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Thursday, May 21, 2015

HART and Coast Bike Share Partnership Helps Tackle the 'First Mile, Last Mile' Problem

Three Coast Bike Share bikes will be stationed at MTC
May is National Bike Month and HART makes connecting to the bus by riding a bike a breeze.
 
The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) and Coast Bike Share are formally announcing that we have teamed up to add three Coast Bikes at the Marion Transit Center (MTC).
 
Through this partnership, bicycle racks with quality Coast Bikes are set up at high-activity hubs such as MTC, and dozens of additional hubs in the Downtown area, Ybor City, and Hyde Park. The MTC location will help residents, students, businesses and visitors to get around by combining HART and Coast Bike Share trips to explore the Tampa Bay area.

HART works hard to promote the growth in cycling around Tampa and seek proactive, long-term solutions to accommodate a growing market of transit users who travel by bike. Bicycle friendly transit provides cyclists with increased options to travel, and it also expands transit ridership.        
 
"The Coast Bike Share connection helps make HART a more convenient option for customers needing a way to start or complete their trip," said Jeff Seward, HART Chief Financial Officer. "With the additions of Coast Bike Share, RedCoach, to compliment the Megabus.com partnership, MTC has now become a busy inter-modal hub for Bus Rapid Transit in Tampa and a catalyst for travel throughout the state of Florida."

Coast Bikes can be reserved on Coast's mobile app, online at app.socialbicycles.com, or at the bike using its keypad. Coast to your destination and lock it to any hub or public bike rack. It's that easy!

Purchasing a monthly or annual membership to this program would provide a convenient, healthy transit alternative to run errands, make it to class on time, or simply sight-see. On a larger scale, the availability of public bikes would offset the costs of car pollution, parking lot use, add convenience to multi-modal travel, and strengthen the local culture of health and environmental sustainability.
  
This partnership is just one more example of how HART staff is focused on attracting new ridership, fueling revenues, and enhancing service through strategic innovation. The HART inter-modal approach strives to connect various modes of transportation such as walking, bicycling, and using the TECO Line Streetcar System, Park-n-Ride facilities, and paratransit system.  

HART Ridership Continues Record Trend


62 consecutive months of over a 1 million trips on HART!
The numbers are in, and HART had a big month for ridership in April, including another month of more than a million trips on HART bus service. The increase continues to be evident in our daily ridership; April 14 saw the greatest daily ridership throughout the month with 53,103 bus trips.

A total of 1,255,932 trips were taken last month, which marks the 62nd consecutive month of serving more than 1 million bus rides; February 2010 was the last month with under 1 million rides. This continues a strong upward ridership trend for HART, with a fifth straight year of record ridership. We've set annual ridership records in 10 of the past 11 years.

"We are extremely pleased that more people are taking advantage of the affordable cost and convenience of our service," said HART Chief Executive Officer Katharine Eagan. "We look forward to these new customers becoming regular riders as they continue to discover all the great benefits of taking transit."
 
Fast facts: 


Last month, April 14 saw the highest daily ridership throughout the month with 53,103 bus trips.

11 days exceeded 50,000 riders

The TECO Line Streetcar System saw an increase of two percent for April and is up four percent for FY2015.

For the month of April, HART logged 20,752 bicycle boardings; an increase of 2.6 percent compared to last year.

HARTFlex ridership was up 3.1 percent from April 2014 and up 6.3 percent for the year.

Year-to-date (FY2014 vs. FY2015), bus ridership is up 2.6 percent; an increase of 230,681 trips compared to the same period last year. Recent statistics from the American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) Transit Savings Report indicate that the average annual savings for public transit riders was $9,394. Individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can also save, on average, more than $783 a month.

These savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the cost of owning and driving a vehicle, which in this APTA Transit Saving Report includes the April 27, 2015 average national gas price ($2.54 per gallon- reported by AAA), and the national unreserved monthly parking rate numbers.

HART is hiring new Bus Operators, Fleet Mechanic, Finance Assistant TVM, and many other great job opportunities. If you are interested please visit: http://agency.governmentjobs.com/gohart/default.cfm.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Summer is in Session: The HART Summer Blast Pass is Back!

The HART Summer Blast Pass is back!
It's time to blast into summer with the HART Summer Blast Pass! For just $30, students 18 and under get 3 months of unlimited rides on HART services.

T
hat's less than $1.90 a week! 

The Summer Blast Pass is the perfect way for to get to summer jobs, the movies, the mall and all of your child's favorite places.

The pass is now on sale, and may be used on any HART service, excluding HARTPlus and The TECO Line Streetcar System from May 11 - Aug. 31. Riders 12 and younger must have an adult traveling with them. Proof of age is required at the time of purchase.


Summer Blast Passes are available for purchase at any of the following four HART locations:
  • Downtown Tampa: HART at City Hall, 306 E. Jackson St.
  • Downtown Tampa: Marion Transit Center, 1211 N. Marion St.
  • University Area: University Area Transit Center, 13110 N. 27th St. 
  • Ybor City: HART Administrative Offices, 1201 E. 7th Ave.
The HART Summer Blast Pass provides kids with a way to be green, learn independence and save money. The purpose of the program is to familiarize youth to consider transit as alternative transportation, and it allows them to travel safely and independently throughout Hillsborough County. 

View HART Summer Blast Pass flyer in English and Spanish (.PDF)


For more information about HART, visit www.goHART.org 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

HART Seeks Grants for Regional Fare Initiative



Smartcards such at the Orca card allow Tap N' Go verification!
Imagine grabbing a HART or PSTA bus and paying with the same fare media that you just used to ride MCAT and Polk Transit. Later, you head to Pasco County and use the same fare media to ride the bus there. Moving to such a system is in the works in the Tampa Bay area.
HART is leading the push to secure important federal and state funds for the completion of a long-awaited regional fare collection system upgrade that will benefit a regional connectivity in the Tampa Bay region.

HART has applied for two separate grants that would provide more than $20 million to fund the Regional Revenue Collection and Inter-Jurisdictional Mobility Project.

The initiative, led by HART, represents a collaborative partnership between Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, and Sarasota counties. Once it is finalized, patrons will be able to travel across the entire multi-county Tampa Bay region using one single ticket in the form of a smart card that can also be instantly downloaded wirelessly to carry on mobile devices.

The Regional Working Group has spent more than two years planning and strategizing to ensure a smooth and timely transition to the high-tech system. The upgrade will allow transit passengers, including those with disabilities and the elderly, easy access to transportation throughout a multi-county region.

"This is a transformational moment for regional cooperation in the Tampa Bay area," said HART Chief Financial Officer Jeff Seward. "The benefits of a more connected fare collection system would be evident from the start from a regional standpoint, and would also help others upgrade their systems so that we all can be compatible. Eventually the customer that's out there would be able to use a smart card technology that would work seamlessly across all systems."

Customers will be able to check their smartcard balances at any time and buy or reload the cards at multiple, convenient card outlets or even online. Because the cards can be scanned instantly on transit vehicles with a digital fare reading device on board, the process of boarding will be accelerated for increased efficiency with a more accurate system that saves HART and its customer's time and effort.

Although $2,367,907 million of funding has been received to-date from a combination of State and TBARTA grants, there remains a shortfall of $10,232,093 based on full smartcard technology implementation at an estimated cost of $12,600,000 for hardware, infrastructure, and integration

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

EVERY day is Earth Day at HART!

Earth Month, Earth Day, Earth Week, Earth Hour... days, weeks and hours devoted to Mother Earth. What's it really mean when Earth Month shares April with Cranberries and Gooseberries Month, Straw Hat Month and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Month? Designations that are great company... if you're a gooseberry growing, straw hat wearing, IBS sufferer.

The point is that while it is great that society has taken the time to designate a day in celebration of the Earth, we ask if that's enough? Is one hour, day, week, month or even year good enough to celebrate and create awareness for the protection of the environment?

At HART, EVERY day is Earth Day. We live it, we breathe it, we love it and we're not alone. Environmentalism and public transportation go way back as transit by nature (no pun intended) is green.

One bus can take up 50 cars off the road!
It's easy to see why! Did you know that just one 40-foot bus can take up to 50 gas-guzzling, carbon emissions-spewing cars off the road? How about that a two-car household can reduce their carbon emissions by 4800 pounds or 10% annually, just by switching their commute to public transportation?

Do you love heavy doses of carbon dioxide? Neither does the environment. Carbon dioxide contributes to smog in cities as well as some scientists believing that it contributes to the gradual warming of the Earth. Luckily, public transportation saves 37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. That number is equivalent to emissions resulting from electricity generated for ALL of the households in D.C., New York City, Atlanta, Denver and Los Angeles... combined.

Looking to reduce your carbon footprint?

The great thing is that there are fairly easy ways to reduce your footprint. Check out this Carbon Savings Calculator to see how much you can reduce your carbon footprint by switching part or all your travel to public transportation.
65% of shelters have solar panels

HART Green Initiatives

At HART, we not only help others go green, but we like to practice what we preach. Over the years, HART has focused on being more environmentally responsible with a number of green initiatives, including transitioning our fleet to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), solar panels on shelters, recyclable vehicle wash systems and a LEED-certified renovation of our Operations and Maintenance facility. You can visit the HART of Green section of the HART website for more details on HART green initiatives.

Want to do your part?

Businesses:

If you're looking to do your part as a business owner, Best Workplaces for Commuters has a top 10 list of ways to help green your employees' commute. You can check out the list here.

Individuals:

HART is a great way to start doing your part. Not only are you saving the environment, you're also saving money (up to $10,000 a year), reducing congestion and relieving stress.

If you're already riding HART, the next best thing to do is share how easy HART is with a friend. Go green and save some green too!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Extended Streetcar Hours During Lightning Playoff Push!

Be the Thunder! Extended streetcar service during playoff push.
HART is ALL IN for the Tampa Bay Lightning's Stanley Cup run! The TECO Line Streetcar System is extending regular streetcar service hours for all Tampa Bay Lightning home playoff games. Streetcar service will operate until 30 minutes following the end of all weekday games (Friday/Saturday service already ends at 1:30 a.m.).

With over 20,000+ fans converging on the Amalie Arena, the TECO Line Streetcar offers a low cost and convenient way to avoid all the playoff traffic in downtown.  Park in any of the Ybor City garages and ride the streetcar, which drops off at Amalie Arena!


Not going to the game?  Anyone can take advantage of this later service to get around Downtown Tampa, the Channel District and Ybor City!

TECO Line Streetcar fares and regular service hours can be found at www.TECOlinestreetcar.org.

Tampa Bay Lightning's playoff ticket information and schedule can be found here.

Go BOLTS!

Streetcar service hours during Lightning playoff push:
  • Game 1 - Wednesday, June 3, 2015: 12:00 p.m. - until 1 hour following the end of the game
  • Game 2 - Saturday, June 6, 2015: 11:00 a.m. - until 1:30 a.m.
  • Game 5 (If necessary) - Saturday, June 13, 2015: 11:00 a.m. - until 1:30 a.m.
  • Game 7 (If necessary) - Wednesday, June 17, 2015: 12:00 p.m. - until 1 hour following the end of the game

Monday, April 6, 2015

Touch Tone Phone comes to OneBusAway Tampa!



Two years ago HART launched the revolutionary OneBusAway app that delivers real-time bus arrival information directly to a customer's smart phone, computer, or other Wi-Fi enabled device. Now the system is being further upgraded to include a touch tone feature allowing riders to get real-time information in their preferred way via the app, text or touch tone. 

With the existing SMS text message feature, riders can have OneBusAway information sent directly to their phones by texting HART plus the three or four digit HART bus stop ID number to 41411. If the bus ID number is 4804, for example, the rider would text HART 4804 to 41411. Estimated arrival times for their bus would be sent to them via text within moments.

The new touch tone feature will allow access to OneBusAway from a landline or a basic cell phone that does not have a data plan. That means no data charges or extra fees from phone carriers for texting, and it is an ideal solution for anyone with a visual impairment. Just call 813-452-4OBA (4622).  

As HART Chief Executive Officer Katharine Eagan explains, "This will truly enhance the rider's experience, because they'll have the answers they need right at their fingertips."
   
The GPS-powered system is accessed more than 200,000 times a month to save riders time, effort, and stress while reassuring them of when their bus will arrive.     

Click here to view the OneBusAway Real-Time Arrival Information flier.    

How to get real-time bus arrival information by phone:
  1. Call 813-452-4OBA (4622) and listen for the options.
  2. To enter a stop number, please press 1 then you will be asked to enter the bus stop ID number, followed by the pound sign.
  3. A voice will state the route number, destination information, and the predicted arrival time at that stop.
The caller can get help locating their stop number, save or bookmark their favorite or most frequently used stops, check their most recent stops, or search for a stop by route number. Or they can simply press "0" to receive help.

Real-time bus arrival information via touch tone is the latest in a long list of innovative, customer-centered technologies HART offers through a commitment to superior customer service.