The Hill Country Transit District (HCTD) has “hopped” onto serving a huge 9,000-square-mile area deep in the heart of central Texas and is affectionately known as the The HOP. Hill Country Transit District is a political subdivision of the State of Texas, and uses the Trademark name The HOP to reflect how easy it can be to just “hop” on a bus and get around the community.
This vast service area consists of nine growing counties that required two urban divisions serving five area cities with fixed route and ADA complementary paratransit service. The HOP regularly coordinates trips for the rural and urban area passengers.
In 2010 The HOP carried 400,000 passengers in its urban divisions, using 12 fixed bus routes. The HOP fixed route buses drive over 500,000 miles annually.
The HOP encourages use of the public transit system by all members of the general public, and encourages various agencies to ensure their clients are aware of transit services. To the maximum extent possible, HCTD, serving as the region’s existing transportation provider, works to meet transportation requirements through the use of the public transit system in several ways.
- The HOP encourages users and agencies to use fixed route service whenever possible.
- The HOP provides an easy means for agencies to purchase tokens, multi-ride tickets, and monthly passes for their clients for use on fixed route service, and offers the sale of fare media to all transit users via mail and through local outlets.
- The HOP provides travel training for agencies and groups, and for individuals.
- Agencies and members of the general public can rely on the HOP as the transportation provider to continue to serve the area, connecting rural and urban service.
In addition to regular fixed route service, the HOP provides ADA complementary paratransit service to people whose disabilities prevent them from using the fixed route service. The HOP also provides transit trips through various service agreements, working within the community to identify unmet transit needs, and to identify ways to meet those needs. The HOP regularly coordinates trips, often carrying passengers with disabilities via its special transit service (STS) to fixed route service (FRS) routes, thereby providing service to persons in rural areas and urban clients in the urbanized areas. HCTD includes among its passengers clients of several social service agencies.
Prior to 2010, through the cooperation and financial support of cities, businesses and other institutions, HCTD participated in the placement of more than 25 shelters in the Killeen Urban Division and seven shelters in the Temple Urban Division. The HOP has worked with schools as well, resulting in the placement of a few passenger benches at fixed route bus stops.
In 2010, The HOP began installation of an additional one hundred passenger shelters throughout the urban areas as part of the New Freedom project. The shelters are installed in each of the five cities included in The HOP’s urban divisions, which are Temple, Belton, Harker Heights, Killeen and Copperas Cove.
More than 120 new shelters have been ordered, and more than a third of those have already been installed. The shelters are painted the same classic green shade the HOP adopted for its color scheme and seen on its bus fleet.
The shelters were designed and manufactured by HANDI-HUT, a Clifton, N.J. manufacturer (www.handi-hut.com), the lowest bidder meeting the stringent specifications. The shelters are a welcome amenity that encourages ridership and makes waiting time comfortable. Schedules are posted in the shelters.
The distinctive green HOP shelters are highly visible, and are a welcoming haven to passengers, especially those seeking a comfortable place to sit and offering some weather protection while they wait for the next ride on The HOP.