Friday, August 31, 2018

I Ride with HART: Erma Jackson

Ms. Erma Jackson and a HART operator
HART carries thousands of passengers every week around Hillsborough County, and within all of those rides are countless stories to tell. Every month, HART will share our customers' accounts and what makes HART a significant part of our community.

"We want to thank everyone like Ms. Jackson, who took the time to share with us how important the transit system is to their daily lives," said HART Interim CEO Jeff Seward.

"These stories illustrate what an important role public transportation plays in taking people to work, school, medical appointments, grocery shopping, and so much more."

See how HART is making a difference in our customers' everyday lives.

For Ms. Erma Jackson, a HART bus keeps her connected to everything that is going on around her.

The bus stop near her ENCORE! Apartment building helps Ms. Jackson enjoy an active lifestyle. She depends on HART to take her to church, the grocery store, medical appointments, favorite restaurants and to see family and friends. Look for her on routes 1, 5, 9 12, 30 and MetroRapid. HART is her lifeline to the outside world.

"My gosh, I go everywhere. I take the bus to all of my appointments and shopping and anywhere I want to go," said Ms. Jackson. "It's been enjoyable. I meet lots of people, and I know a lot of the HART Bus drivers."

For more than 38 years, rain or shine, Ms. Jackson has relied on HART to take her all over the Tampa Bay area. Today, at the sweet age of 72 years young, Ms. Jackson encourages her friends and quite honestly everyone she meets to take a ride on a HART bus. Anyone that knows her Lately, she's been riding the bus for hours with a friend who suffered a stroke. They hop on a HART bus enjoy the sights and then stop somewhere to eat. Riding on the bus and meeting people has helped her friend in his recovery, she said.

Ms. Jackson also rides HART because it is the best financial choice for getting everywhere she needs to go. She truly appreciates the senior discount, since she lives on a modest income.

OneBusAway Tampa app provides comfort when traveling
When the OneBusAway Tampa application was released, Ms. Jackson was thrilled. She had just gotten a smartphone and had attended a OneBusAway outreach event where HART staff was educating customers about the new application. She admits at first, it was hard to understand, but now it has become her trusted tool.

The OneBusAway app has been the perfect addition to her transit journey. She says for her, the best thing about the app is that it gives her a sense of comfort. She knows when the bus will be arriving, and it has always been accurate for her.

Ms. Jackson enjoys the community feel to public transit. "You see different people every day, a different group of people every day," along with familiar faces she has come to know on a first-name basis. "Public transportation gets you out of your bubble."

She is grateful to have reliable transportation. Transit gives her independence and that is why she rides with HART.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Employees to Vote for Art on HART!

With beautiful murals popping up on the sides of Tampa Bay businesses, warehouses, etc., HART and the Tampa Bay Foundation for Architecture & Design (TBFAD) saw a great opportunity to provide a talented local artist with a unique (and mobile) canvas - a bus!

TBFAD put out a call for local artists to provide artwork to be wrapped around a bus for an entire year. After narrowing the list to three "finalists," HART employees are now being given the opportunity to vote for their favorite artwork.

Public transportation and art are sewn into the fabric of communities across the world. HART and TBFAD hope this collaboration can forge future opportunities to further marry the local art scene with local transit and promote artistic expression throughout Hillsborough County.

All three Tampa Bay area artists, whose exceptional designs captured the theme of "Tampa culture," earned the chance to have their designs showcased.

The winner will have their bus canvas publicly unveiled in the coming weeks.

HART and TBFAD are excited to have the opportunity to showcase a local artist and transform an ordinary bus into an extraordinary mobile work of art!

Stay tuned.

Art Wrap Entries:

Entry #1 - Carlos "Zulu Painter" Culbertson

Entry #2 - Michelle Sawyer and Tony Krol

Entry #3 - Michael O' Connell

Thursday, August 2, 2018

HART Recognizes Safe Operators with "Million Mile" Awards!

Imagine driving a million miles - 40 times around the earth's circumference - without a preventable accident. Now imagine accomplishing such a feat as the driver of a 40-foot bus!

Thirteen HART operators, joined by their families, were recognized on Tuesday, July 31, during the Authority's Third Annual HART Million Mile Safe Driver Awards Luncheon in honor of those who achieved outstanding safety milestones in safe driving and service.

How far is a million miles? It is like driving 769 one-way trips - from Tampa to New York City.

"In today's driving conditions these operators have accomplished something that demonstrates their high level of safety consciousness and commitment to the safety of their passengers, fellow motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists," said HART Interim CEO Jeff Seward. "We congratulate these accomplished bus operators and thank them for their hard work and dedication. These elite men and women consistently demonstrate advanced skills and concentration levels to achieve the Million Miler status."

One could travel to the moon and back twice before reaching a million miles, yet 11 HART Bus Operators achieved this well within earth's atmosphere. Driving 14 consecutive years without a preventable accident, the Authority's newest Million Mile operators are Kenneth Beach, Rufus Blake, Theresa Briseneau, Tito Goicochea, Marc Henry, Dinesta McBride, Henry Morales, Gustavo Pachon, Jimmy Suarez, Bridget Williams, and Tyran Williams.

"HART's Million Mile Safe Driver Awards program allows executive leadership and management to recognize and honor those who have served the public in a safe and customer-centric manner," said Chief Administrative Officer and Interim Chief of Staff Kenyatta Lee. "This is a great opportunity to show our appreciation for the best of the best, who take great care of the Authority's customers and vehicles. "

Two Million Mile Club: Cosme Garcia (left); Tony Hernandez (right)
HART bus operators Cosme Garcia and Tony Hernandez join the prestigious two million mile club. In the world of a HART bus operator, this incredible achievement equates to 27 years of driving a bus without having a preventable accident.

When asked what it requires to drive so many miles without a preventable accident, two million miler Operator Cosme Garcia said that it is a great accomplishment. "You see others achieve it and you strive for it. As a driver, you appreciate this perhaps more than others might, just by witnessing all the incidents that take place on the road. The key to safety is not only to be focused on your actions but also be observant of other's actions to ensure nothing happens," he said. 

Congrats to all of our Million Milers!