Monday, March 31, 2014

HART has you covered with upgraded bus stops and shelters!

One out of five of HART's 3,200 stops are shelters! 
HART is fully committed to its progressive Bus Stop Improvement Program, which will make all bus stops ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant; not just for someone in a wheelchair, but anyone with any kind of mobility device. For the past couple of years, a route-by-route assessment has been underway for all of the agency's approximately 3,200 bus stops and 681 shelters to ensure they comply with these standards. Sites scheduled for improvements are chosen based on ridership activity and demand, proximity to other nearby covered stops, adequate right-of-way, opportunities to sell advertisements, and planned neighborhood improvements. 

This project, known as the Bus Stop Improvement Program, also provides all riders with enhanced passenger amenities such as, bus bays, new sidewalks and shelters to help protect customers from the rain and hot sunshine. This is especially significant since 55.3 percent of HART riders board at shelters.

All new shelters are lit by solar power, saving taxpayer money on electrical costs and making them environmentally friendly. By using solar power the authority's energy savings will return the cost of investment while enjoying increased safety, less maintenance, and a smaller carbon footprint! Meanwhile HART has already tripled the number of covered stops from one shelter for every 15 stops to one shelter for every five stops.
The latest installation completed was placement of a bus bay on Fowler Avenue and 53rd Street in the City of Temple Terrace. To match the city's Mediterranean-style theme it was given a custom Spanish-tiled roof. The installation also includes stand-alone seating to accommodate the high volume of patrons that utilize the stop.    
Also, completed were bus bay projects on the south side of Progress Blvd east of I-75 at Valley Dale Drive in front of Villages of Bloomingdale Apartments and MLK Jr. Blvd and Interstate Corporate Center just west of I-4.
Improvements also have other practical benefits for riders, for example, an insufficient number of stops can diminish customer access to HART services, so creating new stops under the Bus Stop Improvement Program addresses that issue. Similarly, optimizing the distances between bus stops helps ensure that buses stay on schedule by cutting down on unnecessary, inefficient stops that can cause delays.
The Bus Stop Improvement Program is supported by federal funding, as well as local impact fees. In addition, this program is driven by partnerships. An advertising contract with Signal Outdoor, for instance, helps offset shelter costs. Signal Outdoor pays for shelters and their maintenance, in exchange for shared advertising revenue. HART also engages with private developers, local government and the Florida Department of Transportation for opportunities to obtain land easements or offset construction cost.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Have an Irish-spirited Weekend in Downtown Tampa!

Mayor's River O' Green Fest

The river goes GREEN on Saturday!

Another busy weekend in Tampa's Downtown! Join Mayor Buckhorn at Curtis Hixon tomorrow for the annual River O' Green Fest! Watch as the river transforms into a festive bright green, with live music from the Lucid Druids, beer, games, kids' activities, and of course food trucks with Irish food! There will also be a chance to give back to the community, as the Salvation Army will be on site collecting non-perishable donations.

19th Annual Rough Riders' St. Patrick's Day Parade

Rough Riders' St. Patrick's Night Parade in Ybor at 8 pm!
After you are done feasting on Irish faire and dancing to the Celtic jams from the Lucid Druids at Curtis Hixon, hop on the Streetcar and catch some clover leaf beads at the Rough Riders' St. Patrick's Day Parade in Ybor! The 19th annual parade kicks off at 8 p.m. along 7th Avenue. Family passes for the Streetcar, providing a full day of rides for up to 2 adults and 3 children, or 1 adult and 4 children are available at all stations for only $12.50!

What a great way to spend a day in downtown. Take in two Irish-filled events and only have to park once with the TECO Line Streetcar System!

Please note: The TECO Line Streetcar System service will cease north of 7th Avenue for the parade beginning at 7:40 p.m. until the end of the parade. Riders will depart the streetcar in front of the streetcar barn on 7th Avenue.

Visit for maps, fares, and schedules!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sharp Jump in Ridership for HART in February!

MetroRapid reached 50k monthly rides for the 1st time!
HART ridership has reached new highs by setting another record! February 2014 marked the highest month for weekday average bus ridership in HART history! Weekday average ridership reached 52,896 setting the highest weekday average ever.

Along with enhanced service and better on-time performances, HART registered a remarkable increase in ridership over the past year. New figures show that, from February 2013 to February 2014, the agency's bus ridership jumped by 3.5 percent from 1,199,670 to 1,242,223. The takeaway in one sentence: ridership for HART continues to climb and numbers remain strong.
It's an exciting time at HART," said HART Chief Operating Officer Katharine Eagan. "Our staff took advantage of many opportunities, and continued to provide high-quality service. We are poised to do an even greater job in 2014. We thank our riders for their loyalty to public transit."

Fast facts: 

  • MetroRapid ridership in February was 50,587. 
  • Last month, February 4 saw the greatest daily ridership throughout the month with 59,000 riders choosing HART.
  • 15 of 20 weekdays exceeded 50,000 riders.
  • Year-to-date (October 2013 - February 2014), bus ridership is up 1.8 percent; an increase of 110,632 trips, compared to the same period last year.
Meanwhile, according to a report released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association during its annual legislative conference, 10.7 billion trips were taken on public transportation last year, the eighth consecutive year that saw more than 10 billion trips taken on public transportation systems nationwide. 

Here in Hillsborough County, HART carried 14.6 million customers in FY2013 matching a national trend that saw Americans taking more public transportation to get around.