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. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.