Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bus Stops as Building Blocks: HART's Basic Transit Infrastructure Program

The HART BTI Program is HART's most visible infrastructure!
A bus stop is just a bus stop, right? Just a pole in the ground. Some stops have a shelter, others don't, some are green, and some are black. What’s the big deal?

At HART, we recognize that a bus stop isn't just a bus stop. It is a place where valued customers board and alight vehicles transporting them to important destinations such as work, school, medical appointments, child care and more. Which means, most patrons begin their commute at one of our stops. People depend on us!  Consequently, it is our responsibility to ensure the infrastructure of HART bus stops improve the customer experience, as much as possible.    

Which leads us to the HART Basic Transit Infrastructure (BTI) program.

With roughly 3,200 HART stops throughout Hillsborough County, the BTI program is HART's most "visible" infrastructure. The BTI program consists not only of stops and shelters, but also bus bays, crosswalks, landing pads, and more.

Of the 2,150 stops, 639 (30% coverage) of those have shelters.

Let's compare that with our regional peers:
  • Charlotte Area Transit Authority (CATS) - 3,300 stops; 310 shelters (10% coverage)
  • Fort Worth Transit Authority (The T) - 1,794 stops; 76 shelters (4% coverage)
  • Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) - 4,822 bus stops; 650 shelters (14% coverage)
HART is outpacing our regional peers, and we plan to continue to pursue funding for additional infrastructure.

How did we get here? Let's take a look at how the BTI program is funded.

HART works in collaboration with local jurisdictions, developers and private property owners to engage in cost sharing opportunities or establish right-of-way easements for placement of transit infrastructure. An example of this is when residential or entertainment venues are built, HART receives "impact fees" to help mitigate the traffic that arises from the new development. This funding must be spent in the location it was received. The BTI program also receives 1% of HART's discretionary grant funding.

In addition to developer fees and grants, HART partners with Signal Outdoor Advertising to build and maintain shelters, in exchange for ad placements at the stops. It is through this revolutionary (at the time) public-private partnership, that HART has been able to build out so many shelters.

Bus Stop Audit

While we are proud of our shelter coverage, we can always improve.
In 2008, HART conducted a "Bus Stop Study," essentially auditing all stops within the HART system. From this study, forged the effort to bring our grandfathered-in stops to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Roughly 10 years later, HART is looking to conduct another audit of our stops. This time around, the study will focus on reviewing the conditions of our shelters (including ADA-accessibility, possibly moving stops, and improving stop GPS location accuracy for Google Maps, OneBusAway, etc.
Think your HART stop warrants a shelter? Fill out this online form to have your stop evaluated.

Mission MAX

Following the robust redesign of the HART network, a number of non-service stops and shelters are still in place. HART and Signal are aware of these stops and are working towards finding new homes for current shelters and scrapping ones that have passed their useful life (10 years).


Continued maintenance (pressure washing shelters, removing trash and debris, and more) is an important part of the rider experience, especially with hundreds of patrons visiting shelters daily. However, with a service area the size of Rhode Island, and a team of less than 10, stop maintenance is a challenge and HART is working with its partners to implement service improvements.

We are working industriously to improve!

Signal Outdoor, HART’s partner in shelter maintenance, is hiring another full-time employee to improve the visual appeal of MetroRapid stations. HART is also increasing supervisor patrols to identify shelters requiring immediate support. 

Despite our efforts, we need the help of our community partners!  If you see a stop or shelter in need of a little TLC, please don't hesitate to tweet us, send us a message on Facebook, or email CustomerService@goHART.org. We need your eyes on the ground!

National Infrastructure Week

The week of May 14th is National Infrastructure Week. Throughout the week, agencies, from airports and seaports, to transit agencies and utility organizations, are highlighting the importance of supporting our nation's infrastructure.

Without crucial state and federal funding, HART would face an even greater challenge to keep our riders protected from the elements and ultimately, to keep our community moving.

Something to think about the next time you visit a HART bus stop!

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