Should you need a bigger push, then try us out - FREE! On Earth Day - April 22, HART is offering FREE rides on all local routes when you board with a friend. They don't even have to be your BFF (best friend forever). Make a new friend at your stop and give HART a shot. We feel that you'll be pleasantly surprised at how affordable, clean, convenient, and awesome it is to get around with HART.

Trust us, your mind, body, and wallet will thank you!

To calculate how much you individually can save by switching to transit, visit APTA's Fuel Savings Calculator.

For information on HART services, visit, or for a "how-to ride" HART video, visit our YouTube channel.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Freedom Riders

It all started on a bus...

If you’re younger than 50, you most likely don’t remember a time of “Whites Only” water fountains, and “black” and “white” student segregation. Racial tension filled the late 50's/early 60's air as “blacks” (and “non-blacks”) stood up for their civil rights given to them by the Constitution.

Fifty years ago, more than 400 “black” and “white” students risked their lives – socially and physically – simply by taking a stand and deliberately breaking Jim Crowe laws by traveling together through the Deep South on buses and trains. Following Dr. Martin Luther King’s call for non-violent protests, the Freedom Riders were greeted along the way with savage beatings and imprisonment. After a courageous six months, the Interstate Commerce Commission issued its order to end segregation in bus and rail stations on September 22, 1961.

Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson brings to Tampa, Freedom Riders, an inspirational story of those six months in 1961 that changed America forever. WEDU is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides with a free event and premiere screening of Freedom Riders at the Tampa Theater on Wednesday, April 13, at 7 pm.

HART is proud to be a sponsor of the event, and in honor of the original Freedom Rides, HART is conducting a “Freedom Ride” of sorts. HART is inviting Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Students interested in history, specifically the Civil Rights Movement, to join us on a bus tour looking at historic landmarks of the Civil Rights Movement in Tampa. A HART bus will pick up 30 HCC students at the HCC Ybor City Campus Performing Arts Center on Palm Ave. at 5:30 pm, the day of the event.

Clarence Fort, former President of the NAACP Youth Council, who led the first Tampa sit-ins in 1956 and fought for the first “black” Tampa Bus Operators, will provide insight into the Civil Rights Movement as Tampa experienced it. The tour will end at the Tampa Theater in time for the event. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet several of the original Freedom Riders.

For a short (5 min.) video on the role transit played locally in the Civil Rights Movement, please click here.
For more information on the film "Freedom Riders" please visit

Middle and High School Students Ride Free All of April!

Are your kids gearing up for Spring Break? More importantly, are YOU prepared? Cold sweats, nightmares at night, oh the places you’ll take them (on your dime): movies, malls, concerts, theme parks. If only there was a cheap, efficient way to get them around town without a car, and more importantly, YOU.

There is!

Throughout the month of April, middle and high school students ride FREE on all HART local, In-Town Trolley, Connector, and Flex Services! All your kids have to do is show their student ID and they’re jetting around town for FREE!

As an added bonus, if they download a HART STAY-cation Passport, they’ll receive discounts at a number of Tampa attractions including, the Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, MOSI and more. Let the savings begin!

Here is just a small list of the Tampa attractions that HART serves:

  • Busch Gardens – Routes 5, 18, and 39
  • Adventure Island – Route 5
  • Florida Aquarium – Routes 9 and 97
  • Museum of Science and Industry – Route 6
  • GameTime – Routes 8, 9 and 12
  • Westfield Citrus Park – Route 39
  • Westshore Plaza – Routes 15, 30, 45 and 89
  • University Mall – Routes 12, and 45
  • Channelside Bay Plaza – Route 8
  • Centro Ybor – Routes 8, 9 and 12
  • Tampa Museum of Art – Routes 8, 96 and 97

We know you love your kids, but we also know that you love your free time too. Gain your independence, give them a little and go HART!

For more information on HART routes, maps, schedules and Trip Planner, visit

Friday, April 1, 2011

HART is "4 Transit"! R U...?

With rising gas prices, growing smog concerns and heavier congestion on Bay area roadways, the need for public transportation has only become more apparent. Luckily, was launched by the Florida Public Transportation Association (FPTA) to create awareness for Florida public transportation and allow transit supporters' voices to be heard. The "Im 4 Transit" campaign is aimed at recruiting 100,000 pro-transit Floridians.

HART supports this campaign (obviously) and is asking for your support of the campaign by signing up and telling everyone you know about Signing up is easy and when you sign up by June, you are automatically entered to win one of six possible 42" HDTVs.

The most recent winner of the HDTV is actually a HART patron! Maria Melaragno won a 42" HDTV just by saying "Im 4 Transit".
 “Taking the bus to work makes my whole day better. When I drive alone, it’s just me and irritating traffic. When I take the bus, I get to say hello to my neighbors at the bus stop. While riding, I simply relax, read, or chat with my friends on the bus. It’s just a much more pleasant start of the business day.” Maria went on to say that, “Riding the bus saves money, it’s green, and it makes me feel good not to buy so much gasoline”.

Maria showed her support by signing up. Now we're asking you to get on the bus and join!

Want to win a IPad 2? The person with the most referrals to by 6/30/11, wins one. Receive a $25 Publix gift cards just by getting 50 of your friends, families, co-workers, acquaintances, neighbors, bus-mates, etc. to join. Point being, join and invite everyone you know (or don't know) and be entered to win prizes!''

When joining, show your support for HART by selecting "HART" from the drop down menu as the transit agency that you support most!