Category Archives: Record Ridership

Pirates and Football and Transit Oh My!

January Roundup 3

The month of January always brings forth two major events, one of which is specific to the Tampa Bay Area. The first event, coming up tomorrow – Saturday, January 25, 2013, is the Gasparilla Pirate Fest! This parade features a cast of swashbuckling characters who throw beads off vehicular floats. Hundreds of revelers flock to Tampa’s Bayshore Blvd each year to take part in the festivities! The Gasparilla parade goes all the way back to 1904!

The second event that I want to highlight is Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be  held Sunday, February 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. This annual sporting event brings thousands of spectators together, whether at the stadium, at sports bars, or even at home! What’s different about this year’s Super Bowl, is that the states of New York and New Jersey are sharing hosting duties, which means a HUGE collaboration when it comes to transit, and getting fans around quickly. I’ll highlight in a moment about what is being done to make this year’s Super Bowl a hassle-free one on the roads and tracks.

2014 Gasparilla Pirate Fest

Let me first go through as to what to expect for Gasparilla tomorrow. You can expect tons of road closures in around Bayshore Blvd, as well as parts of Downtown Tampa. This means that you’ll have to access Downtown from the northwest (via Cass St) if you’re travelling from South Tampa. The entire stretch of Bayshore Blvd will be closed beginning this evening at 10:00pm in order to ensure that final preparations for tomorrow’s parade are able to take place. The Platt and Brorien St bridges will close during the overnight hours, along with numerous other streets in the surrounding area. Davis Island access will be maintained throughout the day Saturday, but the on/off-ramps to/from Bayshore will be closed.

Let me stress one thing; if you don’t need to be in Downtown Tampa on Saturday the 25th, then please don’t go to Downtown!

Once the parade ends, floats will disembark in a designated zone in Downtown Tampa, so many Downtown streets will be closed during the day. Additionally, many parking lots will be utilized for Gasparilla parking, which will cause further congestion along Downtown streets. If you do plan to park in Downtown, Hyde Park, or any other designated parking lot for the Gasparilla parade, please be sure to bring cash for parking fees. Also, please be aware that the City of Tampa prohibits parking on some streets.

For a full listing of street closures during the Gasparilla parade, click here.

Avoid Parking Hassles! Use HART!

Select HART bus routes and the TECOline Streetcar Line will operate on a modified schedule on Saturday, and some bus routes will be detoured due to road closures. I’ll go through a brief rundown of what to expect if you’re using transit to get to and from the parade. For detailed information, please visit the HART website.

Routes 7, 8, 14, 19, & 30 will be detoured! Please plan your trip accordingly!

  • Routes 7 & 14 will detour via Palm Ave and WILL NOT SERVE CASS ST.
  • Route 8 will be detoured via Nuccio Pkwy & Cass St. The normal route through Channelside and southern Downtown WILL NOT BE SERVED.
  • Routes 19 & 30 will be detoured via I-275. The Platt/Cleveland/Brorien/Davis Island segments of Route 19 & the Kennedy Blvd segment east of Armenia/Howard WILL NOT BE SERVED.
    • Please make alternate arrangements if you are needing to get to/from Tampa General Hospital. I HAVE NOT HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT ANY SPECIAL SHUTTLE SERVICES BEING PROVIDED TO/FROM TAMPA GENERAL. SO I HAVE TO ASSUME THAT THERE WILL BE NO SUCH SHUTTLE ARRANGEMENTS THIS YEAR.
  • The TECOline Streetcar will run a modified schedule and will only serve selected stations during selected times of the day. However, the Dick Greco Plaza, Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union, and Centennial Park stations will be served all day. The Whiting station will be CLOSED all day.
  • Feeder bus shuttles will pick up passengers at Dick Greco Plaza, Cumberland Ave, Cadrecha Plaza, and Streetcar Society stations to help get customers between various parking venues and the parade route.
  • The In-Town Trolleybus will offer service from Dick Greco Plaza to the Marion Transit Center to allow for speedy travel between northern Downtown and the parade route.

For a map describing the above transit services for Gasparilla, click here. For maps describing route detours for Routes 7, 8, 14, 19, & 30, click here. You can also get more information from HART’s recent blog postIf you reside in the Town-N-Country area, you can park your car at the Northwest Transfer Center and use Route 30 to connect to the Gasparilla festivities!

NEW TO HART?

If you answered “YES”, I invite you to watch this neat video that HART put together through City of Tampa Television! HART partnered with members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla to show everyone how to use the HART bus system! Remember…safety first! I don’t want to see anyone walk the plank!

Click here to view HART’s FAQ Page!

Super Bowl XLVIII

During the weekend of February 1 & 2, the MTA of New York & New Jersey Transit (aka NJ Transit) will be working together to provide optimal transit services for Super Bowl XLVIII. Both agencies will have modified bus and rail services throughout the weekend, and special feeder bus shuttles to and from MetLife Stadium-bound rail stations will also be available.

In fact, due to security concerns, private vehicles will be prohibited from entering the stadium perimeter during the Super Bowl (unless pre-approved arrangements have been made), so NJTransit’s rail line from Secaucus Junction and pre-arranged hotel buses will be the only allowable modes of transport to and from MetLife Stadium on game day. ONLY CUSTOMERS WITH SUPER BOWL GAME DAY TICKETS WILL BE ALLOWED TO BOARD STADIUM-BOUND TRAINS AT SECAUCUS JUNCTION.

Because of the huge collaboration between NJ Transit and the MTA, a neat transit map has been put together showing connecting surface rail and subway lines throughout the metro area.

For further information about getting around via transit on Super Bowl Weekend, click here.

Tampa Bay Area Transit Ridership for December, 2013 shatters records!

To close out 2013, both HART and PSTA once again saw record-shattering bus ridership! HART saw 1,204,729 rides in December, 2013, a 7% increase over December, 2012. PSTA saw 1,164,858 rides in December, 2013, a 3.2% increase over December, 2012. Both districts have seen modest gains in daily ridership figures as well, with HART’s MetroRapid and PSTA’s Connector services continuing to lead the way! USF’s transit agreement with HART is also playing a major role, with nearly 230,000 students and faculty members using the HART bus system since July, 2013!

Sources: HART, PSTA.

Public Transit Roundup for November 11, 2013

In this week’s transit roundup post, I’ll be highlighting some new ridership records and a new LRT line! It’s going to be an awesome ride, so hang on tight! 🙂

HART_2202

Service Change Alerts

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) has enacted its service changes for Routes 2, 4, 5, 6, 12, 14, 30, 37, 47LX, and 57 today (November 17, 2013). Please visit my blog post to see what the changes are about! For updated schedules, please visit HART’s website at www.goHART.org.

Top Stories for the week of November 11, 2013

HART and PSTA shatter ridership records for October! HRT October ridership also strong!

The drums don’t stop beating for both Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) as they continue to shatter ridership records! Here’s October’s ridership numbers at a glance! Notice how I also included October’s numbers for Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) in the graphic.

HART-PSTA ridership Oct 2013

So let’s break the figures down for HART and PSTA.

  • 1,359,764 passengers rode the HART bus system during the month of October, 2013! An increase of about 1.8% over October, 2012.
    • HART’s MetroRapid service saw 55,010 riders during the month of October, 2013. Average daily ridership is now at 2,392, which is an increase of 4.7% over September, 2013. Overall MetroRapid ridership has increased by 25.8% since the start of revenue service in July, 2013.
  • 1,278,051 passengers rode the PSTA bus system during the month of October, 2013! Just shy of October, 2012’s all-time record.
    • PSTA attributes the slight decrease in ridership to the closure of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium during the month of October due to filming of Dolphin Tale 2.
  • 1,338,871  passengers rode the HRT bus system in Norfolk during the month of October, 2013. Comparison figures are currently unavailable.

Sources: HART, PSTA, HRT. Please note that the overall ridership figures only include fixed bus routes. Paratransit, Rail, and Ferry services are not included in these numbers.

Polk County transit districts provide FREE rides to high school students!

I usually don’t discuss about the public transit districts in Polk County, FL, which comprise of the municipalities of Lakeland, Winter Haven, Mulberry, and several other smaller towns. However, a new pilot program involving public transit is making things just a bit easier for high school students!

This new program, called COLT, and it is designed to get high school students to after school programs. Parents sign permission slips to allow their child to use the program, then Winter Haven Area Transit and the Citrus Connection send buses to various schools throughout the county to pick up students. The buses can transport students to almost every municipality within Polk County.

This program is the first of its kind in the state of Florida, according to Citrus Connection.

Source: Bay News 9.

Virginia Beach to examine three private proposals to extend The Tide LRT to the Oceanfront.

DSCN0364

The city of Virginia Beach voted on 11/12 to further review three private proposals to link the Virginia Beach Oceanfront with a rail connection. Two proposals comprise of extending the existing LRT line and the third comprises of a maglev rail line. That third proposal I’m not too thrilled with because it would require passengers to make an unnecessary transfer.

Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) meanwhile is continuing its own publicly-funded study to lay out options to extend LRT to the Oceanfront. Further findings of their study will be released sometime in early 2014.

Source: Virginian Pilot – 11/13/13.

30 squats for a subway ride? Count me in!

In lieu of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Moscow (Russia) subway system is trying out a unique way of getting passengers onboard, as well as in shape…at the same time! Instead of paying a cash fare, riders are encouraged to step in front of a special machine and perform 30 squats. If the routine is done correctly, the passenger will be provided with a subway ticket. This fun option will be in place throughout the month of November!

Source:  CBS News – 11/8/13.

Paris’ LRT Line 7 opens to passengers!

T7

The city of lights has literally doubled its light rail capacity in the last year!

In fact, Paris’s light rail system grew from having four lines (Lines 1 and 2, the initial Line 3, and Line 4), 41.5 km of track, and 70 stations to six lines (including the Line 3 extension, and new Lines 5 and 7) 82.3 km of track, and 145 stations! And guess what? That’s only a sign of things still to come! Two more LRT lines are under construction (Lines 6 and 8) and several others are being planned.

The newest addition to Paris’ LRT system is Line 7, which opened to passengers on November 16, 2013! It provides for 11.2 km of track, connecting the municipalities of Villejuif (via the Villejuif – Louis Aragon bus and subway station) and Athis-Mons via the Orly Airport. A planned second phase will bring the line to the municipality of Juvisy by 2018/2019, which is home to a major commuter rail station.

I’ll have a complete blog post on the opening of LRT Line 7 and other Parisian transport developments later this month and through December!

Other Transit-Related Headlines

Other finds for the week

  • Good Grief! First Texas, now Florida? Read about how two Florida lawmakers want to increase the max speed limit from 70 to 75. Texas has already increased its max speed limit to 75 on many interstates and even 85 on some roads. Sources: Fox 13 Tampa Bay (FL story), KTRE Ch 9 News, and USA Today (TX stories)

Please help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan

As many of you know, the Philippines (which is my home country) was struck by Typhoon Haiyan (also known in the Philippines as Yolanda) on November 9, 2013. The storm is one of the most powerful and destructive hurricanes on record and is worse than even the destruction of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans in 2005.

On November 13, 2013, I published a special blog post, asking everyone who visits my site to please take a moment to make a donation to one of charities that are assisting with reilef efforts. If you have not done so already, please consider making a donation! Your contribution will make a HUGE difference! Thank you!

Veterans Day 2013

Be sure to read up on my special blog post that is dedicated to all those who have served (and those currently serving) in the US military! I published this post on Veterans Day, November 11, 2013.

PURE AWESOMENESS aboard the US Navy guided missile destroyer, the USS Ramage (DDG61)!  Congrats to LTJG Jamison R. Fiebrandt (whom I know personally) on earning his Surface Warfare Officer pin! Photo Credit: US Navy.

PURE AWESOMENESS aboard the US Navy guided missile destroyer, the USS Ramage (DDG61)!
Congrats to LTJG Jamison R. Fiebrandt (whom I know personally) on earning his Surface Warfare Officer pin! Photo Credit: US Navy.

As always, if you’d like to leave feedback about my transit roundups, please do so via the Contact Page.

Have a great week!

HARTride 2012

Public Transit Roundup for October 9, 2013 (Sample)

In this “test” posting, I will be shaping how my regular “roundup” posts will look like. If you have any ideas, please feel free to drop me a line through my Contact form.

Please know that even though I may be posting insight about stories that deal with the various levels of government, this is NOT a political forum. Please keep in mind that this blog is moderated, so any comments you submit will be checked before they are allowed to be posted. Any comments made that are political in nature will NOT BE APPROVED. Thank you! ~ HARTride 2012

This post has been amended to include PSTA’s FY 2012/2013 ridership numbers.

Top Stories for October 9, 2013

This section will feature the top three to four headlines that I’m following for the specified time period of the post. Along with links to the actual article, I’ll also be providing a brief summary of the article and some insight. I’m still thinking on whether to make these posts daily or weekly.

Hampton Roads Transit suspends two transit studies due to the government shutdown in Washington.

News broke yesterday that two transit studies being conducted by Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) based out of Hampton, VA, were being suspended indefinitely until the government shutdown in Washington D.C. is resolved by Congress. The studies affected by this action include the Tide LRT extension study to Naval Station Norfolk, and HRT’s Origin and Destination survey. The latter study is aimed at improving HRT’s bus network.

Both of these studies are being halted because they depend on federal funding, funds by which may not be available if the congressional impasse is not resolved, or even worse…if the nation defaults. The ongoing LRT extension study for the Virginia Beach area will not be impacted by this decision because environmental studies need to be finished in a reasonable amount of time.

Although this move sounds like a blow to the future of transit in Hampton Roads, it was necessary to suspend both of these studies in order to ensure that the money is actually there to continue them.

Click here to read the full press release from HRT.

The future of the Howard Frankland Bridge may rest with the public, but could funding issues derail transit ambitions?

The Florida Department of Transportation wants to hear from the public as to what they want to see in a new bridge that is slated to replace the aging 1959 northbound span, which is structurally deficient and is nearing the end of its useful life. I posted back on October 3 about two public meetings that would allow for input. Wednesday’s meeting in St. Pete was outnumbered by transit supporters, with only two people coming out against the transit proposal, specifically any plan to put rail into the equation.

After reading the Tampa Bay Times article that was published yesterday, as well as going through comments on local forums, I’ve been thinking to myself that a lot of this project is going to be riding on what funds are available. Current plans for a “basic” bridge would only need state and federal funds. But anything more would require local contributions. In a time where funds are becoming more tight, and political battles are becoming more heated, it is important to know that if not enough funds are available, the only thing that will be built is another four lane bridge with no transit accommodations at all.

If you missed yesterday’s meeting in St. Pete, there’s still a chance for you to provide input tomorrow; Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 5pm at the Tampa Marriott Westshore, 1001 North Westshore Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33607.

News Source:  Howard Frankland replacement plan will accommodate light rail – Tampa Bay Times – 10/8/13.

HART shatters annual ridership records a fourth straight time!

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) has done it again! Their Fiscal Year 2012/2013 (annual) ridership numbers broke records set back in FY 2011/2012, setting a fourth straight year of annual ridership increases!

Here are the numbers at a glance:

  • 14,640,375 customers used the HART system during the course of October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013. That’s a 3% increase over FY 2011/2012! In addition, bus ridership was at an all-time high this past year!
  • For the HART bus system (not including paratransit); here’s the average daily ridership figures:
    • Weekday average ridership up 7.3%

    • Saturday average ridership up 4.2%
    • Sunday average ridership up 7.7%

You can see more numbers and highlights over at HART’s Blogger Blog!

PSTA also shatters annual ridership records!

Ridership on the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) bus system also continues to rise! During the course of October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013, PSTA handled 14,457,035 rides, which was a 3% increase over FY 2011/2012!

Detailed numbers are currently not available, but I will amend this post once they do!

Source: http://www.psta.net/PDF/Ridership%209-2013.pdf

SunRail construction progresses, first locomotive train arrives!

Construction of Orlando, FL’s first commuter rail line, known as SunRail, is progressing very nicely and is on track to open sometime in 2014! Station canopies began going up at some stops during the month of September and all stations have surpassed the 50% completion milestone, with a few stations nearing 100% completion! On September 21, several railcars went on public display during a Radio Disney concert that was held in Winter Park. And on September 30, FDOT posted a photo on its District 5 Twitter Feed, showcasing the line’s first locomotive train car! It sure does look neat! 😀

If you have a moment to visit the SkyScraperCity forums, you can view a few photos of the construction progress, courtesy of Lakelander.

For more information on what SunRail is about, including maps, station locations, fares, etc.; please visit their website!

News Source: SunRail cab cars’ public unveil set for Sept. 21 – Orlando Business Journal – 9/4/13.

All Aboard Florida Intercity Rail plan chugs along!

In addition to SunRail, the All Aboard Florida Intercity Rail project, being facilitated by Florida East Coast Industries, has also reached some major milestones this past month! On October 2, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, which governs Orlando International Airport, granted approval to FECI to have an airport stop, along with a train depot just south of the airport’s property. This move paves the way for the FECI to complete the first phase of this awesome intercity rail service between Orlando and Miami by early 2016!

And if this wasn’t enough good news, Hillsborough County officials are finally beginning to take notice of All Aboard Florida and now want to make sure that the FECI considers the Tampa Bay area as a future stop for the system. While I strongly believe that it is inevitable that Jacksonville will be included on the second phase of the project, there should be a third phase that will be able to whisk trains into Tampa and eventually St. Pete as well!

News sources: All Aboard Florida to have big impact on Orlando – Orlando Business Journal – 10/2/13.

Tampa wants All Aboard Florida rails to run its way – Tampa Tribune – 10/3/13.

Other Transit-Related Headlines

This section will include a list of other transit-related news headlines and finds of the day.

Please let me know what you think? ~ HARTride 2012