Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Smooth Sailing to Gasparilla with the TECO Line Streetcar and HART!

Take the streetcar to the Pirate frenzy!
Arrgh you ready?! Have your sights set on Gasparilla? Well, set sail with HART and the TECO Line Streetcar System. We're rolling out extra streetcar, bus and trolley service to ensure a safe and easy way to get around during Gasparilla on Saturday, Jan. 25. 

Service includes:

TECO Line Streetcar System
  • For those parking in Ybor City, take the streetcar from Ybor City (Centennial Park Station) to Downtown Tampa (Dick Greco Plaza) View Map for Gasparilla 2014 -- Streetcar and Bus service
  • Continuous service 9 a.m. - 2 a.m.
  • $5 for an all-day pass, which may be purchased with cash at ticket vending machines (please bring small bills; exact change suggested) located at each streetcar station. This fare does not cover the City of Tampa parking fees.
  • Station 11 will be closed all day.
  • Stations 3 and 4 will be closed from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Stations 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 will be closed 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Continuous HART bus service will be available near select streetcar stations. See Map for Gasparilla 2014.
For more information on the TECO Line Streetcar System, visit www.TECOlinestreetcar.org.

HART Bus Service
  • For those parking in Ybor City, bus service will be available from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. between Ybor City (Streetcar Society Station and Cadrecha Plaza) and Downtown Tampa (Dick Greco Plaza) View Map for Gasparilla 2014 -- Streetcar and Bus Service 
  • $4 for an all-day pass, which may be purchased in advance at HART retail outlets or on board buses on Gasparilla Day with cash only (no change provided). Monthly bus passes may also be used. This fare does not cover City of Tampa parking fees. 

In-Town Trolley  
  • On detour during Gasparilla Festival
  • Provides a connection from the north end of Downtown Tampa (Marion Transit Center) to the south end of Downtown Tampa (Dick Greco Plaza).  View Map for Gasparilla 2014
  • Continuous service 9 a.m. -  6 p.m.
  • 25¢ or streetcar/bus all-day passes accepted

Getting to Downtown Tampa on HART
Click here for a list of HART service detours during the Gasparilla Pirate Fest.

Leave the gray hairs to Jack Sparrow!

Have specific questions about HART service during this special event, call 813-254-4278 or visit www.goHART.org.  Never attended Gasparilla before? Learn how to party like a (responsible) pirate

Just remember, gray hairs may give Captain Jack Sparrow a "distinguished look." However, with over 500,000 swashbucklers expected to attend Gasparilla, don't test your luck - save yourself some gray hairs - and ride with us.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

MetroRapid North-South Service Delivers for HART!

Photo source: TBO.com

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) MetroRapid North-South (N-S) service turned the wheel on its first 7 months of operation on December 10, 2013. The innovative limited stop service has increased ridership, offering customers a more convenient, more flexible ride and has ushered in a new era of public transit choices. 

"MetroRapid N-S service has been even more successful than we originally anticipated and has become a valued service to the community," said HART Chief Executive Officer Philip Hale. "In just 7 months of operation, we've seen MetroRapid N-S increase 22.7 percent from June to December based on average daily ridership."
The MetroRapid N-S service route, the first of its kind in Hillsborough County, was officially launched on June 10, 2013. This limited stop service features cutting-edge technology including Transit Signal Priority (TSP) system, 16 Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) at major connection points along the corridor. MetroRapid N-S offers faster travel and enhancements for a new rider experience.  

The mix of new vehicles, stations and technologies have made MetroRapid the premium way to travel. Transit Ridership on MetroRapid has nearly doubled - averaging 2,288 daily riders in December in just its seventh month of operation. The agency's MetroRapid N-S service has heightened awareness of public transit benefits and opened the door to future plans for additional MetroRapid routes. 
On the travel side, customers may experience up to a 15 percent time savings over local service. This time savings can be attributed to the implementation of the high-tech Transit Signal Priority (TSP) system that advances buses throughout the corridor. It works by holding traffic lights green a little longer when a bus is running behind schedule and shortening red lights. 

Construction on the northward expansion of the Marion Transit Center is running smoothly. The project includes two new bus shelters, extra bicycle storage, and a pick-up and drop-off area for taxis, paratransit vans and private vehicles. A canopy will be elevated to connect MTC to the new intermodal site which is scheduled to open in April. 
For more information about MetroRapid, visit www.goHART.org/MetroRapid

Monday, January 13, 2014

HART Ridership Topped 1.2 Million in December!

The number of people riding HART in December outdid last year's record by 7 percent, with 1,204,729 riders compared to 1,126,360 riders in December 2012. The increase continues to be visible in our daily ridership December 3 saw the greatest daily ridership throughout the month with 56,659 riders choosing HART!

With the introduction of MetroRapid and providing transportation services to more than 14.6 million Hillsborough County residents - 2013 was a critical year for HART. This total represents the fourth straight year of record ridership for the authority, and 9 of the past 10 years.
Fast facts: 
  • December 2013 ridership marked 78,369 more trips than the same month last year.
  • 9 weekdays in December exceeded 50,000 daily riders.
  • MetroRapid ridership in December was 45,769.
  • Year-to-date (October 2013 - December 2013), bus ridership is up 2.4 percent; an increase of 89,239 trips, compared to the same period last year.
  • Monthly bus ridership has been on the rise for 8 consecutive months. 
"When more people use public transportation, everybody benefits," said HART Chief Executive Officer Philip Hale. "Increased ridership and greater demand is wonderful news and affirms our value to the community."

In addition, Almost 230,000 trips from University of South Florida students, faculty and staff have been taken on HART services since July. In December the use of the HART U-Pass service for USF students, faculty and staff increased 23 percent compared to last year. The U-Pass program is a partnership with the university that allows students to ride any HART local bus for free with a valid student ID; faculty and staff ride for 25¢.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Councilman Mike Suarez Elected as HART Board Chair

Councilman Mike Suarez
During its regular meeting today, the HART Board elected Councilman Mike Suarez as Chair, Steve Polzin, PhD, was re-elected Vice Chairman and Temple Terrace Councilman Eddie Vance as Secretary of the HART Board of Directors for 2014.      

"It is a great privilege to be elected as HART Board Chairman and continue working alongside the dedicated Board members to serve our customers, employees and the community." Said Chairman Councilman Mike Suarez after the vote. "I look forward to working together to operate a safe, reliable, efficient and fiscally sound transit system that contributes to the economic success and quality of life of this region and Hillsborough County."
Councilman Suarez has been a Board member since April 2011 and has served as HART Board Secretary since 2012. Councilman Suarez is a third generation resident of Tampa, with deep roots in West Tampa. 

He has provided service to many government and non-profit agencies, including his current term as District 1 At-Large Tampa City Council, President of the Guardian Ad Litem Guild (renamed Voices for Children), served on the subcommittee for Urban Enterprises Initiatives and was Chairman of the Water Resource subcommittee for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. He has also been a Board Member and past President of the Insurance Agents of Greater Tampa, a Board member of the Centro Asturiano de Tampa and a Board member of the Macfarlane Park PTA. 

Councilman Suarez has been married for 20 years to Laura Ankenbruck and they have three sons, Vincent, Anthony and Nicholas.    

The HART Board is responsible for setting policy and making decisions for the Authority on matters ranging from system operations, service planning, fare structure, finance, customer service, and is made up of 13 volunteers who are appointed to represent Hillsborough County (seven seats), City of Tampa (three seats), State of Florida (two seats) and City of Temple Terrace (one seat). Officers of the HART Board (chair, vice chair and secretary) are elected every year.