Friday, December 28, 2018

Thankful in 2018: A HART Year in Review


With 2019 fast approaching, many are looking towards the New Year as a fresh start. However, we at HART are looking to continue building on the successes of the past year.

Year in Review


February Service Changes

In 2017, HART "reset" the system network with Mission MAX, establishing a stable foundation for expansion. February 2018 marked a significant step toward HART's five-year goal of ten routes with 15-minute service or better.

Flamingo Fares testing is underway
Flamingo Fares Testing

Our regional transit fare app and smart card payment system took a giant leap in 2018 with the start of public testing! While HART and PSTA have been testing the first generation of the Flamingo Fares app since 2016, this is the first test involving the Flamingo Fares smart card and web-based accounts.

Since the launch of testing in March, thousands of taps have been recorded and the second generation of the Flamingo Fares app is now in the testing phase. Flamingo Fares will fully launch to the public in 2019.

Route 275LX

Summertime typically means a slower pace with vacation-filled offices and schools out. However, summer 2018 saw the launch of HART's FIRST seven-day-a-week inter-county service, the Route 275LX. The new all-day, limited-stop service launched on July 1st, operating between Wesley Chapel and Tampa International Airport, with stops in New Tampa, the University area, and downtown Tampa. The Route 275LX has seen an 83% increase in monthly ridership (10,910 rides in October) since launching in July.






MVP Express

After years of requests for express/shuttle service to local sporting events, HART launched the MVP Express in November! This premium service allows Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans to park at four convenient park-and-ride locations and hop on the MVP Express to Raymond James Stadium. All for only $10 round-trip, per person! The MVP Express is currently a pilot and will be evaluated and possibly expanded to other local sports after the NFL season has ended.

New Era of Transit
Free fares launched on Oct. 7, 2018

Streetcar Fare-Free and Enhanced Service

It's possible no other individual route or transit mode in Tampa Bay has seen as drastic a change as the TECO Line Streetcar System in 2018.

In June, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced a game-changing $2.7 million grant to make the TECO Line Streetcar FARE-FREE with enhanced morning/late night service and increased frequencies for three years. The new service kicked off on October 7 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a fresh new marketing strategy that represents HART's vision for the Streetcar - Free. Fun. Frequent. Totally Tampa!

It has been well received, with ridership up over 120% from last year!

InVision: Tampa Streetcar - Streetcar Extension and Modernization Study

The future looks even brighter as HART is currently partnering with the City of Tampa and FDOT on a study evaluating possible extension alignments and the feasibility of modernizing the current
heritage streetcar system. The City completed the first phase in Spring 2018 by identifying two north/south extension alignment options - a combination of Tampa St./Franklin St. and Florida Ave. The line would stretch through the core of downtown, near HART's main transit hub in Marion Transit Center, and north to Tampa Heights.

In June, the City received approval from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to enter Project Development phase to select a preferred alternative and refine improvement plans and strategies. The City will submit a Small Starts request for federal funding in September 2019.

Transit Referendum


Yes, we definitely saved the best for last! It's no secret that transportation has been on the minds of most in Hillsborough County for quite some time. The Tampa Bay region as a whole being seen more to put plans on shelves, than pen to paper.

However, that changed on Election Day as voters (overwhelmingly) approved a 1-cent sales tax increase to support transportation, including a mix of roads, public transportation, pedestrian, cycling, etc.

All of us at HART are incredibly humbled by this level of support and have already released our proposed short-term service improvement plan, which features speeding up the implementation of the first three years of the FY2019-2023 Transit Development Plan to 2019.

HART as an agency in 2017, revisited our infrastructure and established a blueprint for an improved transportation network in Hillsborough County.  This strategic plan allowed HART to overhaul its route system and build up that foundation in 2018, as we aligned for the future. 

The agency turns 40 in 2019, with the year poised to be HART's most celebrated yet, as we enter a new era of excellence. 

We look forward to seeing you on board one of our buses, vans, or streetcars in the New Year!

Happy Holidays!


Monday, December 17, 2018

HART to Give Free Rides for Joy of Giving on Dec. 22!

HART is giving the gift of transportation to the 9th Annual Joy of Giving by providing FREE rides on Saturday, December 22. The event at Raymond James Stadium features entertainment, food, and games, for children and families who deserve gifts and smiles.

Free rides on HART include HARTPlus and Express service.

For more information about the Joy of Giving, such as attending as a volunteer, or conducting a toy drive, visit www. JoyOfGivingTampa.com.





Friday, November 30, 2018

HART and TECO Line Streetcar Featured in "Connected Vehicle" Demo

The Tampa Connected Vehicle Pilot project team
The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) and HART recently invited industry peers and media to a demonstration showcasing connected vehicle technology on HART buses and the TECO Line Streetcar System. This was the first-ever demonstration of how connected vehicle safety applications on transit vehicles can help prevent crashes between cars, transit vehicles, and even pedestrians.

Attendees had the opportunity to ride in the vehicles and witness situational demonstrations of the technology, which allows the transit vehicles to "talk" wirelessly to the roadway and other connected vehicles.

Below is video of a simulated situation featuring a car turning in front of the Streetcar:



Tampa is one of the first cities in the nation (one of just three) to deploy connected vehicle technology through the Tampa Connected Vehicle Pilot, which THEA is spearheading. 

As part of the project, THEA is equipping 10 HART buses and 10 streetcars, and the cars of 1,600 individual volunteers with this exciting new technology to make downtown Tampa a safer, smarter place to walk, ride and drive.

The Tampa Connected Vehicle Pilot will also equip buses with Transit Signal Priority (TSP), which will enable them to communicate with streetlights on their routes. Downtown congestion can back up travel, causing buses to become late. When necessary, TSP can prioritize bus movements to speed up service.

The pilot has recently been featured on Discovery Channel Canada's Daily Planet!

The Tampa Connected Vehicle Pilot is a $21-million project funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

HART Service Changes Go Into Effect December 2

Service changes go into effect Dec. 2.
As part of our continued commitment to providing ease of access and convenience for patrons, HART is implementing minor service changes effective Sunday, December 2. HART makes regular service adjustments three times a year in response to public feedback and also to improve safety and efficiency. Routes are primarily selected for adjustment based upon demonstrated ridership and input via the customer service database.

The following HART service changes go into effect on Sunday, December 2:

Route and Schedule Adjustments:
  • Route 45 is being modified to serve Busch Blvd., between North Blvd. and Florida Ave.
  • Routes 60LX and 360LX will no longer serve Westfield Brandon Mall. 
  • Route 60LX will be extended to serve Culbreath at Bloomingdale Park-n-Ride.
  • Route 360LX is being extended to serve J.C. Handly Park-n-Ride.
Schedule Adjustments:
  • The TECO Line Streetcar will have minor "last trip of the night schedule adjustments.

Route 60LX will now operate along U.S. 301 to Bloomingdale Ave., ceasing at the Bloomingdale Park-n-Ride. This will provide the Valrico area with all day limited-stop service to Tampa International Airport and the rest of the HART service network.

Route 360LX will operate along Lumsden Rd. before turning on Kings Ave. (entering the J.C. Handly Park-n-Ride) and looping back on Bloomingdale Ave. and finally Providence Rd.

Riders wishing to connect between routes 60LX or 360LX and routes 37, 46, 75LX, or HARTFlex Brandon should transfer using routes 8 or 31 (at Providence Rd. and Bloomingdale Ave, and at Westfield Brandon Mall).

HART in the Community

HART staff will be out in the community at the Marion Transit Center and Westfield Brandon Mall bus stop over the next two weeks talking to riders about the service changes.
You can view the new route schedules on goHART.org or contact HART customer service at (813) 254-4278 for more information.

Friday, November 9, 2018

All Aboard the Winter Village Express!

Winter Village Express operates Sundays through Dec. 23!





















The holiday season is so close, we can almost feel Jack Frost nipping at our nose - 65° at night. Brr!

The Tampa Downtown Partnership is once again holding their Winter Village, featuring an ice rink, a cafe with warm beverages, and a holiday marketplace with local boutiques!
The Winter Village is located in Curtis Hixon Park and will take place from November 16 - January 5.

Along with the Winter Village, is the transformation of the TECO Line Streetcar System into the Winter Village Express! Launching November 18, the Winter Village Express offers a festive experience aboard a holiday-themed Streetcar. Enjoy treats, music, and fun, while on board!

The Winter Village Express will operate every Sunday through December 23. You can pick up the Winter Village Express at either Whiting Station in Downtown Tampa (Station #11) or Centro Ybor Station (#2) in historic Ybor City.

Winter Village Express Operating Schedule:

The Winter Village is open 11/16-1/5
Whiting Station in Downtown Tampa:
  • 3:25 p.m.
  • 4:25 p.m.
  • 5:25 p.m.
  • 6:25 p.m.
  • 7:25 p.m.
 Centro Ybor Station:
  • 3:55 p.m.
  • 4:55 p.m.
  • 5:55 p.m.
  • 6:55 p.m.
  • 7:55 p.m.

The cost of the Winter Village Express is $5.00 for a roundtrip ticket. Tickets can be purchased at both stations, Whiting and Centro, by credit card or exact change. All trips are first come, first serve due to limited availability, so come early!

For more information on Winter Village, or the Winter Village Express, visit http://www.wintervillagetampa.com/.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

HART and PSTA Offer Free Rides to Cross-Bay Ferry Riders!


HART and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) are providing free bus, trolley and streetcar rides to passengers of the newly relaunched Cross-Bay Ferry! Riders simply need to show their ferry ticket to the operator and enjoy the ride.

In Hillsborough County, passengers can board any HART fixed-route bus or van service (HARTPLUS excluded), or the TECO Line Streetcar System for free. Ferry riders can pick up the TECO Line Streetcar at Cumberland Avenue Streetcar Station, just steps from the Florida Aquarium.

Current TECO Line Streetcar schedule
Streetcar service operates every 15 minutes, from 7 AM - 7 PM and every 20 minutes, from 7 PM – 11 PM, Monday through Thursday, with extended hours on Friday until 2 AM. In addition, Saturday service operates every 20 minutes, from 8:30 AM – 2 AM and Sunday 8:30 AM – 11 PM.

Ferry riders can also connect to HART’s robust transit network to enjoy the sights and sounds of Busch Gardens, the shopping of International Plaza, and more. The HART Route 8 is just a short walk from the Cross-Bay Ferry dock. HART's central transit hub, Marion Transit Center, is located in downtown and provides connection to almost 15 HART routes. Riders can use the HART Trip Planner to map out their trip!

“It’s a great time for transportation in the Tampa Bay area, this partnership is just another example of how citizens can get around in our scenic Bay area,” said HART Interim CEO Jeff Seward. “Visitors, residents, businesses, employees, and commuters in the Tampa Bay area are excited to once again take advantage of this transit option, connecting the Tampa and St. Petersburg downtown cores.”

In Pinellas, PSTA’s Downtown Looper picks up at the Ferry dock (501 2nd Ave NE St. Petersburg) every 15 minutes, seven days a week. The Looper connects to the rest of PSTA’s bus and trolley system, so riders can enjoy the rich culture, shopping, and dining of downtown St. Petersburg or travel out to the award-winning beaches, or elsewhere throughout the county.

To enjoy the free ride, passengers are required to present a same-day Ferry ticket to the bus, trolley or streetcar operator upon boarding. The Cross-Bay Ferry runs from November 2, 2018, through April 30, 2019. The Ferry will operate seven days a week, except for holidays. Please check the schedule on the Cross-Bay Ferry’s website for the latest information.


Friday, November 2, 2018

HART MVP Express Passes are Now on Sale!

MVP Express passes are now available!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans will soon have a new way to get to Ray Jay! Launching November 11, the HART MVP Express will provide express service from four designated Park-N-Ride locations to Raymond James Stadium for only $10, round-trip, per person.

Eager pirates can get a jump on the crowds, by locking up their MVP Express passes early!



Here's how to secure your MVP Express pass.

If you don’t already have an account, you must create one prior to purchasing your MVP Express Pass. You can do so in one of the following ways:

Left: Adding MVP Pass to cart. Right: MVP Pass after activating
  1. Download the Flamingo Fares app for iOS or Android
  2. Click on “Buy Tickets,” then add your purchase
  3. You will be prompted to confirm your selection to continue, then select “Purchase Tickets”
  4. You’ll be asked to sign in with Facebook, Google or email to create an account
  5. You’ll be prompted to confirm your purchase and then asked to add your credit card information
Your purchased tickets will appear in “Use Tickets” and can be selected for activation!

Once activated, your ticket will display "1 MVP Express 1-Day Pass" and the expiration date and time.

The MVP Express will operate for the following Bucs home games: 
  • 11/11/18 vs. Washington Redskins
  • 11/25/18 vs. San Francisco 49ers
  • 12/02/18 vs. Carolina Panthers
  • 12/09/18 vs. New Orleans Saints
  • 12/30/18 vs. Atlanta Falcons
Be the MVP of your tailgate on the MVP Express!

Visit goHART.org/MVPexpress for more information.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Roll to the Polls with HART on November 6!



















HART wants to help you Roll to the Polls on Election Day!

All riders displaying their valid voter information card will receive a FREE lift on HART on November 6.

The Roll to the Polls promotion is valid on all HART services, except HARTPlus.

Riders are encouraged to locate their nearest precinct before leaving the house. You can do this and check your voting status by visiting the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections website. 

Exercise your right to VOTE!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

HART Launches New "Safe HART" Campaign



As the HART transit systems evolves, so must our programs to keep safety as our number one priority.  

Recently, HART launched a multi-faceted effort involving operations, safety and security, and our communications departments, emphasizing safety through various communication platforms - what we call SAFE (Stay Accident Free Everywhere).

HART is committed to ensuring the safety of our community and continuing the conversation about safe travel, including the potential dangers associated with entering a bus when the doors are closed.

The safety of our customers, operators and the general public remains HART's top priority and an active focus of our services, programs, and initiatives. Part of our ongoing commitment to safe travel in the region includes providing helpful information to emphasize the importance of safety guidelines.

This new "Safe HART" campaign provides a simple, effective way to communicate an important safety message: Ensuring the safety of the traveling public requires a community effort. HART asks its customers and the community to share the important safety message. 

Follow HART on Facebook, Twitter for rider alerts and service information. Use #SafeHART and share helpful safety information.

Help spread the message so that entering the bus when the doors are closed becomes something that we, as a community, don't ever do.

As we work to achieve our mission of taking people to the places that enhance their lives, we do so fully dedicated to safety. It is among the many areas in which we hold ourselves accountable for setting the highest standards.  

We want your experience with HART to be efficient, friendly, and most importantly, SAFE.