HART Improves Service In Tampa, Hillsborough

Getting a ride on public transportation is becoming a bit more convenient thanks to new routes and smaller buses in parts of Hillsborough County.

On July 11, HART introduced three new Flex Zones to Northdale, South Tampa and Town 'N Country neighborhoods. Offering door-to-door service to residents, HARTFlex allows customers to make reservations to be picked up and dropped off at their desired destinations -- as long as Point A and Point B are located within the same Flex Zone.

"The current Flex Zones in South County and Brandon opened in April 2010 and were started as pilot projects," says HART Public Information Officer Marcia Mejia. "Since, HARTFlex has been pretty well-received as residents benefit from the flexibility. It's really a win-win for both HART and the customer."

HARTFlex currently offers two types of services: reservations for door-to-door pick up, as well as walk-up service. For door-to-door service, customers can make a one-trip or round-trip reservation by calling the reservation line at least two hours in advance of being picked up. HART also allows riders to simply walk up to a bus stops marked by a Flex decal to wait for Flex vans to make pick-ups and drop-offs along the Flex route.

"It really is a more efficient way of operating for HART," says Mejia.

Upon system operations, the Northdale Flex recently replaced a segment of Route 36, the Town 'N Country Flex replaced connector Route 88 and the South Tampa Flex replaced Route 89; the current and one of the original Flex Zones, South County, increased from one-half of a mile to three-fourths of a mile.

The Flex service costs 85 cents per trip for all riders, including adults, seniors, youth and people with disabilities. A 1-Day Unlimited Ride farecard is currently being sold on Flex vans for $1.85 while current HART 1-Day and 31-Day Unlimited Ride farecards are accepted for all Flex services.

"HARTFlex is our service fitting the community instead of the community trying to fit within the parameters of our service," says Mejia. "It's very community-based."

For hours of operation, as well as maps of Flex zones, visit the HARTFlex website.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Marcia Mejia, HART

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