Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What Goes into Your Route: From Plan to Pavement

Most HART patrons have "their" routes. Maybe, it's the "2" down Nebraska Avenue, or route 5 near Busch Gardens. Regardless of which route it is, people rely on "their" HART routes every day to get them to where they want to go. You probably have your routes in mind, but have you ever thought about what goes into actually selecting and serving that route? What it takes financially and operationally to put service on the ground?

Read on to find out how your route goes from plan to pavement.

Demand always sparks the initial thought of where service should be placed. The HART mission is providing outstanding customer service while building solutions to support Hillsborough County's needs. Moving people is our job, and finding the best, most efficient way to move the greatest amount of people is our goal.

The number one thing which can affect a route is the budget. The HART budget relies heavily on ad valorem (property taxes) from the residents of Hillsborough County - similar to police and fire departments. HART also relies on federal funds to offset the costs of certain routes and services like preventative maintenance on our fleet of buses, vans, trolleys and streetcars.

Finance and Service Development work hand-in-hand to ensure that HART invests in the best bus service possible. Our planners are truly amazing at finding cost saving efficiencies, while still maintaining the transit footprint throughout Hillsborough County. For example, HART is able to maintain the same level of service in a number of areas in Hillsborough County by utilizing HART Flex, our smaller, on-demand, van service, instead of traditional 40" buses.

Once we determine where we are financially, HART considers the following:
  • Ridership trends
  • Impact on riders and area
  • Schedule: Complementing the overall bus schedule
  • Alternative options:
HART planners take into account housing complexes, businesses, schools, malls, etc. that have recently opened to make sure bus service matches current developments. Again, the goal is to provide transit service that serves current ridership trends.

If realignments of routes are necessary, we try to do so with little effect on patrons. Our planners are like surgeons using scalpels instead of tree trimmers with chainsaws. It takes roughly 4-5 buses to serve a 60 minute route with 30 minute frequencies. If we brought the route to 60 minute frequencies, two less buses are needed and HART would save about $500,000 without having to pull an entire route.

Planners also ensure that route modifications complement the overall bus schedule, and they also try to provide options for people. Some areas have multiple routes serving them and might be slightly inconvenienced due to the loss of a certain route. However, that modification might allow us to continue serving another part of Hillsborough County which has only a sole connection to downtown, USF, etc.

Public comment is a big part of any route modification process.

Public comments via online survey, community meetings, public hearing and hard copy comment forms, may help us modify or find an alternative to current routing.

So how do we get to that point in the process?

A lot of time, proposals come in based on operator/patron suggestions. HART planners do an internal review of the proposals, add in their own proposals and then take the proposed changes to the HART Board. We then begin gathering feedback through an extensive outreach campaign, that culminates in a Public Hearing. The HART Board reviews the outreach data and either approves or denies the changes.

That's the easy part...

Click here for part two of our look at how your route goes from plan to pavement. What is "rostering," and what role does it play in the final three months before service changes go into effect?


  1. You know what?
    You all really have no clue what you all are doing!
    Route 30 was every 15 minutes.
    Has anyone at Hart waited 40 MINUTES!!! (more than once!) for a route that is supposed to come by every 15 minutes? NO!!!
    Do executives, engineers, planners take the bus every day??? Or miss connections way too often because schedules are useless and the "system map" is completely inneficient??? NO!!!
    Do you all know that around lunch and dinner time quite a few buses (different routes) are late (5-10 minutes) because drivers to not have breaks into their schedules? NO!!!
    I never took the bus to get to the airport because I never trusted it.
    What if there is a traffic problem, a broken bus (happened so many times when Route 30 was every 30 minutes and before when 30 was Route 10).
    Then the wait will be...

    I will soon be getting a car!!!


  2. We're sorry for your experience. Please email us at Facebook@goHART.org so that we can discuss the issues you have with our service.

    One of the greatest benefits of social media is the ability to communicate directly with our patrons (who are our eyes and ears on the ground).

    We do have efforts in place to review routes (including GPS units in buses to review runs and also employees that ride the routes all day). However, rider comments are still the best ways to note inefficiencies.

    Also, a lot of our employees (including the Manager of Service Planning) ride HART for commuting purposes.

  3. Let me understand this. You have elimited routes 5,6,7,16,19,20,31,33,36,41,45 and 57. This represents over 57% of the routes elimated. Might as well shut the entire operation down.

    By the way, you have route 18 showing as Waters Ave. The map shows no service to any part of Waters Ave.

    Thanks for doing what government does best which is absolutely nothing

  4. John,

    None of those routes have been eliminated. The routes listed here (http://www.gohart.org/routes/hart/markup/nov2011_changes/changes.html) are listed because they are the routes affected by Nov. 2011 service changes.

    Also, thanks for the heads up on Route 18, it has been changed.

  5. Is there any rule where the bus operator can't ask a patron to lower their voice while they are talking on their cell phones? They talk so loud,curse,yell, play their music and it's so annoying and just don't respect the other people on the bus.

  6. I just really disgusted about the women restroom at the Marion Transit System I refuse to go in there. Because there's never any toilet paper or soap to wash your hands and it's so dark in there. And it smells, even the UTC restroom is better than that one. I'm surprise because everything else is kept up beautifully outside is there anything you can do about fixing the problems there because I ride the bus everyday.

  7. Patrons can't be ejected from the bus simply for talking loud. However, if someone is talking extremely loud, cursing, yelling or has their music up too loud, alert your bus operator. Bus operators can request for the patron to lower their volume.

  8. Also, we take pride in the upkeep of our facilities. We will definitely forward this comment to the Facility Maintenance Dept. to make sure these issues are addressed and corrected.

  9. I have tried to contact the mayor by phone but have never recvd a call back. I thought that with Mr Buckhorn in charge he would be more interested in resolving local issues. Please contact me ASAP at 813-813-9740. My reason for complaint is against HART. They have updated their HART Plus service. The new process includes have ADA member contacting HART at very specific times during the week and work day to make a reservation for the ride. When the member calls and they dont have a time frame availabe for you, you will have no ride. My good friend called last week as requested and was told that their were not times to pick him up in the am for him to get to work, so he had call others to find a way to get to work that day. This is a very clear violation of the ADA rules and if I dont hear from someone I will be filing a complaint against HART and the City of Tampa with the ADA.

  10. Thank you for your comments regarding recent changes in HARTPlus services. We have tried to reach you via the phone number that you left, but it just keeps ringing.

    HARTPlus recently sent out notices to registered customers regarding changes to HARTPlus reservation hours and new “live booking” of reservations. Those changes went into effect Monday, October 31, 2011. During this first week of changes, HART anticipated, as with any change, that there would be some learning curve for both HART staff and customers as we each gain experience while working with this new process.

    What changed? Specifically, the reservation hours changed from 8am-6pm Monday to Friday, and 8am-5pm on Saturday and Sunday, to 8am-5pm seven days a week. However, reservations can still be made from one to three days in advance of the date of travel. This one hour change for reservations on weekdays allows HART staff additional time to run numerous scheduling scenarios to maximize productivity of scheduled trips on manifests for next day service.

    To gain additional efficiencies in scheduling, HART implemented “Live Booking”. Live Booking is where the customer calls to schedule a trip and the Customer Service Representative (CSR) relies on advanced scheduling software to find a “Solution” or pickup time or drop-off time within 1 hour of the requested time. The CSR will inform the customer of the solution/scheduled trip times and the customer can either accept what is offered or choose to have the CSR check for a different time. If no solution is found, the customer can choose to have their trip saved as unconfirmed and they would need to call back between 6pm-8pm to confirm the pickup time. At no time does HART deny trips for HARTPlus service.

    We hope that this information is useful in helping your friend to best utilize our services.

  11. If you have any questions or comments call Artemus Keith at 813-407-2612
    *These are improvements that should be done in the Future*
    I enjoy riding the routes on my on time since I'm not working at this time to check and see what routes needs Improvements to better serve the people of Hillsborough County and everyone needs to understand it is impossible for HART to make any Service Improvements at this time due to Federal, State & County budget cuts.
    Route) HART Service Improvements
    1. Should run 15mins and 10mins during rush hour and also should not go on Skipper RD it should go right Down Fletcher Ave to U.A.T.C
    2. Should run every 15mins and 10mins during rush hour and should serve on Skipper RD.
    4. Should not serve Macdill AirForce Base instead ends at Britton Plaza and serve Tampa General Hospital every 30mins during rush hour only and also serve there on the weekends and should have a longer bus since it would be serving Tampa General Hospital which means this route must be taking off back roads and be put on Bayshore Blvd from Howard Ave to Bay to Bay Blvd.
    HARTFLEX SOUTH TAMPA Should only serves on Westshore Blvd and not Macdill Ave.
    5. At USF should be cut from going on L. Collins Blvd than turning left on Alumni DR it should go straight on to Spectrum Blvd turn right on Pine DR then turn left on Magnolia DR and should run a hour later from MTC & U.A.T.C trips added in should be 8:00 and 9:30 from MTC and U.A.T.C 9:00 and 10:30 and should run 20mins during rush hour.
    6. Should be cut from going on 50st at Sligh and Puritan RD and it should run 15mins all day until 6:30pm from U.A.T.C and 7:00pm from MTC.
    7. Should run every 30mins during rush hour only going to Citrus Park and 15mins during rush hour only going to the West Tampa Transfer Center and Should run every 30mins on weekends to the West Tampa Transfer center only.
    8. Should also be cut from going through Progress Village back roads, Channelside and should have added trips from MTC at 7:30 & 8:30 and should run every 20mins during Rush hour.
    9. Should not be serving back roads in Sulphur Springs.
    10. Should not serve Cypress point Park.
    12. Should be running every 15mins all day.
    14. Should be cut from going on Kennedy BLVD instead should go down Class St and should also have 40 feet buses due to higher ridership during rush hour
    15. Should be cut from going to the Orient Road Jail and the International Mall there should be a street side stop just like the Citrus Park Mall and run 30mins all day due to higher ridership from DACCO.
    16. When returning to Yukon it should turn Left on Ashley Street then right on Yukon St due to rush hour traffic at Waters & Florida Ave at the Traffic Light in the left lane and should also run every 30mins from 6-9am & 3-6pm and should run on Sundays.
    17. (Replacement Route) should serve Macdill Airforce Base on Madill Ave, Britton Plaza and serve Westshore Plaza.
    19. Should be cut from going to Tampa General Hospital and should run 20mins during rush hour.
    23LX. NEW ROUTE Should replace 6LTD LIMITED it would serve the same way to Temple Terrace City Hall and U.A.T.C but will not turn in to the regular route 6.
    30. Should start back running every 15mins to TIA and should not serve on Kelly RD Hanley RD it should stay on Memorial Highway to Sheldon Road than to Northwest Transfer Center.

  12. Part 2 HART Service Improvements
    32. Should run every 30mins to Mango and the 10:02pm trip from Netpark to Mango is not good patrons have to wait 1hour and 18mins the 8:55pm trip arriving to West Tampa Transfer Center should depart at 9:10pm to Mango and last trip should be 12:00am.
    34. Should run every 30mins on Weekdays and every 15mins from 6am-9am & 2:30pm-6pm starting from Netpark for PM rush hour.
    35. (Replacement Route) should serve Netpark, 50st at Sligh and Puritan RD and turn right on Bullard Parkway to Sweetbay Supermarket every 30mins.
    37. Should run 30mins all day and run on Sundays and should run an hour a later at night from Netpark & Brandon Mall and should be cut from going to HCC Brandon Campus.
    38. (Replacement Route) should serve Kelly RD, Hanley RD, Northwest T.C, and Westshore Plaza every 30mins on Weekdays and Weekends.
    39. Should run every 30mins on Weekdays and every 15mins from 6am-9am & 2:30pm-6pm starting from Netpark for PM rush hour.
    40LX. New Route Should run during rush hour only on weekdays and should head south on N 50th St toward Adamo Dr than Take the 1st left onto E Adamo Dr than Turn left onto Orient Rd serving the Orient Rd Jail than turn right on to Broadway Ave to Mango Wal-Mart than go down to and turn left onto N Parsons Ave than Turn left onto E Hillsborough Ave back to Netpark.
    57. Should run every 30mins during rush hour from 6am-10am last one from U.A.T.C / 3pm-7pm last one from U.A.T.C and should run on weekends and should run 3 hours later at night due to late night shifts at the Hard Rock Casino.
    (Purple Line) Should serve Channelside & downtown from 6am-11am/ 3pm-6pm.
    • Bus stops should stop been too close to one another this makes route inefficient and late so distance should be every 2/10 of a mile in the city and every 3/10 of a mile in country areas.

  13. 3. New Route or HARTFLEX Brandon Regional Hospital which should serve Brandon Regional Hospital same route as 37 except going outbound should turn left on Moon Ave left on Robertson st right on Kings Ave left on Brandon Blvd & left on to Brandon Town Center Dr & run every 30mins from the mall one going on Oakfield Dr first and when it return in 23-25mins reverse direction & running same time as 37.


Comments to this blog are moderated by HART staff. Constructive comments are welcome; any obscene, threatening, or otherwise inappropriate comments will be deleted before posting. Questions about specific service ("is my bus on time?") cannot be answered here, and should be directed to the HARTinfo Line at (813) 254-HART (4278). General questions may be addressed in future posts.