HART debuts new clean-fuel buses
At its March 2nd Board of Directors meeting, HART debuted nine brand new clean-burning, energy efficient Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered buses. Thirteen additional CNG buses are being built and will be delivered in the next couple of weeks. The nine new buses are part of an order of 22 new compressed natural gas (CNG) heavy-duty, low floor buses. HART will begin placing the new buses into service over the next week, replacing aging diesel buses that are ready to be retired. The full fleet conversion from diesel to CNG is scheduled for completion in 2025, and is supported by federal grants for metropolitan transportation, prioritized by the MPO.
CNG buses are a timely investment, thanks to historically low fuel prices and unprecedented domestic production of natural gas. The new additions to the fleet will immediately start to maximize savings. In fact, it is expected that the cost of their purchase will be fully recovered within the first few years of operation.
HART adding free Wi-Fi to buses
HART passengers will soon be able to get on board and get connected to the internet at no additional charge. At its March 2nd meeting, the HART Board authorized nearly $500,000 to retrofit all of its fixed-routed buses with Wi-Fi. This will be part of the preparation for a new regional fare box and smart card system.
HART is leading a regional revenue collection and inter-jurisdictional mobility project across Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, and Sarasota counties. When complete, patrons will travel across the Tampa Bay region seamlessly using one fare media, available on smart cards and downloaded to mobile devices. “There will be enough bandwidth left over to provide customers with free Wi-Fi service during rides,” said HART CEO Katharine Eagan.
Read more in the Tampa Tribune.
HART earns top security honors
HART has earned top honors from the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for its outstanding security program. The prestigious “Gold Standard” designation is bestowed on those agencies that show outstanding dedication and accomplishment by building robust security as measured by the stringent Baseline Assessments for Security Enhancement (BASE). “It is an honor to be included in this prestigious list,” said HART CEO Katharine Eagan. “It’s a real testament not only to the hard work of our safety staff, but also to the 650 professional operators, maintainers, servicers, technicians, supervisors, and dispatchers who make safety and security their priority every day.”
Conducted every three years, the BASE review examines written processes as well as security procedures that agencies have put into practice to help keep employees, customers, and facilities safe from terrorist attacks. HART was honored with the Gold Standard Award in 2011, scoring 98%. During the most recent evaluation in 2014 HART raised that score to 99%. The HART Safety and Security Department work closely with Hillsborough County Emergency Management in case of a hurricane or other local emergencies, and they coordinate drills and activities with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Tampa Police Department, Tampa Fire and Rescue, and other agencies.
FREE rides in March for middle & high school students
Throughout the month of March, middle and high school students with student ID ride FREE all on all HART Local, Limited Express, In-Town Trolley, and HARTFlex routes. Parents, you can relax and let HART do the driving! View the flyer.
For further information on any HART news, contact Sandra Morrison, HART Public Information Officer, 813.384.6610.