A Ride on Route 41

When I first arrived in Tampa back in March, one of the goals I gave myself was to see just how much of the HART system I could cover. Having been here for almost 4 months now (quite a few weeks more than I’d originally intended), I’ve been able to ride on just about every single route in the local system and a few express routes as well. Having only two local routes left to ride and finding myself with enough free time on my hands (in part thanks to Tropical Storm Debbie), I decided to check another route off my list today: Route 41.

Route 41 (Sligh Ave) is one of the less-popular routes in the system, but still maintains it’s status as a key piece of the puzzle in the system. Running on a 60-min headway Monday-Friday, the route is anchored on both ends by major transit centers, West Tampa and NetP@rk. Along the way, it serves several key destinations, including but not limited to St. Joseph’s Hospital, Lowry Park Zoo,  and King HS and Tampa Bay Tech HS. Most of the area served the route is single-family housing, and does see very low density levels in several areas. On the eastern end of the route on Harney Rd, the route provides employment access to many warehouse facilities and other various industrial-related businesses.

On my ride on Route 41, I boarded the bus at NetP@rk TC and rode the 3:05PM westbound trip. Along the way, I took notes about where people were boarding/disembarking, as well as other small details.

  • The trip was driven by Operator #1207 aboard Unit #1025. Normally this route is operated by a 29′ unit, so it was unusual to see a 40′ unit dispatched out on this route.
  • At the beginning of the trip, I was the only passenger.
  • Finally saw other passengers, a young couple, board at the stop east of the intersection of Sligh/56th.
  • At the same stop, we sat for about two minutes and then rolled on to the next stop. HART maintains a policy that drivers must hold at time points until the published time, or face possible disciplinary action.
  • At that next stop, on the west side of the same intersection, two more individuals boarded the bus.
  • After passing through the “L Intersection” at Sligh/43rd, one passenger from the west Sligh/56th stop disembarked.
  • A little further down 43rd, at the corner of Diana, an elderly passenger boarded.
  • At Hanna/30th, another passenger boarded. This stop recently had an ADA ramp added, something that HART has been working on for several months now.
  • Timepoint D, the stop at Sligh/Rowlett Park Dr, was where we saw the next passenger activity. One person boarded, while the elderly passenger disembarked. Heading north on Rowlett Park Dr was Route 12, which when we pulled up to the stop on the east side of the intersection had been at a sheltered stop on the north side of the intersection. The elderly passenger tried hurrying to catch the 12, but the driver of that bus clearly didn’t see him, and left the passenger behind shaking his umbrella in frustration.
  • Just past 22nd, we met the other 41 heading towards NetP@rk. That driver had a 29′ unit, which as mentioned earlier is the typical dispatch for this route.
  • At the corner of Nebraska, one passenger disembarked. Though I wasn’t able to confirm it, it appeared that she was heading directly for the stop on Nebraska to connect with Route 2, HART’s most popular route.
  • Not until after passing Lowry Park Zoo did we did passenger activity again. At the corner of Willow, the male from the couple that boarded earlier disembarked.
  • Shortly after the previous stop, the female from the couple disembarked at the corner of Armenia. At the same stop, a mother and her child boarded the bus.
  • Having never been on the 41 before today, I always wondered why it ran on Habana, which is only a few blocks west of Armenia. Though we didn’t see any passenger activity until near the end of the 41’s segment on Habana, the road had plenty of car traffic on it. I don’t know what the major draw onto the road was (a major destination, traffic bypass, etc), but I think the case can be made to keep the 41 on Habana should the issue ever come up.
  • At the stop in front of St. Joseph’s Hospital Behavioral Health Center, one passenger boarded the bus.
  • At the second to last stop on Habana, near the St. Joseph’s Hospital campus, two women (presumably employees) boarded.
  • While there was no passenger activity on Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, we did pass up a guy sitting on a bench at a stop in front of Tampa Bay Park (business complex) after he waved off the driver. I can’t figure out why the guy did that, as all routes serving the stop he was sitting at go directly to West Tampa TC.
  • At West Tampa TC, every passenger except one made an immediate transfer to buses that were already there.

Like I said at the beginning of my post, the 41 fills a key piece of the puzzle in HART’s system of bus routes. Having now rode the route, I still stick to that belief. Apart from one small detail, I can’t find anything that I think needs to be changed. The bus is scheduled to depart both West Tampa and NetP@rk TC’s at 5mins past the hour. I really think it would be easier if the schedule was rolled back to depart the TC’s on the hour exactly.

As always, comments/thoughts are always welcome. Leave one below, or send me a tweet to @ziggzagzac.

(For those curious, the only local route I have left to ride is Route 31. If you take a look at the system map, you can see just how much of an adventure that’ll be.)


7 Comments on “A Ride on Route 41”

  1. Neat post regarding Route 41! :D

    The reason why Route 41 runs along Habana Ave was due to ultra low ridership on Sligh west of Dale Mabry. Originally, Route 41 ran along the same route as it does now. But in the early 2000s, it was extended towards a bus depot on Hanley Rd in Town-N-Country in order to try and spur ridership along the western corridor of Sligh Ave. However, ridership never really built up and the route was truncated back to its current routing in 2007, replacing Route 44, which once ran along Habana.

    • Zachary says:

      When you mention the bus depot on Hanley Rd, I assume you’re referring to the old transfer point at Hanley/Waters Plaza? I can see why they tried that extension though. It’s the same lack of ridership that brought the 7’s “long trip” down to 60-min headways it seems, even though on paper that should be a high-demand neighborhood.

      • That is correct, Hanley/Waters Plaza. It was a very basic bus depot with no restrooms or anything. And yes, the Route 7 has also suffered from declining ridership on its northern end. The route was reconfigured in 2007.

  2. Jason says:

    Do you think maybe the low ridership can be attributed to the fact that it has 60 minute headways?

    • Zachary says:

      It’s the chicken and the egg really. Do I think ridership would increase if the route ran on a 30-min headway? Yes, but not by much. Do I think that the 41 is a crucial enough route to warrant a 30-min headway (or even some weekend service)? No.

  3. […] my journey to/from an open house in Brandon for a fare increase and service change, along with a ride-along report from Route 41 and a day trip to Pinellas County via PSTA. After moving back to the Pacific Northwest, I continued […]

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