Wednesday, September 26, 2012

HART Board Approves FY 2013 Budget

MetroRapid North-South Groundbreaking
HART broke ground on MetroRapid North-South in August!
The HART Board approved the fiscal year 2013 budget, which includes an operating budget of $61,580,511 and a capital budget of $39,512,848. This vote took place after the final budget public hearing, held at the HART Administrative Office in Ybor City on Monday.

The operating budget supports:
  • 44 Regular, Express, and HARTFlex Routes
  • In-Town Trolley during rush time weekday mornings and late afternoons
  • Paratransit operations, or transportation for persons with disabilities
  • MetroRapid North-South, new service beginning Spring 2013
  • Streetcar operations
  • More than 200 buses and vans
  • Nearly 3,500 bus stops and shelters throughout Hillsborough County
  • Customer Service, seven days a week
  • More than 1.1 million trips each month!

Yukon Transfer Center is of the facilities receiving upgrades
The capital budget funds MetroRapid North-South, Compressed Natural Gas Fueling Station, and efficiency and modernization upgrades to several HART facilities.

The approved budget also includes new strategic goals and objectives

  • Exceed customer expectations
  • Ensure safety & security
  • Maximize financial condition
  • Foster a thriving internal environment
  • Connect the county and region
  • Embrace innovative practices and systems

HART is also on its way to outperforming last year's performance results for ridership productivity, safety, quality of service and on-time performance. Most notably, HART has improved its efficiency by reducing the gross cost per revenue mile from $6.71 to $6.42.* HART buses and vans travel a combined 8.8 million revenue miles each year, and this reduced cost per mile adds up to $2.5 million in efficiency savings for fiscal year 2012, ending Sept. 30. Lower cost per mile is due to reduced fuel and administrative costs, and these efficiency savings allow HART to improve bus service for the upcoming year and absorb new service, such as MetroRapid North-South.    

Budget documents are available at

Each year during the budget development process, two budget hearings are held in September. This year, budget hearings were held Sept. 10 and Sept. 24.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ride HART. Be SMART: Be Prepared to Board!

Many factors are in play when you arrive on time.

Our goal at HART is to provide customers with a safe and efficient ride, but we can’t do that alone. Schedule adherence relies on a number of factors, which include bus operators knowing the routes, and following traffic safety laws, the HART Maintenance Department keeping buses in service, the HART Service Development Department carefully planning bus schedules that allow operators to make trips within their timepoints and probably most importantly, our customers!

HART has seen record ridership growth over the past few years and while this is great, we're challenged with providing as much service as possible within out fleet and funding constraints. Adding a few million in ridership, while operating with the same funding levels of 2006, means buses are stopping at more stops and on some routes, are standing-room only. Good problem to have... right?

Precious seconds tick away the moment you board the bus
How you can help? 

Every time someone boards the bus unprepared, countless seconds tick away and pin HART against the clock. In the video below, HART Bus Operator Jason Eames, talks about how it takes roughly 3 seconds for one person to board the bus, if they're prepared with fare ready. However, the boarding process can take as long as 30-45 seconds for unprepared customers, especially if they can't locate their fare cards!

The importance of being ready to board is explain in depth in the June edition of Next Stop with HART, which you can view below.

"Those precious seconds add up, when you're doing a route that is 15 minutes like the Route 2, those few seconds at every stop... you're adding up to 10-15 minutes to the route sometimes or even more," Eames said.

Being prepared to board not only assists us in getting you (and your fellow bus-mates) to work on time, but it could also lead to more service.

Here's an astonishing number: If HART trimmed 5 minutes from each run on daily routes, we could save $3 million annually! For a little perspective, the average route running a 30-minute weekday frequency with 30/60 minute frequency on weekends costs roughly $1.3 million annually to operate.

So, that $3 million saved annually could lead to reinvestment into existing routes to relieve crowding and improve schedule adherence, or invested in expanding service to growing areas such as Brandon and New Tampa.

All from just shaving some time off of our routes... Addition by subtraction!

Do your part! Next time you Ride HART. Be Smart.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The 7th Annual Festival Del Sabor

This Saturday!
Hispanic Heritage Month starts this Saturday, September 15 and Ybor is looking to kick it off with a big celebration!

Whether you're looking to celebrate your Hispanic Heritage, or just get down on some great food, the Festival del SABOR is a great family-friendly option. Love to cook? Love to eat? The festival will feature an amateur recipe and cookout to find Tampa Bay's best "Arroz con Pollo". Participants have the chance to win $750 in prizes. Prizes will be awarded for Best Recipe and Most Creative Recipe

But, don't worry, the adults won't be the only ones having fun as there will be a children's play area sponsored by MOSI, and a stage featuring local musicians. The event runs from noon - 5 p.m. at Centennial Park.

The streetcar drops off right next to Centennial Park!
The TECO Line Streetcar is a great option if you're coming from downtown or Channelside as the streetcar drops off right next to the event at Centennial Park Station. Plan to take in some nightlife? Leave your car in Ybor and take the streetcar!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Last MetroRapid East-West Open House is Tonight!

Interested in learning more about MetroRapid East-West?

We're holding the last of three open houses today 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at NetPark for MetroRapid East-West. HART staff will be on site to answer questions and receive public input on the project, which is now in the Project Development and Environmental (PD&E) Study phase. The PD&E phase started in Fall 2011 and is scheduled to be completed by early Fall 2012. The final PD&E report will be presented during an upcoming HART Board meeting, which is open to the public.

MetroRapid will feature 40-ft. low-floor buses
A quick refresher... MetroRapid uses multiple Bus Rapid Transit-esque traits, such as ticket vending machines, traffic signal priority (TSP), high frequencies and enhanced passenger stations.
MetroRapid East-West is proposed to operate between Tampa International Airport and Temple Terrace, providing enhanced service to International Plaza, Westshore Plaza, the West Tampa Transfer Center, Raymond James Stadium, St. Joseph's Hospital and more. MetroRapid East-West is the second corridor of the HART MetroRapid system and it is funded through Early Design.

MetroRapid North-South, the first corridor currently under construction, is a 17.5 mile line that will operate between Telecom Park near the University of South Florida and downtown Tampa at Marion Transit Center. Buses will use TSP technology to shave upwards of 15% off the current travel time along Nebraska and Fletcher Avenues. Paid for by Hillsborough County Community Investment Tax funds, the project is under budget by more than $6 million.

The public is welcome to drop by at any time during the open house.