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!