Friday, February 28, 2014

HART CFO Jeff Seward Named 2014 CFO of the Year!

Jeff Seward, Chief Financial Officer of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, has been named CFO of the Year in the Tampa Bay Business Journal's 2014 CFO of the Year Awards in the Government Agency category. 

On Wednesday, February 26, at A La Carte Event Pavilion the Tampa Bay Business Journal made its much-anticipated announcement of the winners of the prestigious CFO of the Year Award. 
The award ceremony is an annual event hosted by the Tampa Bay Business Journal to recognize top financial executives and finalists are chosen by an independent panel of judges. The event honors Chief Financial Officers from Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota, Polk and Hernando. Six distinct industry categories are honored, and Seward won in the Government category.

Seward has more than 25 years of local government, private-sector and military experience, and providing leadership for various areas, including financial advising, strategic planning, economic development and auditing. Mr. Seward joined HART in 2011.    

As CFO, Mr. Seward is responsible for Accounting & Financial Reporting, Budget, Cash Management, Internal Audit, Procurement, Contracts Administration, Grants & Planning. Those vitally important departments execute the long-term financial strategy of HART, manage major capital projects, secure grants to enhance our current infrastructure and implement investment tools to improve fiscal sustainability.
His latest accomplishment is establishing the Regional Revenue Collection Working Group with 6 other regional transit agencies as well as partnerships with the FDOT and TBARTA to establish a streamlined fare collection system where passengers, regardless of where they live or transit service they use, can move between counties in the region with one single smart card.  This is the first of its kind public transportation regional partnership in the Tampa Bay area.  Partnering with FDOT will allow this to be a model that is used elsewhere in the State of Florida.

"This recognition is well deserved and we're fortunate to have Jeff, a proven leader and dedicated HART employee, as our CFO," said HART CEO, Philip R. Hale. "The CFO of the Year award in the Government category was competitive and we're happy that Jeff has been recognized for his unique vision and exceptional execution." 

"I am truly humbled by this recognition and I appreciate the opportunity that Mr. Hale, our CEO, has given me to help move this organization forward, but it is the HART Board and staff that truly deserve the accolades for getting HART to where it is today, and that is a provider of public transportation for over 14.5 million passengers a year - THAT is an achievement!" said Mr. Seward.

The announcement was made yesterday. View entire list.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Make it an Ybor Weekend: Flan Fest and Fiesta Day this Saturday!

The 67th Annual Fiesta Day
7th Avenue - 2/22 - 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

A day to celebrate Ybor City's culture and heritage, this free, family friendly "street festival" offers food, entertainment and shopping. Prepare your senses as the smells of Latin food and the rhythms of Latin music will fill 7th Avenue, along with vendors, dancing and a whole array of family fun.

Please note: 7th Avenue will be closed from 15th Street to 20th Street from 6:00am to 7:00pm to accommodate crowds and vendors. The TECO Line Streetcar might be your best bet as 15,000 attendees are expected and parking might become scarce. Simply park in the Channelside garage or any of Downtown's parking garages and catch the streetcar to Ybor.

Ybor City is served by TECO Line Streetcar stations 1-4.

Visit for more information.

The 11th Annual Flan Fest
Centennial Park - 2/22 - 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Flan is the star of this fest!
Consider yourself a big flan fan? The fabulous dessert will be featured once again at Flan Fest, held in conjunction with Fiesta Day. The flan-tivities will be held this Saturday, Feb. 22 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Centennial Park in Ybor City. The main attraction is the Annual Flan Bake-Off, a 40 contestant flan slug-fest to determine who has the best custard treat the Bay area. Judging (featuring a VIP HART judge) begins at noon with winners announced at 2:30 p.m.

The event will also feature live entertainment, shopping, and all day food and flan sampling.

And if you really, really, LOVE flan, a Flan Eating Contest is also scheduled for the event.

Flan Fest is a fundraiser for the Ybor City Saturday Market, a non-profit organization.  Make it a flan-filled day in Ybor and support a great Ybor City group! HART will have an information booth, so don't be afraid to come by and say hi!

Centennial Park is served by TECO Line Streetcar station 1.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

MetroRapid, U-Pass Help Grow Ridership to over 1.2 Million in January!

On the heels of setting another annual record for total ridership by providing transportation services to more than 14.6 million Hillsborough County residents in FY2013, January marked another month of more than 1 million in bus ridership. The most recent ridership report shows 1,229,442 rides taken on HART buses to get around Hillsborough County in January. 

Fast facts:
  • MetroRapid ridership has been on an upward trend for the first eight months of this innovative limited stop service. Ridership for January was 49,184.
  • Last month, January 13 saw the greatest daily ridership throughout the month with 53,954 riders choosing HART. 
  • Year-to-date (October 2013 - January 2014), bus ridership is up 1.4 percent; an increase of 69,079 trips, compared to the same period last year.
In addition, more University of South Florida faculty, staff and students are riding HART. U-Pass ridership has increased by 12 percent in FY2014 compared to FY2013. In fact, the U-PASS program represented 4 percent of HART January ridership. The U-Pass program is a partnership between HART and the University of South Florida that allows students to ride any HART local bus for free with a valid student ID; faculty and staff ride for 25¢.

 For more information about HART, visit

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

HART Regular Meeting - February 2014 Recap

At Monday's meeting of the HART Board of Directors, HART Chief Executive Officer Philip R. Hale announced that he will retire effective May 2, explaining that he is retiring for family reasons. He offered his full assistance during the transition, and added "I'm incredibly proud of our accomplishments over the past three years and grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the people of Hillsborough County. During my tenure, HART has responded to many challenges, while always keeping in mind the best interests of our residents, businesses and all those who depend upon HART services. So, it is with a sense of fulfillment and some regret that I step away from the duties at HART to focus more on my family."

HART Board Members expressed their deep appreciation for Mr. Hale's hard work and dedication. During his tenure HART experienced some of its greatest growth and achieved historic accomplishments. Those included the launch of the first MetroRapid service in the state of Florida, high-tech innovations like the OneBusAway Tampa app, and an environmental step forward with the groundbreaking measure to transition vehicles to more eco-friendly Compressed Natural Gas.          

HART's first Compressed Natural Gas van recently arrived
In other matters, the HART Board of Directors approved several action items at its regular monthly meeting on Monday, February 3, including authorization to purchase 22 40-foot Gillig Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered heavy-duty transit buses, and approval to purchase one MV-1 paratransit van with mobility ramp.

During the meeting, Alvin Burns, HART Sr. Manager of Procurement and Contracts Administration, provided the Board an overview presentation of the legal services and solicitation process. The objective was to make the Board of Directors aware of the need to procure legal services for the upcoming expiring contracts in May 2014: General Litigation and Personal Injury and Worker's Compensation, and Labor and Employment. Mr. Burns discussed the various available procurement options in the solicitation process.   

The Board of Directors also received a detailed look at the authority's Fare Policy and Discounted Passes. Jeff Seward, HART Chief Financial Officer, gave a presentation on how HART staff has started to review the HART "Fare Structure and Fare Change Policy" and have identified further changes that the staff will recommend to the Board in its fare policy, along with regional fare structure. 

Next Regular Board of Directors Meetings

The HART Regular Board of Directors will take place Monday, March 3 at 9:00 a.m. at the HART Ybor Office, 1201. E. 7th Ave., in Tampa.