community header
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit
October 2010 
Moving Forward in a World of Change
Dr. Steven E. Polzin

Dr. Steven E. Polzin

HART Board Director

When I first arrived in Hillsborough County in 1988, HART (called "HARTline" at the time) was hosting a series of meetings to explore various proposals for improving public transportation.  Having just completed four months of transit planning for the Dulles corridor in Washington, D.C. - preceded by four years in transit planning for Dallas Area Regional Transit and four years with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority - I was anxious to see what this area was planning. Jump ahead 22 years and our transit agency is immersed in what is probably the most extensive outreach effort in its history.  Those prior planning efforts have resulted in a lot of changes but none as significant as what is potentially ahead.   

HART has built a strong foundation of growing ridership and productivity. Against all odds and the current recession, ridership growth and service levels have continued to increase. Staff capabilities have never been better. The community has responded with greater use of the services and our peer agencies throughout the country have acknowledged HART's accomplishments by honoring it with the APTA 2010 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award.   

In spite of these accomplishments Hillsborough County has continued to under-invest in transit service and hence, has remained underserved by public transportation. We also remain a most challenging urban area to serve with public transportation - an area where continued progress will require exceptionally hard work, discipline, community support and time.   

Since just a few years ago, many aspects that are the foundation of longer range planning have shifted dramatically. We were in the heady days of booming suburban population growth, and the steep increases in property values and associated property tax revenues.  High-speed rail was on hold and state and federal transportation programs were on a steady course. We hadn't yet been spooked by the gas price spike in summer 2008 and we were witnessing challenges in controlling costs as labor and material shortages were plentiful. 

Now, federal, state and local revenues are under great pressure.  Future growth and development are less certain. Everything from future fuel prices to land development trends to car technologies are in flux. None of this changes the need for Hillsborough County to have a competitive and effective public transportation system. It does mean that the nature of that system must be flexible and responsive to future changes as we move ahead. While this may add some uncertainty and consternation, it is the prudent strategy to ensure that we use our resources wisely and effectively. What remains a constant is the need for better public transportation and the need for the local community to provide the leadership, financial support, patience and discipline. No one else will improve public transit in Hillsborough County. Our opportunity to address these needs and compete effectively with our peer cities requires local support and requires us to spend each dollar more wisely than our competitors. Support your public transit agency, use its services, share your ideas, and hold HART accountable.

Then, award-winning achievements can continue.  
Steven Polzin, Ph.D., is a HART Board member selected by the Board of County Commissioners. He has served from 1999-2006 and 2008-present. He is on the research faculty at the University of South Florida, and is a recognized national expert in public transportation and transportation policy. 

HART logo
Table of Contents
At the HART of the Community: Transit is Expanding. But How?
HART On The Move: Providing Exceptional Customer Service
To The HART of the Matter: From Scooter to Public Transit Commuter
C a l e n d a r   o f   E v e n t s

10/03 @ Noon: 
Feria de la Familia (Family Fun Fest) @ Tampa Convention Center

10/15 @ 10:30 a.m.: 
2010 APTA Outstanding Public Transportation System Award Ceremony @ Streetcar Barn

10/18 @ 8:30 a.m.:
Regular HART Board Meeting @ County Center

W e ' r e   G o i n g 
Y o u r   W a y

We're Going Your Way

What will it be like 20 years from now if nothing is done about transportation? Are people going to be able to go to work if gas prices were to skyrocket to more than $5 per gallon? Watch We're Going Your Way, a video about the Rapid Transit Investment Plan (RTIP) that HART has developed to meet the future transportation needs of Hillsborough County. The RTIP includes expanded and innovative transit services, such as bus, express, paratransit and flex service, as well as bus rapid transit and light rail.


For more information about the plan, such as financials, FAQs, summary of service updates, and how the RTIP will benefit you, visit 


To request a speaker or presentation, subscribe to our mailing list, or for more information, email or call (813) 223-6831, ext. 1757.



At The HART Of The Community 
HART is Expanding!






HART developed the Rapid Transit Investment Plan (RTIP) to expand its services to meet the transportation needs of the county both today and into the future. The RTIP outlines a specific program of services and capital projects for the next 30 years.


But how, exactly, will the RTIP be implemented?


Don't worry, HART has a PLAN.






A PLAN for the PLAN


The HART Transition Plan is in place today to move the Rapid Transit Investment Plan forward tomorrow. This transition strategy is committed to intergovernmental cooperation, the desires of this community and the needs of HART customers. Key elements of this Transition Plan include operations, construction, financial and other components important to smoothly develop HART's efforts to completely modernize public transportation services. HART vows to provide patrons with better services and minimal disruptions.


Short- and long-term implementation plans will guide HART's transition to increased services, improving paratransit and flex services, implementing bus rapid transit, upgrading the operations and maintenance facility, building a second operations and maintenance facility, and constructing light rail. Some of these projects are already part of the HART Capital Improvement Program. The charts below demonstrate consolidated projects (RTIP projects + Capital Improvement Program projects) over the next few years and, with a potential boost in local funding, key transition tasks over the next six months:





In addition, an overall financial outlook has been developed as part of the Transition Plan, which includes revenue and expense projections.


Marketing is also a key element of the Transition Plan to ensure customer awareness. For example, customer service staff - already handling 22,000 calls each month - will be ready to receive additional questions residents may have. Participation and input from our community, business and government partners will guarantee that projects completed under the RTIP truly make a positive difference in the daily lives of Hillsborough County residents.


As HART transitions into its advanced role as a provider of premiere public transportation services, staff is ready to implement transit services that are sustainable and dependable.



  • 46 miles of light rail
  • 90 miles of Bus Rapid Transit (Metro Rapid)
  • 134 miles of New Local Bus Routes
  • 150 miles of Community Circulators and HART Flex Services
  • More Services on Existing Bus Routes
  • Expanded Paratransit Services
  • Supporting Park-n-Ride Lots
  • Supporting Capital Projects
HART On The Move 
Providing Exceptional Customer Service
to an Exceptional Community
Sylvia Castillo elected to Leadership APTA

Sylvia Castillo,

Director of Paratransit &

Customer Service

The headquarters of HART's paratransit and customer service is located atop the Marion Transit Center (MTC) in downtown Tampa. MTC is one of the main hubs in Hillsborough County for bus transfers and provides fare sales, shelter, route maps, restrooms and other amenities for passengers. 

HARTPlus Paratransit service provides
transportation for those with eligible disabilities. Recently, paratransit has experienced a sharp increase in demand. The economic decline has forced many funding cuts among disability transportation services throughout Hillsborough County, and many of these clients have turned to HART for help. As part of providing exceptional Paratransit service, the Customer Service team helps paratransit passengers schedule their trips and arrange for additional accommodations. HART is also interested in hiring an occupational therapist intern to help interview clients for eligibility.

Customer Service also addresses and monitors customer complaints, and assists passengers with bus route and ticketing information. As part of an upcoming federal grant program, HART will soon expand its customer service program to include Travel Trainer to provide public transportation training and outreach to local, Hispanic communities. Customer Service recognizes the need to reach out more to these communities to better inform them how to comfortably and consistently use public transportation. This grant will help HART develop strong relationships and connect HART with community partners to reach untapped areas. In addition, HART's marketing staff will participate by developing Spanish brochures and other materials to better serve Hispanic passengers.
Customer Service continues to focus its efforts on providing optimal services for HART passengers, and find ways to streamline and improve its performance. HART looks forward to continuing to effectively serve Hillsborough County and its growing, diverse populations.  
To The HART Of The Matter
From Scooter to Public Transit Commuter

Passenger Profile Ron Turner
Ron Turner
  HART Customer
I work for the Social Security Administration, in an office that recently relocated to downtown Tampa.  Prior to riding HART, I was commuting a total of 50 miles from home to work and back, on my Honda Helix scooter.  While I was saving a lot of money using my highly fuel-efficient scooter, versus a car, I was racking up a lot of miles. Plus, the commute into downtown can be very frustrating. 
As it is, I am extremely hypertensive and I really didn't need the added stress of dealing with up to a 2-hour daily commute, traffic and inclement weather. Now, I ride an easy 8 miles to my Park-and-Ride location, and then take the bus the rest of the way into downtown. I read while I ride the bus, which has allowed me to read several books this past year. Plus, I am saving a ton of money because I don't have to pay for as much maintenance on my scooter. I am now driving 7,000 miles less on my scooter, and my bus pass costs what I would spend in downtown parking.  
I have a lot less stress in my life since I let HART do the driving. Plus, the bus drops me off and picks me up closer to my building compared to where I used to park my scooter. I believe in the program so much that I now conduct mass transit briefings during new-employee orientations at my office. As a result, HART ridership in our organization continues to grow. This means fewer cars on the road, less pollution in the air, and a safer commute for our employees. It is a win - win all the way around! We need more public transportation, not less! 

HART is dedicated to providing excellent customer service while building solutions to support Hillsborough County's and into the future
HARTinfo Line: (813) 254-4278
TDD (813) 626-9158
HARTplus: (813) 254-4278

HART's website receives over 7.8 million hits per month! Use our website with ease to plan your bus trips with Google Transit Map Trip Planner. Also, don't forget to visit us at our new Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts for exciting, up-to-date information on HART.

Follow us on Twitter!                     Find us on Facebook!                       Watch us on YouTube
@GoHART              HART's Facebook page        HART's YouTube page
For more information, contact Marcia Mejia at (813) 449-4764 or