HART is proud to report that the MetroRapid North-South bus service has proven to be a success. The service commenced full operations on June 10 after two weeks of free rides from May 28 to June 10. Less than 90 days from its launch and the area’s first rapid transit bus line is exceeding ridership expectations.
During its first 4 days of service, total ridership for MetroRapid was 4,336 – more than anticipated. That was just the beginning; ridership has nearly doubled – averaging 1,929 daily riders in June – with the numbers still growing.To date, more than 38,585 people have travelled on MetroRapid North-South. HART anticipates a surge of additional riders in August, as students resume their full schedules at Hillsborough County Schools and the University of South Florida.
MetroRapid North-South operates weekdays, with 15-minute frequency service runs north on Nebraska Avenue from downtown Tampa, then east along Fletcher Avenue to the vicinity of Telecom Park – which is west of I-75 at Hidden River Regional Park-n-Ride.
Fueling ridership is HART’s 16 new Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) at major connection points along the corridor. Patrons can quickly and conveniently buy tickets in advance, speeding up the boarding process. TVM locations include Marion Transit Center (MTC), Yukon Transfer Center, University Area Transit Center, and the Hidden River Park and Ride facility.
Construction is complete on 60 stations at 59 locations along the MetroRapid route, including a site north of MTC that has four bus bays and an island platform with two shelter stations.
The adjacent Intermodal site, funded by Hillsborough County and the Florida Department of Transportation, offers extra bicycle storage, a pick-up and drop-off area for taxis, paratransit vehicles, and private vehicles; staff and visitor parking, and additional landscape enhancements.
Construction of a canopy to connect MTC to the Intermodal site is planned for early 2014. The Intermodal site has already spurred development in the area such as the Metro510 project, development of Madison Heights Apartments, and the opening of a new sandwich shop.
“This type of success and ridership gain is a continued testimony to the value that HART brings to Hillsborough County,” remarked HART Chief Executive Officer Philip Hale. “We hear all the time that people want more transit service and this is being demonstrated by more people taking advantage of the affordable cost and convenience of our service.”
Residents and businesses along the corridor also praise the landscape beautification initiatives that were an integral part of the MetroRapid infrastructure, calling them “a great asset in terms of aesthetics.”