Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

HART's commuter express line can save money

The route:

New Tampa park-and-ride lot to downtown Tampa

HART's route: Route 51x, an express commuter line, heads south on Interstate 75, takes Interstate 4 west and makes several stops downtown.

Miles, estimated travel time: The route travels about 20 miles and is estimated to take 35 minutes to get to the first downtown stop.

Cost: $3 for a one-way ticket or $95 for a 31-day unlimited Express pass. Discounts available.

What I found: Route 51x starts in Wesley Chapel and makes its third and final stop before downtown at the Lowes off of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard at 7:03 a.m.

Several signs pointed me to the park-and-ride area of the lot but I had a difficult time finding the bus stop. I looked around and spotted a group of people dressed in ties and business attire walking toward the side of the building so I followed. The bus route sign is hidden among sheds and pallets.

The bus arrived on time. I climbed aboard, slid $3 into the machine (exact change only) and sat down.

With fewer than a dozen people on board, the atmosphere was friendly. Many of the commuters take the bus every day and have gotten to know each other along the way. I spoke with Shirley Vereen, a senior planning and zoning technician who lives in New Tampa and works at the County Center.

She has been taking the bus for years and listed several reasons: "It saves gas, it saves time, you don't go to work with road rage. You can relax and have less stress," she said.

Traffic congestion just before the Interstate 275 junction slowed us down a bit but we still sailed into the Marion Transit Center at 7:39, just one minute behind schedule.

I took the leisurely half-mile stroll to my office in the Times building on N Ashley Street and was at my desk by 7:50 a.m.

That's 47 minutes start to finish not counting the drive to the Lowes parking lot.

Sure, the commute may have only taken about half the time in my own car, but according to Google Maps' cost calculator, it would have cost nearly four times as much.

Plus, there's that whole road rage thing.

Shelley Rossetter, Times staff writer

For more information on commuter express routes and other HART services, visit

HART's commuter express line can save money 04/27/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 26, 2013 3:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Empire' star Grace Byers keynotes USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy luncheon

    Human Interest


    TAMPA — The first University of South Florida graduate to address the USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy supporters, Grace Gealey Byers, class of 2006, centered her speech on her first name, turning it into a verb to share life lessons.

    Grace Byers, University of South Florida Class of 2006, stars on the Fox television show Empire. She delivered the keynote at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy luncheon Friday. Photo by Amy Scherzer
  2. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other


    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  3. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  4. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  5. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series


    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.