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.
(Note to my readers: The last time I had a new post here, which was way too long ago, I was living in the Tri-Cities WA and talking mostly about Ben Franklin Transit [BFT]. Since then, I’ve moved to the complete opposite end of the country, and now reside in Tampa FL, home to Hillsborough Area Regional Transit [commonly referred to as HART]. I’ve been promising for a while that I would have several new posts ready asap, but that’s still on the back burner right now. In the mean time, I thought I would just go ahead and jump right ahead into talking about transit here in my new locale. I hope you enjoy, and once again I thank you for continuing to read TransitZac.)
Tuesday night, June 12th, I went out to Brandon to attend the first of several open houses HART is hosting before a public hearing and an official decision from the board on the November service and fare changes. As it was my first time attending an official HART meeting, I was a little apprehensive, but nonetheless excited and intrigued. Since I reside in downtown Tampa, just getting to the meeting itself was half the journey. Below is a bit about the different routes I used to get to/from the meeting, and everything that happened at the meeting itself.
A few years ago, I was planning a trip to visit my hometown of Whitehorse, Yukon. In an effort to see how frugal I could be, I started exploring any and every option I could find to get me from the Tri-Cities to Vancouver BC. Along the way, I learned about the Airporter Shuttle and how to use transit to get from Seattle to Vancouver BC. It was also around this time when I learned about a website called Epic Transit Journeys. Just as it sounds, an Epic Transit Journey is where you see just how far you can get using only public transportation. (Check the “Epic Transit Journey” category on the right panel to see my posts on past trips.)
The one thing that I always felt was missing from the ETJ website is a map. Without a visual aid to refer to, someone unfamiliar with Washington State who looks at a schedule for Astoria to Longview won’t be able to make sense of it. Since there is quite a few schedules covering just about every inch of the state, I figured it would just be easier to have one full map showing all the different routes one could take between cities using transit.
Last night on Twitter, I posted a couple off-handed tweets noting how I had previously taken photos of a Sound Transit bus when it was still owned by them that is now owned by BFT, and I could do a before/after comparison with those photos now. In response to those tweets, a Twitter conversation between myself, @transitdude, @oranv, @danielmwarwick, and @safesler came to end up as a plethora of good ol’ “transit humour.” There’s was a lot of good material from the whole conversation, but I wanted to highlight some of those tweets below.
Take one abandoned ex-BFT GM “Fishbowl” and add one local girl who’s into fashion and photography, and what do you get?
A photo shoot!
As I’ve mentioned a couple of times before, BFT operated with GM Fishbowls in the early days when they were first starting operations. As they grew older and bigger, they eventually started getting rid of the Fishbowls and moved on to bigger and better things (the Gillig Phantoms purchased in 1988, which were the first brand new buses they’d owned). I don’t know what happened to all of the old BFT Fishbowls. Presumably, some ended up as scrap metal. However, at least one still survives to this date.
I’m not even going to explain this video. I’ll just say this: Watch it, and you’ll laugh. Guaranteed.
(If you’re new to the blog, I recommend reading my post on the last Epic Transit Journey I took.)
Earlier this week, I shared the news about a brand new bus route linking the cities of Yakima and Ellensburg (click the link to see the schedule and map at the end of the post). Since its way more fun to actually ride the bus and see it in person instead of just writing about it, I decided I would go ride it. But to make it more interesting, I decided that I would ride the bus to the bus. (Get it?) The following is a recap of everything that happened, along some photos I took along the way.