Friday, October 28, 2011

Things to Do in Tampa this Weekend: 10/28 - 10/30

With a number of ghoulish events going on in Tampa this weekend, it's a good time to be a friend of the undead.  Even if you're not in the mood for madness, we've got a number of big events for you.  We'll start off with...


*Credit WEBN-TV

Josh Groban
St. Pete Times Forum

If you sleep with the lights on... then this is probably a safe bet.  Part-time talk show host (filling in for Regis Philbin) and young pop-opera star, Josh Groban is looking to bring the lights down low and sing into the audience's soul. Hop off at the HSBC station, if you plan on taking the TECO Line Streetcar. The show starts at 8:00 p.m.

Alex Reymundo
Tampa Improv

Looking for some laughs instead of some shrieks?  Check out one of the original Latin Kings of Comedy, along with George Lopez.  Arrive to the Improv in style with the TECO Line Streetcar, get off at the Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union Station for the Improv and Centro Ybor.

Shows are 21 and up only. Except Friday at 10:30 p.m. which is 18 and up.


Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Winnipeg Jets

*Credit: Pointinshoot's Flickr
Check out the NHL's newest franchise as the Winnipeg Jets fly into Tampa on Saturday to take on your hometown BoltsThe Lightning are looking to match their longest win streak over another opponent, when they host the Jets, which use to be the Atlanta Thrashers.  The HSBC station is your stop if you plan on taking the streetcar to the St. Pete Times Forum.

Time isn't an issue as streetcar service ends at 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.  During the week, games also aren't a problem as streetcar service is extended during regular season Lightning games.  More information can be found here.


All weekend:

*Credit: Ricky Brigante
Howl O' Scream
Busch Gardens

If you like to pay to get the ____________ scared out of you, Busch Gardens' Howl O' Scream is probably you're best bet (without driving to the land of Mickey and Potter). It's the last weekend for the annual event with tons of  haunted houses, scare zones, roller coasters in the dark and spooky live shows. The theme this year is "The Dark Side of the Gardens: Zombies Live Here.".

Don't bring the little ones, it's obviously too intense for scaredy-cat adults who'll probably be at the Josh Groban concert or Tampa Bay Lightning game. The park stays open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Visit for ticket and attraction information.

Ghost Tour Tampa
Indigo Cafe

Didn't know Tampa has a dark-side? Take a candlelit walking through through Tampa to discover it's haunted and secret past. The tour has multiple stops and include ghost stories, visits to haunted houses and tales of restless spirits and supernatural oddities.

Visit for ticket and attraction information.


Ybor City

Not so scary... minus some of the scandalous costumes you'll see people wearing.  Let your inner zombie go wild with this Tampa tradition.  The roughly 20-year-old festival began as a big Halloween party between local Ybor residents and now has morphed into one of the area's biggest annual celebrations. We actually wrote a whole write up on Guavaween, which you can find here.  Basically, festivities begin at 3 p.m. and are expected to end early the next morning.  Admission is $12 in advance and can be purchased online from the Ybor Chamber's website.  Tickets are $17 at the gate.

Just a taste of the madness...
Ybor City garages fill up fast for the event, so either plan to arrive early or plan to park in the Channelside/Port Authority garage or the Fort Brooke parking garage and take the TECO Line Streetcar.  Please note that beginning at 2:30 p.m., southbound streetcar service will terminate at the TECO Line Streetcar Barn until 2 a.m.  Oh, and it's ADULTS ONLY this year, don't bring the little guavas with you.

Enjoy your weekend! There is plenty to make it Spooktacular!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guavaween in the Big Guava...

Let your inner zombie out at Guavaween!
What's Halloween in the Big Guava, without Guavaween?

Rated one of the top Halloween events in the country, Guavaween is always a great time to let your inner zombie out and join in one of Ybor City's biggest parties. The 26th annual Guavaween celebration begins this Saturday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m. and is expected to end in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Things to know before you go:
  • Leave your little guavas home this year, as the festival is ADULTS ONLY
  • Don't forget your Batman belt buckle, Guavaween's theme this year is "superheroes".
  • The motorized parade is back, which means changes to streetcar service during the event. The TECO Line Streetcar System southbound trips will terminate at the Streetcar Barn located at 1201 E. 7th Ave. in Ybor City from 2:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Saturday.
  • Exact change is required to purchase fare cards on-board the streetcar.
  • Cash and card users can save time by purchasing your $5.00 unlimited ride pass in advance at ticket vending machines available at ALL stations along the system.
A lot of interesting characters...
Guavaween is one of Ybor's biggest celebrations, so parking is usually at a premium. Park in the Ft. Brooke parking garage (connected by Whiting Station) or Tampa Port Authority parking garage (connected by the Tampa Tribune Station) to avoid all the traffic.

Visit, for streetcar fares and maps.  For Guavaween music lineup and ticket information, visit

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Join HART at the 5th Annual Bicycle Bash - Nov. 6, 10 a.m.

Clear your calendar, grab your bike and head on over to Flatwoods Park in Thonotosassa as SWFBUD, the alliance of Tampa Bay bicycle stores, is proud to put on the 2011 SWFBUD Bicycle Bash Festival. The fest, celebrating bicycling in the Tampa Bay area is Nov. 6 from 10 am to 4 pm.

The Bicycle Bash gives the Tampa Bay's bicycle community a chance to come together and promote bicycling as a healthy lifestyle, effective transportation and asset to the region.

HART realizes the importance of our bi/tri-wheel counterpart and how it complements public transportation in a well-rounded car-free lifestyle.  We'll have a booth, along with a HARTFlex van demonstration on using the new "Bikes on Vans" rack as well as a how-to on bringing folded bikes on-board.

We're not alone at the event... 

The 5th Annual Bicycle Bash will also feature:

  • Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn leading a bike ride called the Buckhorn Bash Ride around the Flatwoods 7-mile loop at 11:15 AM.
  • The SWFBUDDY Awards given to local Tampa Bay residents and officials who have worked to make the area a more bicycle-friendly community.
  • A Swap Meet where people can buy used bike gear; food provided by the famed Taco Bus Food Truck; and music.
  • Guest announcers Skip Mahaffey and Brendan McLaughlin of Channel 28 Action News
  • Free bike gear giveaway drawings; an artist doing creating live bicycle painting;
  • SWFBUD lawyers will be on hand to offer free legal advice regarding bicycle issues.
  • Tampa BayCycle will provide a free BikeSmart bike education class and Tampa Bay's bicycle clubs will be on hand to talk about bike rides throughout the region. HART and the Hillsborough MPO will also discuss transportation plans and initiatives.

*Courtesy of SWFBUD
The Bicycle Bash, co-sponsored by The Cure on Wheels charity bike ride and Hillsborough County is FREE and open to all!  Flatwoods Park is located at Flatwoods Park, 14302 Morris Bridge Road, Thonotosassa, FL 33592 - think Bruce B. Downs exit of 1-75 North.

Please log on to for more information.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Art in Transit

Mass transit has always been about connecting people to their community.  It's through this basic belief, that mass transit and the arts have always shared commonalities.

We recently stumbled upon a blog with some of the most beautiful buildings in Europe and they're not what you might expect (castles, cathedrals, etc.). The Traveling Canucks blog has Europe's Top 10 Most Fascinating Train Stations.

Unlike America, where the car is king, rail rules the road in Europe. These 10 train stations are great examples of art in transit - beautiful architectural wonders that also double as transit hubs and epicenters of hustle and bustle; interaction.

The Federal Transit Administration understands this connection and encourages the inclusion of art in transit facilities by stating,
"The visual quality of the nation’s mass transit systems has a profound impact on transit patrons and the community at large. Good design and art can improve the appearance and safety of a facility, give vibrancy to its public spaces and make patrons feel welcome.”
HART kept this vision in mind with some of our own HART art:

Whiting Station


Marion Transit Center


Dick Greco Plaza

We have nowhere near the long history of Europe's fine facilities... but we're painting our own masterpiece, with each stroke a step closer.

Have you been to any of the Top 10 European train stations listed on the blog? Are they as amazing as they photograph?

HART High Five: Phillip Arriaga

With the weekend coming up, we're in the high five giving mood! Another High Five Friday!

Quick-thinking by HART Operator Phillip Arriaga made him a superstar after a thermal event on his bus Oct. 4. Below are a few of the comments that poured in that same day from his 51X customers:

Michelle Linaki wrote: " ... The driver did what he was supposed to do. He got everyone off the bus first, put out the emergency cones, called in the problem and within 10-15 minutes we got a new bus to finish taking us the rest of the way. Nobody got hurt, we were only a few minutes later than normal. After everything was over, we were able to joke about it. Thank you for having a wonderful bus driver."

Celia Ryan wrote: "The bus driver was fantastic. He responded quickly, confidently and responsibly. A replacement bus arrived 10-15 minutes later. How great is that!"

Diane Rose wrote: "We are always quick to complain when there have been problems on the 51X. But this time, I have nothing but the highest praise for our driver on Tuesday .. he got everyone off and in a safe area, made sure everyone was OK, then he did his job putting out traffic cones, calling for help ... Again he made sure we were OK and made us laugh on the rest of the way home. BIG KUDO's to this driver. We all gave him a huge round of applause as we left the bus."

Louise Garcia wrote: "I would like to commend our driver's ability during the event. He stopped the bus and made sure we exited safely. Fire trucks came shortly thereafter and our driver secured us continuing transportation to our destinations. The secondary bus arrived within a few minutes and we were once again safely on our way. Our driver continued with us on this bus as well. We thank our driver and HART for employing such caring and knowledgeable people."

Operator Arriaga has been with HART since 2008. High Five! 

If you see Operator Arriaga on the 51X, make sure to give him a high five for his exceptional  work!

Friday, October 14, 2011

HART High Five: Award Winners

It's High Five Friday! In this version of HART High Five we're looking at recent HART award wins.


Congratulations to Harold Ward, who will receive the Florida Public Transportation Association's Bus Mechanic of the Year - 2nd Place Award. Mr. Ward will receive his award during the FPTA Annual Conference on October 18 in Tampa.  High five! 


Congratulations to James Chapman, who will receive the Florida Public Transportation Association's Bus Operator of the Year - 2nd Place Award. Mr. Chapman will also receive his award on home turf during the FPTA Annual Conference.  High five!

HART accepting the AdWheel Grand Award!
The HART Marketing Department recently received national industry recognition for our Black History Month awareness campaign, It All Started on a Bus.... This campaign honored local Black community leaders and celebrated the role that public transportation played in the Civil Rights Movement.
The AdWheel awards honor American Public Transportation Association (APTA) members’ marketing and communications efforts, each year. Awards are presented in the following main media categories: print, electronic, campaigns, and special events.

HART received the Grand Award, which is selected from the first place winners in our group (agencies with 4 million - 20 million passenger trips annually). 

If you've followed this blog since the beginning of the year, you've probably seen some elements of this campaign.  High five!

The Graphics Man That Can 
Graphic Designer Kirk Mieczkowski recently won two
American Graphic Design Awards in the Advertising category for Spring STAY-cation and Community Outreach Display marketing materials. The pieces were selected from more than 10,000 entries nationwide. Winning entries from each category were published in the Graphic Design USA Design Annual, a 250-page special edition magazine, which credited Kirk and HART. This is the fourth consecutive year that we have brought home this award. High five!

Oh to be Loved...

HART recently recognized 45+ outstanding employees from a mixture of departments at a bi-annual luncheon.  Honors received included Employees of the Month/Quarter(s), Longevity (25 and 30 years of service) and HART Star awards, which are given to employees who went far beyond their job duties. 

What does it take to be Employee of the Month?

Employees of the Month are honored for their outstanding performance, professionalism, and dedication to HART and most importantly, the community.

Thanks to all the award winners for their great service to HART!

Make a Mental Note 

Make a note next time you're riding HART. If you see James Chapman (or any of the above) getting you to work, don't be afraid to give them a high five for a job well done!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ready for a double feature?

Interested in seeing Dolphin Tale, the true story of local (for now) animal celebrity, Winter the Dolphin? Maybe a sweet new action thriller? Or, a romantic comedy for the first date? 

After you're done with your first feature, get ready for seconds as the TECO Line Streetcar has partnered up with Muvico Centro Ybor 20 to give you a free ride! Just give your ticket stub to the Streetcar Motormen and receive a free ride on the TECO Line Streetcar! It's a perfect excuse to follow your movie with a double feature of dessert and drinks in Channelside or Downtown.

The promotion is valid until December 8, 2011.  Movie ticketholders do not need to use their free streetcar ride on the same day they watch a movie.

More information on the Muvico promotion can be found here.

Muvico Centro Ybor 20 showtimes can be found here.

We'll see you at the movies!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Streetcar vs. Trolley: Know before you go to Flugtag

Streetcar, trolley, interchangeable terms right? Not necessarily... there is a difference! Find out which is which before you arrive.

With 100,000+ expected to pile into downtown for the Red Bull Flugtag Tampa Bay, you'll most likely find yourself on HART and the TECO Line Streetcar System. We operate both streetcars and trolleys, which can get kind of confusing. Know before you go - trolleys and streetcars are not the same.

Streetcars near downtown Tampa
Streetcars run on tracks...

The TECO Line Streetcar System is a 2.7-mile electric streetcar system that runs on tracks between the entertainment, restaurants and other destinations of Ybor City, the Channel District and Downtown Tampa. The system consists of eleven stations, five in the Channel District, four in Ybor and two in downtown.

... and trolleys have wheels!

The In-Town Trolley routes are "trolley-buses" or rubber-wheel trolleys that operate throughout Downtown Tampa, Harbour Island and the Channel District. There are two In-Town Trolley routes - the Purple Line, which operates during work commute hours on weekday mornings and afternoons, and the Green Line, serving various restaurants and entertainment hotspots in downtown and the Channel District on Friday and Saturday nights.

(Note, the In-Town Trolley Purple Line will operate special service on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Purple Line will not serve Harbour Island between those hours. The Green Line will operate normal service from 6 p.m. - 2 a.m. click here for a printable PDF map)

Now that you're set on the differences between the two, it's time to put this knowledge to the test! Map out your attack plan with our guide to getting to Red Bull Flugtag Tampa Bay

Monday, October 3, 2011

Take off to Flugtag with HART: Extra service during event!

110,000 packed the Convention area in 2008
*Photo courtesy of Red Bull
 Enjoy the Red Bull Flugtag event at the Tampa Convention Center, and also have fun at Channelside and Ybor City safely and easily by riding HART!

Red Bull Flugtag Tampa Bay is Saturday, Oct. 8, at 11 a.m. With 100,000+ specators expected near the Convention Center, HART will operate extra streetcar, bus and trolley service during the following times:
  • Continuous Streetcar Service: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Regular Streetcar Service:  5 p.m. - 2 a.m.
  • Continuous HART Bus Service from Ybor City to Tampa Convention Center: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m
  • Extra In-Town Trolley Service: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (will not travel to Harbor Island)
  • Regular In-Town Trolley Service:  6 p.m. - 2 a.m.
  • Continuous service is 10 - 15 minute frequency. The streetcar system will resume regular service (20-minute frequency) 5 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Heading to the event by Streetcar?
Take off to Flugtag with the TECO Line Streetcar. Flugtag-goers may park at any City of Tampa public parking garage in Ybor City and then hop on the TECO Line Streetcar into Downtown Tampa. The Streetcar line begins at Eighth Avenue and 20th Street (Centennial Park Streetcar Station), runs through Channelside and ends in downtown Tampa. Streetcars will stop at each station unless a streetcar is at maximum capacity. View map 

Bussing it?
Buses will handle streetcar overflow and mirror the streetcar line. Again, Flugtag-goers may park at any City of Tampa parking garage in Ybor City to access this bus service. Buses will run from the Streetcar Society Station (Eighth Avenue and 15th Street) and/or Cadrecha Streetcar Station (Seventh Avenue and 13th Street), into downtown Tampa. In the afternoon, buses will leave from Dick Greco Streetcar Plaza (across the street from the Tampa Convention Center) back to Ybor City.

In-Town Trolley Service
The rubber wheel trolley will operate extra hours on a modified route (will not travel to Harbor Island), from north downtown Tampa, to Tampa Convention Center area and then the Channel District. The In-Town Trolley will resume its regular route during its regular hours of operation, 6 p.m. - 2 a.m.

Click here for a map of your downtown transportation options for Red Bull Flugtag Tampa Bay.

1-Day Unlimited Ride Fare Card

You're best bet for event day is the 1-Day Unlimited Fare Card.  The fare card may be purchased for $5 at Ticket Vending Machines, located at each streetcar station, and used for riding the streetcar, buses and/or trolleys. Ticket Vending Machines accept credit/debit cards or cash. Farecards do not include City of Tampa Parking Garage fees.

Need help with trip planning? Below are a few sites for reference and on event day, the HART Street Team will be on hand near streetcar stations and at bus staging areas to assist customers.