Friday, December 30, 2011

Giving Thanks this Holiday Season...

The Holiday Season is the time of year for reflection of the past year(s). A time to reflect on what we have, not what we lost. There are plenty of reasons (in no particular order) to have a HART-Felt Holiday Season!
Best Ridership in HART History

We saw record ridership this year with13.7 million passenger trips (1.4 million more than FY 2010), while PSTA also saw a record number of riders with 13.1 million passenger trips.

With the exception of a just a couple of months in FY 2011 (my statistics teacher would say those are considered “outliers” anyway!), HART saw double-digit ridership increases month after month despite flattening gas prices. In fact, we've seen growth in ridership dating back to February of 2010, and we hope seasoned and new riders alike are taking note of the investments HART has made to boost accessibility and service, including more shelters and a big boost in late-night and weekend service.

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)

If you're a regular reader of the blog, then you probably have seen us mention CNG in the past couple of days. We received an early gift, when we learned last week that HART is one of 46 recipients to receive funding from the Federal Transit Administration for a clean-fuel transit project. The $2.3 million grant will go towards a CNG fueling station and "CNG fitting" our 21st Avenue Maintenance Facility.  This will allow us to begin converting our fleet to CNG as dictated by the fleet replacement schedule.

CNG is more environmentally-friendly and currently costs 20-25% less than diesel.

Our Troops

We are thankful for those here and abroad who give (and have given) such a tremendous sacrifice to protect our rights and freedoms around the world. We would like to specifically mention our riders on the 24X and 25LX, which are two of the busiest Express routes in the HART system. HART is honored to serve those who serve and thanks to MacDill AFB for valuing public transportation by offering free passes to military personnel!

Award Wins

We have been very fortunate to earn a number of awards over the past few years.  Last year, HART received the American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) "2010 Most Outstanding Public Transit System of the Year" among all transit agencies carrying between 4-20 million passenger trips annually. The award is quite the honor in the transit industry, as it is comparable to an Oscar in film. One agency in North America is recognized in three size classes for demonstrating outstanding achievement in efficiency and effectiveness over a 3-year period. We're thankful for all of the HART family for their hard work in receiving this award.

We recently passed the baton off to Sun Metro in El Paso, Texas. Congratulations Sun Metro!

Increased Funding for Public Transportation

Recently, $10.6 billion in funding for public transportation was approved, which is a 3 percent increase in funding over FY 2011! While it doesn't guarantee more will trickle down to HART, it does provide more opportunities for HART to compete for grant funding. Projects such as the CNG fueling station and the TECO Line Streetcar Extension, both received funding from the Transit Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) grant program. We are always thankful for investments in transit and infrastructure!

Rosa Parks

Rosa Park's refusal to give up her seat changed the course of history. It all started on a bus... and we are forever thankful to Ms. Parks for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.
Red Bull Flugtag Tampa Bay 2011

Special Events

Tampa played host to a number of special events this year, in addition to the annual group of festivities held in Tampa - Gasparilla, Guavaween, etc. Tampa welcomed the "Elite Eight" group of the NCAA Men's College Basketball Tournament, Red Bull Flugtag, the CuervoGames and the World Dragon Boat Racing Championships, which is like the World Cup of Dragon Boat Racing.  These events not only offered free entertainment, but also gave us the ability to showcase our service and grow ridership. These events are in addition to all the concerts, festivals and sporting events held around the county.

Metro 510

Metro 510, a mixed-use, workforce housing complex sits adjacent to our main transit hub, Marion Transit Center.  Metro 510 markets itself to service workers and entry-level employees who would normally not be able to afford a luxurious apartment downtown.  Metro 510 leases apartments from $588 for a one-bedroom to $808 for a three-bedroom.  The complex provides renters with easy connectivity to the HART system and downtown, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and effective use of natural lighting.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Metro 510! We're thankful that you're here.

The Community

Obviously, HART would not exist without the support of Hillsborough County residents, employees and visitors.  Last year, HART saw a record number of trips taken throughout Hillsborough County, and from the bottom of our HART (pun, maybe a little cheese... intended), we really do appreciate your ridership and continued support!

Here is to a great 2012!

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