HART board considers $2.3 million of bus projects today

Lupe Alonso, 48, left, and Peter Jones, 65, ride on HART Route 30 at the Northwest Transfer Center in Tampa in September as thetransit agency launched a new campaign, Mission MAX, a complete overhaul of the Hillsborough County bus system. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
Lupe Alonso, 48, left, and Peter Jones, 65, ride on HART Route 30 at the Northwest Transfer Center in Tampa in September as thetransit agency launched a new campaign, Mission MAX, a complete overhaul of the Hillsborough County bus system. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published January 8
Updated January 8

TAMPA — New bus services could be coming next month if transit board members today approve a list of $2.3 million worth of bus projects.

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority will discuss the project list during its monthly board meeting starting at 9 a.m. The meeting comes three months after HART rolled out Mission Max, a complete overhaul of the county’s bus system.

After 88 days, complaints in for HART’s reduced bus routes, service

The redesign was supposed to make riding the bus better for about 80 percent of riders, according to HART officials. A threadbare budget — one of the tightest in the country for an agency its size — motivated many of the decisions.

But the result was that HART had to cut 20 percent of the county’s bus routes, changing connections, times and schedules for most of HART’s 43,000 patrons.

While the agency’s initial data shows that many routes benefited from the streamlined system and have seen ridership rise, those eliminated routes coupled with the learning curve of an entire new system resulted in service gaps and rider complaints.

HART officials are looking to the County Commission to pay for $2.3 million worth of fixes in hopes of addressing some of the problems riders have experienced.

Those include increasing the frequency on routes 6, 34, 35, and 56 so they run every 15 or 30 minutes, extending route 19 so it runs to Tampa General Hospital in lieu of riders needing to switch to a shuttle, adding trips on the 24LX which runs to MacDill Air Force Base and adding the 75LX South County Shopper Shuttle on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

HART board members are set to approve that project list today, but are dependent on the approval of the County Commission, which is expected to discuss the plan Wednesday. If both groups approve the list, those route additions can go into effect on Feb. 25.

TAMPA BAY TIMES COVERAGE: HILLSBOROUGH BUS SERVICE

TAMPA BAY TIMES REPORT: Tampa Bay has one of the worst public transit systems in America. Here’s why. (Feb. 16, 2017)

Hillsborough transit agency braces for overhaul of bus network, route cuts (June 6, 2017)

Depend on a HART bus to get around? Life could get harder. (Oct. 6, 2017)

Contact Caitlin Johnston at [email protected] or (727) 893-8779. Follow @cljohnst.

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