By Brad Stager
Changes are coming to the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) bus service throughout its countywide service area and the public is invited to provide input on the proposed route deletions and modifications.
The changes are scheduled to take effect at the beginning of 2021 and some routes in the Bloomingdale and FishHawk areas are being considered for changes.
According to HART, the changes are being planned to better meet the areas’ transportation needs, improve efficiency and preserve funding.
Routes facing changes, such as stop locations and frequency of service, include: 8 Progress Village/Brandon, 24LX FishHawk/South Tampa, 25LX Bloomingdale/South Tampa, 38 Mango, 46 Brandon Blvd., 360LX Brandon/South Tampa.
Routes that would no longer be in service include: 60LX Cross County, 75LX South County Shopper, HARTFlex Brandon, HARTFlex South County.
As for HARTPlus, which connects people with disabilities to the transit system, service would continue within ¾ of a mile of the fixed route bus system, but would no longer be available along parts of Sun City Center Blvd. (former HARTFlex South County) and Kings Ave. (former HARTFlex Brandon).
Service changes and cuts to HART routes in other parts of Hillsborough County are also under consideration.
Virtual town halls and transit center meetings hosted by HART staff members were held in early September and input is now being solicited online, with a public hearing to be held in October and a final vote on the proposed changes anticipated to be held in November.
Carson Chambers is the director of communications for HART. In a video-recorded statement on HART’s website, she said the goal is to ensure optimal service to HART riders.
“HART’s mission is to take people to the places that enhance their lives. As our community’s needs change, we’re always reviewing service to meet those needs.” Chambers also encourages people who use HART to express their opinions on the proposed changes.
An online survey and message portal are available for the public to make comments at hartserviceinput.com, where you can also find details about the proposed changes, including adjusted route maps and recordings of the previously held town halls (in English and Spanish).
HART can also be reached by phone at 254-4278. For service-related information about HART, including current schedules, maps and fares, visit gohart.org.