Transit agencies across the country took on activities to promote Dump the Pump – discounted fares, giveaways, social media promotions, the list goes on.
But what better way to highlight Dump the Pump Day than highlighting a real-life pump dumper: Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe.
|Commissioner Mark Sharpe tweeted his ride for Dump the Pump|
I met up with Commissioner Sharpe on Kennedy Boulevard to pick up Route 30, going westbound towards Tampa International Airport.
Commissioner Sharpe is familiar with Route 30, but today’s ride was different – it was in honor of Dump the Pump Day – so it deserved extra attention.
“We’re going to have fun with this,” he said to me.
Little did I know that meant a Twitter play-by-play!
It’s true. Annual ridership on Route 30 is about 800,000.
We sat next to a young adult who moved from Connecticut just five days ago to take a job in downtown Tampa. He takes the Route 30 every day from Memorial Highway into Downtown Tampa, and hadn’t even thought about getting a car just yet. Transit was his first option.
Attracting young workers to this area caught Commissioner Sharpe’s attention. In fact, he showed me the book he was currently reading: The New Geography of Jobs, by Enrico Moretti.
“Transit will drive the new economy,” he said. “Young workers will use it as a safe way to get to work because they don’t have to deal with insurance and paying high gas prices.”
It’s not soon enough for Commissioner Sharpe – or our customers -- but HART is testing real-time bus schedule technology
Good news is that MetroRapid North-South – opening early next year – will feature ticket vending machines at major station stops and they accept debit cards. This type of off-board fare collection means not having to wait behind riders paying with quarters.
Florida is hot and we get thirsty. We understand. But anything you can do to avoid spills -- especially spills on someone else -- that would be great!
Not that we stopped at every one of those stops along Route 30, but with increased ridership, HART drivers are overall stopping at more stops these days. On some of our busier runs, drivers are stopping at two-thirds of all stops along a route. So now, we’re asking for a little help from our customers on faster boarding and exiting to help keep everyone’s trip pleasant and buses running on time: Ride HART. Be Smart
All downtown workers can ride HART to work. HART operates nine express routes that serve as money-saving options for our downtown Tampa workers who have long commutes (or short ones too!) These express routes travel along Marion Transit Parkway, and if that’s not a close walk to your office, the In-Town Trolley operates as a circulator every weekday 6 – 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 – 6 p.m. It serves stops in Harbor Island, along Tampa Street and Florida Avenue every 15 minutes. Pay with your monthly bus pass or with a quarter.
I had a little further to go, so Commissioner Sharpe and I parted ways. But he didn’t depart from twitter when he picked up the bus again later that afternoon to go home for the day:
Commissioner Sharpe received a lot of Facebook and Twitter following and feedback during his bus ride, so I have a feeling it’ll be less than a year before the next “Tweet and Ride”!