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HART is considering several changes to bus routes and on-demand service to save money

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Hillsborough Area Regional Transit
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If approved by the full HART Board, the changes would be full implemented by May of this year.

The authority is looking to expand HARTFlex, a door-to-door bus service for certain areas within a certain range of a stop.

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transportation Authority - or HART - is proposing a number of changes to bus routes across the county, including the potential expansion of the authority's door-to-door service.

In its latest version, the plan would alter the routes of nearly 20 bus lines, including increasing or decreasing stops and changing or combining routes.

The authority also may expand HART Flex, a door-to-door bus service for certain areas.

HARTFlex's only has one line now, in the South County. The change would open lines along Fletcher Ave, in the Port Tampa area, and an Uptown Circulator going through part of the University of South Florida.

HART's Chief Delivery Officer Omar Alvarado says his team would notify the community if the changes are finalized.

"We'll have people out there with fliers. We'll have people out there with tablets and talking to customers,” Alvarado said. “They can set up a month of [HARTFlex] trips all at once if they want, so we'll make it as easy as possible."

Alvarado says expanding the HARTFlex program, rather than having fixed bus lines in those areas, would help save the authority money.

“You're looking at saving $154,000, providing better service, increasing our coverage, and making it easier for passengers to get the service they need in the zones that are in low ridership areas,” he said.

The route changes and HARTFlex expansions could save the authority $450,000 this year and over $1 million every year after that. Officials say that is important because the authority is staring down a fiscal cliff with spending outpacing revenues as soon as next year.

If approved by the full HART Board, the changes would be in place by May.

The following is a list of the proposed line and schedule changes:

  • Route 1 (Florida Avenue) – decreasing the frequency of buses from every 15 minutes to every 30 minutes, between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., and from every 30 minutes to one per hour between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Route 5 (40th Street) – changing the southern portion of the route to follow 7th Ave. instead of Palm Ave., and increasing bus frequency from one per hour to every 30 minutes between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Route 6 (56th Street) – decreasing frequency of buses from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., and decreasing bus frequency between 6 p.m. and midnight
  • Route 7 (West Tampa) – Ending the route at the West Tampa Transfer Center after looping around the Hillsborough Community College Dale Mabry Campus
  • Merging Routes 10 and 11 (Cypress Street) – adding new connections to Armature Works, International Plaza, and Westshore, while eliminating stops to Tampa International Airport (which will be serviced by Routes 30 and 32)
  • Route 12 (22nd Street) – Decreasing bus frequency from every 30 minutes to one bus per hour between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., and between 9 p.m. and midnight
  • Route 14 (Armenia/Howard) – Rerouting via Swann Avenue to MacDill Avenue
  • Route 16 (Waters Avenue) - Decreasing bus frequency from every 30 minutes to one bus per hour between 4 a.m. and 6 p.m., and between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.
  • Route 17 (Manhattan Avenue) – Bus route is swapped out for a HARTFlex on-demand zone
  • Route 19 (South Tampa) – Increasing bus frequency from one bus per hour to every 30 minutes between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., and between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Route 32 (Martin Luther King Boulevard) – Increasing bus frequency from one bus per hour to every 30 minutes between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.; adding a connection to the West Tampa Transfer Center, and using Himes Avenue instead of Dale Mabry Highway.
  • Route 33 (Fletcher Avenue/Northdale) – An expansion of the route via HARTFlex services, into the Hidden River area
  • Route 34 (Hillsborough Avenue) – Decreasing bus frequency from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., and from every 30 minutes to one bus per hour between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Route 39 (Busch Boulevard) - Decreasing bus frequency from every 30 minutes to every hour between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., and between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.
  • Route 42 (University Area Connector) - Decreasing bus frequency from every 30 minutes to every hour between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m, and between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.
  • Route 45 (University Area/Westshore) – Adding a connection to the West Tampa Transfer Center and taking Himes Avenue instead of Dale Mabry Highway; decreasing bus frequency from every 30 minutes to every hour between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., and between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.
  • Route 360LX (Brandon/South Tampa) – A minor deviation to connect with Brandon Mall transit services and prevent safety hazards
  • Route 400 (Nebraska MetroRapid) – Decreasing bus frequency from every 15 minutes to every 30 minutes between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • HartFlex South County – adding an on-demand stop at the Publix on US 41
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