HART is fully committed to its progressive Bus Stop Improvement Program, which will make all bus stops ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant; not just for someone in a wheelchair, but anyone with any kind of mobility device. For the past couple of years, a route-by-route assessment has been underway for all of the agency’s approximately 3,200 bus stops and 681 shelters to ensure they comply with these standards. Sites scheduled for improvements are chosen based on ridership activity and demand, proximity to other nearby covered stops, adequate right-of-way, opportunities to sell advertisements, and planned neighborhood improvements.
This improvement program also provides all riders with enhanced passenger amenities such as, bus bays, new sidewalks and shelters to help protect customers from the rain and hot sunshine. This is especially significant since 55.3% of HART riders board at shelters. The new shelters are lit by solar power, saving taxpayer money on electrical costs and making them environmentally friendly. By using solar power the authority’s energy savings will return the cost of investment while enjoying increased safety, less maintenance, and a smaller carbon footprint!
Meanwhile, HART has already tripled the number of covered stops from one shelter for every 15 stops to one shelter for every five stops. The latest installation completed was placement of a bus bay on Fowler Avenue and 53rd Street in the City of Temple Terrace. To match the city’s Mediterranean-style theme it was given a custom Spanish-tiled roof. The installation also includes stand-alone seating to accommodate the high volume of patrons using this stop. Also completed were bus bay projects on the south side of Progress Boulevard east of I-75 at Valley Dale Drive in front of Villages of Bloomingdale Apartments and MLK Jr. Boulevard and Interstate Corporate Center just west of I-4.
The Bus Stop Improvement Program is supported by federal funding, as well as local impact fees. In addition, this program is driven by partnerships. An advertising contract with Signal Outdoor, for instance, helps offset shelter costs. Signal Outdoor pays for shelters and their maintenance, in exchange for shared advertising revenue. HART also engages with private developers, local government, and the Florida Department of Transportation for opportunities to obtain land easements or offset construction cost.