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.