The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) MetroRapid North-South (N-S) service turned the wheel on its first 7 months of operation on Dec. 10. The innovative limited stop service has increased ridership, offering customers a more convenient, more flexible ride and has ushered in a new era of public transit choices.
"MetroRapid N-S service has been even more successful than we originally anticipated and has become a valued service to the community," said HART CEO Philip Hale. "In just seven months of operation, we've seen MetroRapid N-S increase 22.7 percent from June to December based on average daily ridership."
The MetroRapid N-S service route, the first of its kind in Hillsborough County, was officially launched on June 10, 2013. This limited stop service features cutting-edge technology including Transit Signal Priority (TSP) system, 16 Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) at major connection points along the corridor. MetroRapid N-S offers faster travel and enhancements for a new rider experience.
The mix of new vehicles, stations and technologies have made MetroRapid the premium way to travel. Transit Ridership on MetroRapid has nearly doubled - averaging 2,288 daily riders in December in just its seventh month of operation. The agency's MetroRapid N-S service has heightened awareness of public transit benefits and opened the door to future plans for additional MetroRapid routes.
On the travel side, customers may experience up to a 15 percent time savings over local service. This time savings can be attributed to the implementation of the high-tech Transit Signal Priority (TSP) system that advances buses throughout the corridor. It works by holding traffic lights green a little longer when a bus is running behind schedule and shortening red lights.
Construction on the northward expansion of the Marion Transit Center is running smoothly. The project includes two new bus shelters, extra bicycle storage, and a pick-up and drop-off area for taxis, paratransit vans and private vehicles. A canopy will be elevated to connect MTC to the new intermodal site which is scheduled to open in April.