Monday, April 17, 2017

Ride HART FREE with a Friend on Earth Day!

Public transportation takes cars (and their pollution) off the road!
The ultimate green initiative is public transportation!

Consider yourself environmentally conscious? Have energy-efficient light bulbs, low-flow shower-heads, and recycle bins in your house, but then drive a gas guzzler to work? There is still work to be done! Use Earth Day as a chance to give the ultimate green initiative a try - public transportation! You just might find out how easy it is to go on a car-free diet.

According to APTA, public transportation reduces energy consumption to the tune of 4.2 billion gallons of gas a year, or the equivalent to 320 million cars filling up - 900,000 times a day. A household's biggest carbon footprint contributor is their car. One person switching their 20-mile commute to public transportation can also reduce their carbon footprint by 4,800 pounds of CO2 annually. CO2, or carbon dioxide emissions have been linked to global climate change known as "global warming".

Ride Free with a Friend

Ride HART FREE with a Friend on Earth Day!
Still not convinced? How about a FREE ride on HART for Earth Day? Grab a friend, make a day out of it, and try HART. We are providing FREE rides for those riding with a friend on Saturday, April 22, in celebration of Earth Day.

We feel that you'll be pleasantly surprised at how affordable, clean, convenient, and awesome it is to get around with HART.

The cherry on top? There's a good chance that you'll be riding in a clean-burning, American-sourced, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) bus or van, as HART is currently transitioning our fleet away from dirty diesel.

Try transit! Your planet (and wallet) will thank you!

To calculate your carbon emissions savings by switching to transit, visit APTA's Carbon Emissions Savings Calculator.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Regional Transit Feasibility Plan to identify “catalyst project” in Tampa Bay

The RTFP is looking at over 30 years of studies
There has been no shortage of transit studies in the Tampa Bay area in recent years. In fact, over the past 30 years, more than 55 plans and studies for transit have been conducted by Tampa Bay area agencies.

But the question remains: How can we turn planning into projects? Answering this question is the goal of the Regional Transit Feasibility Plan.

Creation of the plan started in November 2016, with a review of those 55 previous plans. After that work is complete, the process will move into creating a plan for a regional transit network, culminating in recommendations for improvements that address needs in the community and have a solid chance of getting funding.

The ultimate goal: identify the top transit corridors in the Tampa Bay region, while determining one “catalyst project” that would be eligible for federal funding and could be implemented first.

The plan is being funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and is being administered by the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART).

“Our mission is to create a ‘route map’ to implementation,” said Katharine Eagan, Chief Executive Officer of HART, the agency administering the plan. “The result, we hope, will be a catalyst project that’s the first of many projects that will be competitive for federal funding, forward thinking, and makes the best use of today’s technology.”

The Tampa Bay region is defined for this plan as the urbanized areas of Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties.

The Regional Transit Feasibility Plan will be conducted in two phases. The first phase consists of a year of technical analysis to identify the most competitive projects. During the first year, the milestones will include identifying the most promising corridors for transit, then identifying what type of transit mode can best serve those corridors, and finally, determining which projects could potentially be implemented first.

How did we get here?

 
 

The starting point for the Regional Transit Feasibility Plan is the adopted county and regional Long Range Transportation Plans and the more than 50 plans and studies completed by Tampa Bay area agencies over the past 30-plus years. The step-by-step process will then determine which projects are the most competitive for implementation.

During phase one, public involvement will be heavily focused on digital communication (website, online surveys, social media, and e-communication) but will also offer many in-person opportunities to get engaged (community workshops, small group meetings, and a stakeholder working group).
Phase two will involve vetting and refining plans for those specific projects to make sure the catalyst project selected is the best project for the region and is supported by the community. During phase two, a wide range of communication tools will be utilized, including public meetings, workshops, special events, the website, social media, town halls, and regional transit forums.

“The simplest way to describe what it takes to build a premium transit project is by answering the following three questions: What is the project? How is it funded? And who is responsible for building and maintaining it?” Eagan said. “During this plan, we will be addressing the first question and identifying possible next steps so the region can move forward with answering questions two and three.”

To learn more about the Regional Transit Feasibility Plan, and to participate in our transit preference survey, visit the project website at www.tbregionaltransit.com.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Take The TECO Line Streetcar to Tampa Pride Parade!


Take The Streetcar to the Pride festivities in Ybor this Saturday!
The Tampa Pride Festival and Parade takes place in Ybor City this Saturday, March 25! A street festival with live music, local vendors/food and more begins at 9:45 a.m. with the parade following at 1:00 p.m.

The event is expected to draw over 20,000 to Ybor City for the day. Expect parking and traffic to be a hassle with street closures. Avoid this by parking in downtown Tampa or the Channel District and taking The TECO Line Streetcar! Only $5.00 for all-day pass, with a special $12.50 Family Pass also available. Streetcar service begins at 11:00 a.m.

Routes 2,5,8,9,12,18 will be on detour
Please note: TECO Line Streetcar System service will be affected by the Tampa Pride Festival and Parade. Stations 1-4 will be closed until roughly 7:00 p.m., due to the event. Streetcar service will operate from a temporary station in front of the HART Ybor Streetcar Barn from 11:45 a.m. until the end of the event.

HART route(s) 2,5,8,9,12,18 will also be on detour due to the event.

Ybor has PRIDE! Enjoy the day and get there with HART and The TECO Line Streetcar System.

For more information on the event, visit Tampa Pride.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Quick-thinking Operator Saves Girl's Life

On February 13, bus operator Angela Read arrived at the Marion Transit Center at 3:25 p.m. While assisting a patron in a wheelchair to disembark from the bus, she overheard another patron asking one of her daughters if anything was wrong. The child did not answer. Operator Read noticed that the girl may have been choking on something. The operator asked her if she could swallow or talk, but the child could not. Operator Read then administered the Heimlich maneuver, successfully dislodging a piece of candy that was causing the blockage. The little girl was once again able to breath thanks to the life-saving technique performed by operator Read.

Operator Read went far beyond the call of duty of the expected day to day activities. By reacting to a serious situation and using the training provided to her, Operator Read prevented a tragedy by saving the life of this child. 

We want to recognize Operator Read for her outstanding response and heroic efforts. Please show her some gratitude the next time you see her on board!

While you're at it, thank you bus, van, or streetcar operator for the tremendous job they do on a daily basis. We have the best team in transit!

Monday, March 13, 2017

New Pass Options Available on the Flamingo Fares App!

New fares options on the Flamingo Fares app
The Flamingo Fares Tampa Bay app is taking flight! HART and PSTA have added five new pass options which are valid on all HART and PSTA bus services, including HARTFlex, Jolley Trolley, Looper Trolley. (Not valid on HARTPlus or PSTA DART.) Flamingo Fares has also expanded to include a new 1-day Streetcar pass, as well as, the $12.50 Family Pass!

Traveling the Tampa Bay region by bus and streetcar will continue to get even easier with mobile ticketing technology. Flamingo Fares, allows riders to travel throughout the greater Tampa Bay area using a single fare.

The new pass options provide more flexibility for HART and PSTA riders. Both agencies will continue to test the new system that will provide riders a new way to pay for transit fares, and seamlessly travel throughout the region from system to system. The launch of the full App is expected to be released in 2018.


Streetcar fare goes from yellow to grey/black to show its valid.
To pay with Flamingo Fares, customers download an app similar to the one Starbucks uses to enable its customers to pay quickly and digitally. Patrons simply purchase a ticket on the app and show the screen to the bus operator/motorperson upon boarding the vehicle.

The mobile payment app is free to download and available on the iPhone App Store and Android Google Play. Cash will continue to be accepted on both transit systems, but with a smartphone app, patrons no longer have to worry about carrying the correct change or buying separate fares for different legs of their trip.

Hernando, Pasco, Manatee and Sarasota Counties are also implementing the new technology in the future. Both agencies will continue to analyze all the data to determine what concerns need to be addressed before the full system is implemented in 2018.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Streetcar Morning Service to End March 24th

Streetcar morning service will cease March 25th, following the end of a six-month pilot exploring potential demand for "commuter" streetcar service. HART funded the six-month pilot that was scheduled for September 27-March 24.

Here is what we learned:
Daily AM Streetcar Ridership Per Hour During Pilot
  • Streetcar morning ridership averaged 428 riders weekly
  • Ridership during "rush hour" averaged roughly from 2.9 - 5.9 riders per hour
As you can see from the graph, early morning commuters didn't take to the service as we had hoped, but the service fared well beginning around 9 a.m. This could be related to Ybor City and Downtown Tampa's retail, restaurant, and hotel sectors. We will do a deeper dive into the data from the pilot.

For those now hooked on the car-free commute, the route 8 roughly parallels the TECO Line Streetcar System and may make a great option! Service to Downtown Tampa begins at 5:10 a.m. and operates every 30 minutes. A one-day pass is only $4.00. Visit www.goHART.org for more information.

Stay involved in the process!
A study is underway to look at modernizing and extending the Streetcar

The City of Tampa, the Florida Department of Transportation, and HART are looking at ways to make the TECO Line Streetcar System a viable commuting option in Ybor City, Downtown Tampa, and beyond. A feasibility study is currently underway to look at the possible extension and modernization of the TECO Line Streetcar System.

Here is where you come in! The next brainstorming session will be held April 4th at the Tampa Bay History Center from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Share your thoughts and be a part of the process.

Please also take this online survey regarding the Streetcar.

The momentum is there. As downtown grows by leaps and bounds, so will the need for expanded transit options and alternative commutes.

Thank you for the continued support!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Let's Have Ourselves a Streetcar Wedding!

Jeff Philbin and his fiance
We received some great tales of love in February. However, this story touched us the most. We would like to congratulate Jeff Philbin and his fiance on being the recipient of a FREE streetcar wedding! Their story and love for each other and our great city ultimately wooed us the most.

 Their story...

"My fiancé and I have would be so humbled and grateful if we were selected for this opportunity. We met here in Tampa and Tampa is our home. When we got engaged, we decided to do something special with our engagement and wanted to show off our love for this city in a unique way as our photos were taken all over the city; from Ulele to the Beck Building to Tampa Theatre to Curtis Hixon to the middle of Ashley Drive, we wanted our love for one another collide with our love for this city and showcase it.

We would extend that same level of concern and attention by having such a unique wedding since it would allow our wedding story to come full circle and celebrate the beauty of even more incredible locations in Tampa, like Ybor City, Florida Aquarium, or Channelside. We recently had a son and needless to say because of the non-traditional milestone path, our families will not support the traditional wedding and we are okay with that because we would love to celebrate our bond, enjoying the city, and celebrate it with an intimate, close group of friends who will share in the splendor of Tampa! I am proud to call Tampa home, and every time I ride the streetcar, I ask people where they are coming from, acting as the unofficial ambassador giving them a tour of the city and it’s rich history along the way. I celebrate them and make them feel home learning their story; who they are, where they’re coming from, and why they’re here. I recommend restaurants and places to go. I appreciate them enjoying the city and in turn investing in us with them being here.

Maybe one day someone can share my fiancé & I’s story of our rich love and tell our story on The TECO Line Streetcar System. Thank you for your consideration."

We look forward to being a part of their big day!


Friday, March 3, 2017

March is Florida Bike Month!

Coast Bikes can be rented from Marion Transit Center and Dick Greco Plaza
Happy Florida Bike Month! We're celebrating alternative commutes and looking at the relationship between personal (bikes) and public transportation.

Once seen as a child's toy, bikes are now considered a serious commuting option. Coast Bike Share, a bike rental service, has rolled out dozens of bike hubs throughout Tampa (and now St. Petersburg), including at our Marion Transit Center in Downtown.

At HART, we're dedicated to getting our riders to their destination as quickly and efficiently as possible. We see bikes as supplemental to our service and that's why we added racks to our buses and rubber-wheeled trolleys almost 20 years ago. More recently, bike racks have also been added to all of our HARTFlex vans.

In November 2011, folding bikes - in proper carrying bags - were allowed on board.

Bikes on Buses saves time, money and the environment!
Bike riders might not view a 30-mile round trip bike ride to downtown as an attractive commute. However, pair a quick 1-2 mile bike ride with a HART route to pick up the majority of the miles and you have some serious pedal power.

Cycling HART riders find that bikes not only speed up their commutes, but also provide them greater exercise, ground coverage, and route options.

For example, you might live within walking distance of a route 34 stop, but possible transfers don't work well with your schedule. Instead, you choose to bike to the route 1 stop where you can catch a straight shot to Marion Transit Center and save 10 minutes. Couple those time savings with the low-cost of a HART 1-day pass ($4.00) or 31-day pass ($65, $2.10 a day) and you've saved time, money and the environment!

Don't take our word for it though. Roughly 20,000 Bikes on Buses trips were taken last month.

Click here to learn more about the HART Bikes on Buses program, including how to secure your bike on the bus bike rack.  We also have a Bikes on Buses how-to video on our YouTube page here.


Placing your bike on the bus is easy! Just follow these quick steps.

Ride on!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Middle and High School Students Ride Free in March!

Free rides for middle and high school students in March!
Are your kids gearing up for Spring Break? More importantly, are YOU prepared? Cold sweats, nightmares, oh the places you’ll take them (on your dime): movies, malls, concerts, theme parks. If only there was a cheap, efficient way to get them around town without a car, and more importantly, YOU.

There is!

Middle and high school students ride FREE on all HART local, MetroRapid, and Flex Services throughout March during the HART Stay-cation promotion! All your kids have to do is show their student ID and they’re jetting around town for FREE!

Here is just a small list of the Tampa attractions that HART serves:

  • Busch Gardens – Routes 5, 18, 39
  • Adventure Island – Route 5
  • Florida Aquarium – Routes 8, 9, 97
  • Museum of Science and Industry – Route 6
  • GameTime – Routes 5, 8, 9, 12
  • Westfield Citrus Park – Route 39
  • Westshore Plaza – Routes 15, 30, 45
  • University Mall – Routes 12, 45
  • Channelside Bay Plaza – Route 8
  • Centro Ybor – Routes 8, 9,12
  • Tampa Museum of Art – Routes 7,10,14, In-Towner

We know you love your kids, but we also know that you love your free time too. Gain your independence, give them a little, and go HART!

For more information on HART routes, maps, schedules and a Trip Planner, visit www.goHART.org.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Share Your Love Story for a Chance at a FREE Streetcar Wedding!

The Streetcar makes an intimate and historic venue!
Recently engaged and looking for a historic and intimate venue to get married to your significant other? Better yet, at no cost?

The TECO Line Streetcar System wants to make a couple's dreams come true!

Have a great love story to share? We want to hear it! Share your story with the TECO Line Streetcar System Facebook page and you could be chosen to receive a FREE* streetcar charter and party/bar setup on us!

Love stories must be submitted by February 28, 2017 to be considered. *Streetcar charter date, length, itinerary, etc. will be determined after meeting with the selected couple. Expenses such as an officiant, decorations, etc. are the responsibility of the selected couple.

The historic TECO Line Streetcar System has been lucky enough to be a part of a number of couple's big days. Serving wedding reception venues such as the Florida Aquarium, The Ritz Ybor, The Vault, and more, the TECO Line Streetcar System is also perfect for wedding reception transportation, as well as, wedding party photos.

Those interested in streetcar charters can visit the Group Travel page on the TECO Line Streetcar website.


Share your Streetcar Love Story by Feb. 28th!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Survey Shows High Marks in Customer Satisfaction for HART!

Voice of the Customer Surveys have taken place since 2015.
HART is touting a huge jump in its score on a customer satisfaction survey -- an increase of 128% since August 2015.

These numbers were captured as part of
the agency's fourth wave of Voice of the Customer Scorecard, an initiative designed to gather data which will be used to better understand the customers' opinions of existing service and areas of priority that need improvement.


According to the latest quarterly survey of about 500 HART riders, the public transit system has drastically improved its customer service since conducting its first survey last year. Results of the survey, which was conducted at different times of day, and days of the week on all HART routes to measure customer impressions, indicate that HART is outperforming the national transit industry in customer satisfaction by 28%.

Back in 2015, HART hired TransPro Consulting to conduct surveys gauging rider satisfaction, asking riders whether they would recommend HART service to friends or family.

TransPro has conducted four waves of surveys since 2015, taking place in August and December, speaking to a total of 2,082 customers.

According to TransPro staff, who presented survey results to the HART Board of Directors during its February 6 meeting, HART scored notably high marks for service frequency, bus routes location convenience, and service improvements over the course of the past year.

TransPro also pointed out that HART achieved a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 48%, a full 36% higher than the transit industry average NPS of 12% for customer satisfaction. Net Promoter Score is a widely used in both the private and public sectors as a customer satisfaction index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company's products or services to others. It is used as a proxy for gauging the customer's overall satisfaction with a company's service and the customer's loyalty to the brand.

Roughly 95% of customers expressed overall satisfaction with HART service, meanwhile the percentage of customers who felt that the agency's service had improved over the past year increased by 50% in wave four of the surveys. Regarding customer loyalty,
approximately 71% of the riders surveyed in wave four identified themselves as riding five days a week, which is higher than the industry standard. In addition, over 65% of customers in Waves 2, 3 and 4 use HART buses most frequently for work. 

HART will continue to conduct these surveys on a regular, ongoing basis to target specific improvements needed to boost customer satisfaction.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

HART Celebrates Black History Month!

As we celebrate Black History Month, we are frequently reminded of the important role that transportation plays in supporting and sustaining communities of color in today's complex landscape. In celebration of Black History Month, HART has planned several activities to celebrate Black History Month.

Starting this week, all HART fixed route buses will have a seat designated for Rosa Parks, a pioneer in the Civil Rights Movement. Parks, the "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement," will be honored by HART in this fitting tribute by designating a seat on every HART bus. Each of these special seat covers will have a commemorative sign displayed on them, honoring both Parks' legacy and her dedication to the Civil Rights Movement.

HART is designating a seat for Rosa Parks throughout Feb.
More than 180 HART buses will have a seat designated for Rosa Parks. A sign will remind all passengers of Parks' decision to take a stand simply by taking a seat. Parks' non-violent action on December 1, 1955 led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott that culminated one year later with a U. S. Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing access to public transportation.

"Her actions created millions of opportunities for transit users in Hillsborough County who rely on HART to get to work, to get to school and to create the lives they want. HART makes life happen for many folks," HART Chief Administrative Officer Kenyatta Lee said. "Her decision to keep her seat reminds all of us to focus on the larger issues of equality, opportunity and hope for the future."

In addition, HART has also produced a video - HART Generations of Services. This video features three HART retirees who tell their personal stories about how HART has changed through the years and how HART shaped their lives. The video is being played on the monitors located throughout the agency and it is available on the HART YouTube page.



Also, on February 21, HART will host a reception for our retirees at the Robert W. Saunders Sr. Public Library at 5:00 pm. This is a great opportunity to spend time with some great HART pioneers and see the exhibit displayed in recognition of Black History Month.

We're highlighting local African American historical sites!
Public transportation also happens to be a great way to visit local African American historic sites in Tampa.

On social media, we're also highlighting these local African American historical sites and how you can Take HART to Black History!

HART is honored to be able to celebrate the lives of all those who paved the way during this month's activities in recognition of Black History Month.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Take HART to Black History!

From Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, to the "Freedom Rides" throughout the South, public transportation has played a historic role in African American history.

Public transportation also happens to be a great way to visit local African American historic sites in Tampa.

Hop on, as HART Takes You to Black History!
People gather at La Union Mari-Maceo in 1944

Sociedad La Union Mari-Maceo

Just across the street from the HART Administrative Building in Ybor City, is a building which represents the melting pot that is Ybor - Sociedad La Union Marti-Maceo building. The Cuban club was founded by Afro-Cubans in 1900, and served both white and Afro-Cubans excluded from other Cuban and Spanish clubs, until the club was forced to segregate due to local laws. The facility became more than a social club housing events, morphing into a mutual aid society, with self-help activities and a school.

Sociedad La Union Mari-Maceo is located at 1226 East 7th Avenue in Ybor City and is accessible by Route(s) 8,9,12 and the TECO Line Streetcar System.


Central Park
The LIFETILES installation at Perry Harvey Sr. Parl

One of the most culturally and historically rich neighborhoods in Tampa, the area once housed the likes of Ray Charles (he wrote "I found my baby there," in Central Park area,) Jackie Robinson, Ella Fitzgerald, and more! The neighborhood was a vibrant African American business and entertainment district with restaurants and clubs such as the Cotton Club, Apollo Theatre, etc.

The district would later fall into disrepair, due to racial unrest and disruption. However, the Central Park district is now home to Encore! Apartments. Encore! has paid homage to the heritage of the district with a number of public art installations throughout the complex, as well as, at near by Perry Harvey Sr. Park.

The Central Park District and Perry Harvey Sr. Park are located at 900 E Scott St, Tampa, FL 33602, and are accessible via Route(s) 2,9,12 and MetroRapid. 


Ft. Homer Hesterly Armory/ the Bryan Glazer Family JCC

Dr. King Jr. speaking at the Ft. Homer Armory
The Bryan Glazer Family JCC was formerly known as the Ft. Homer Hesterly Armory. The building has seen historic figures from Teddy Roosevelt, to JFK grace the hall. On November 19, 1961, a crowd of 4,200 waited out a bomb threat to see Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak in the hall.

"We are standing on the border of the promised land of integration," Dr. King promised, undeterred by the early bomb threat.

The facility recently underwent substantial renovations, which include a Visual Arts Center, an event center, a food bank, and more.

The Bryan Glazer Family JCC is accessible via Route(s) 10 and 30.


Tampa is full of African American history. Explore it on HART!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Connect to HART with New OneBusAway Tampa Communication Tool!

OneBusAway Tampa reporting tool
New OneBusAway Tampa reporting tool
OneBusAway Tampa, the innovative app that brings you HART real-time arrival information, is now even better with the launch of a new reporting tool!

HART is the first transit agency in Florida to partner directly with SeeClickFix, Inc., a communications platform, which will allow HART riders to stay connected with HART. The OneBusAway Tampa app's latest feature allows riders to report issues, provide suggestions to HART in real time, receive status updates, and monitor the progress and resolutions.

In addition, riders can vote on issues that are important to maintaining our transit system. Behind the scenes, issues and suggestions are automatically assigned to the appropriate department for immediate attention, thus streamlining the customer service process and enabling better statistical reports.  

OneBusAway user just need to tap "Send Feedback"
OneBusAway Tampa users can access the reporting tool by tapping the "Send Feedback" button on the left-hand menu. 
The customer service reporting feature is currently only available on Android devices.

However, o
ur iOS friends were recently shown some love in a recent update
to the iOS platform. The OneBusAway app now allows HART patrons to instantly track buses to see (on a map) exactly how far the bus is from their current location. The OneBusAway Tampa iOS layout has also been greatly improved. 
 

The Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida developed the standardized interface between the OneBusAway and SeeClickFix system as part of a project which aims to improve communication between travelers and public agencies providing transportation services. This work was sponsored by the National Center for Transit Research and Florida Department of Transportation.
 
Since it was originally launched, the free app has gained in popularity with HART patrons, being accessed closed to 300,000 times per month.
 
Thanks to OneBusAway, riders save time, effort, and stress, with the reassurance of knowing exactly where their HART bus is! And now, the app connects them directly to HART!