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Old October 14th, 2006, 05:29 AM   #1
FlaNatv
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Tampa Bay Public Transit (County Bus, Light Rail, Streetcar) - CLOSED

After reading an article in The Tribune today about the Transportation Research Center at USF, I started thinking that maybe Tampa should slow down the push for commuter rail service and focus on it's current bus system. The Hartline service currently, is inadequate. I have used it a few times and it is very inconvenient. It took me an hour and a half to go 8 miles. I used two buses during my trip and had to wait 30 mins for the second bus to arrive. I wasn't out in the suburbs either. I was at Hillsborough and Armenia. The pricing is odd too. I'm used to paying a small transfer fee to change buses. However, with Hartline, I had to pay the full fare. (I know if I was using the bus a lot I would getting a monthly pass and wouldn't have that problem.) Until service gets better I don't PLAN on using the bus again.

According to the article many of the reseachers at the Center feel that rail is at best premature for Tampa Bay. There needs to be more concentrated work centers instead of business parks scattered about.

I think also that a culture of transit needs to be created where buses become a more convenient alternative to driving. Buses should be taking cars off the road not just (though it is important) carrying people who don't have cars. More routes and more buses cutting down wait times. Better fare structures are needed as well. People need to get used to transit as a viable option. Maybe in 5-10 years we can implement some regional rail plans(starting with rail between Downtown and TIA). Of course all this takes money, but that is the kind of thing world class cities spend money on.

By the way, I don't know anything about Pinellas bus service. Maybe Pinellas is ready for rails??

Any practical, realist opinions about this topic out there???
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Old October 14th, 2006, 05:49 AM   #2
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Screw the bus. THey will not get concentrated buiness centers without rail.

I will never ride a bus to work every day, but I would take the train, and I know lots of people with the same idea.
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Old October 14th, 2006, 08:31 AM   #3
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I think you'll find that with a rail line acting as a spine for the transportation system, the busses will have a much easier time of it. It shouldn't be one at the expense of the other.
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Old October 14th, 2006, 12:09 PM   #4
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I would love to see Tampa really get on the ball with the rail line. It would be better because you would not A. have to wait in traffic, like you have to with a bus, and B. It would not require multiple transfers, other than maybe transferring passangers from the trains to the busses or office buildings. I would love for Tampa to have a rail system like Miami, or NYC. I know in Florida it is not possible for us to have a subway, btw would be badass, but I know that it can't and won't happen!!
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Old October 14th, 2006, 10:11 PM   #5
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This, on the other hand, is a good idea:
Bus systems to look at merger
Mayor Iorio urges the move as a necessary step before establishing light rail.
By JANET ZINK, Times Staff Writer
Published October 14, 2006

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TAMPA - At the urging of Mayor Pam Iorio, leaders of the Pinellas and Hillsborough county bus systems will look into the possibility of merging the two services.

Iorio met Friday with Ray Miller, director of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, Roger Sweeney, director of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and Deborah Kynes, chairwoman of the PSTA board and a Dunedin city commissioner.

Sweeney and Miller agreed to ask their boards to approve a jointly funded study of how the two bus systems can cooperate on more local services and, at some point, consolidate into one service.

"We're joining hands across the Bay," Kynes said. "Is this exciting? Yes. I'd say it's very exciting for the future of regionalism."

Kynes said she expects to take the proposal to other PSTA board members early next year.

The two bus systems already cooperate on a bicounty express bus service.

"But that doesn't mean there aren't other things we could and should be looking at," said Ray Miller, executive director of HARTline.

And one thing worth looking at is turning the two systems into one, he said.

"You go to any other metropolitan area, you're going to see a regional system," he said. "I can't think of a major metropolitan area that has just one-county service."

Among other things, the study would look at issues of governance, what type of service the region needs, which residential and employment centers to hit, and growth patterns.

The Pinellas system has 43 routes, including two that go to Hillsborough, with a daily ridership of about 35,000 and an operating budget of $48.3-million, according to the agency's Web site.

HARTline has 50 routes and carries about 33,000 passengers per day, with an operating budget of $46.3-million, according to the agency's latest budget proposal.

Last month, Iorio asked local transportation and elected officials to revisit the possibility of a regional rail system. But that could take decades to bring to fruition.

A regional bus system, she has said, could help ease the region's transportation woes in the short-term.

"Mass transit is something we've established as a priority," said Iorio's chief of staff, Darrell Smith. "And the most realistic and near-term opportunity for us is to look at the bus portion of that equation between Hillsborough and Pinellas."

Kynes said that PSTA has talked about regional transit for years. Light rail might be something that will come to the region in the distant future, she said, but rail needs a well-developed bus system support it.

"We were very happy to be able to sit down with the mayor and HARTline and are looking forward to working together," she said. "It's a very, very positive step."

Janet Zink be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or 813 226-3401.

BY THE NUMBERS

HARTline PSTA

Routes 50 43

Daily ridership 33,000 35,000

Operating budget $46.3-million $48.3-million

Sources: HARTline's latest budget proposal, PSTA Web site

[Last modified October 14, 2006, 05:59:42]
http://www.sptimes.com/2006/10/14/Hi...o_look_a.shtml
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Old October 14th, 2006, 11:24 PM   #6
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Well for one they could work on the scheduling. When I did not have a car and I worked in Y-Bor I would have to schedule my events and work around the bus schedule, which by the way is SEVERELY flawed. The service also needs to have later service hours. Like any major city they have busses that run until 4 in the morning. San Diego's bus system runs until 4 in the am and then starts back up at 530. I think that if Tampa is to have a successful transportation system everyone (who have the pull) will have to work together and rectify this before it gets worse.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 03:59 AM   #7
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I think it would be a stupid idea to expand the bus route instead of building a rail system for Tampa. The reason is, more people will use the rail than the bus. I don't think anyone wants to get off a airplane from TIA and then to catch a bus and wait for traffic to get to their destination. Also, Tampa is in need of a rail. We can't rely on ground transportation forever. The roads wil clog up more and that will lead to more traffic.

Same goes for Pinellas. It has a pretty good bus system already set in place, they need something bigger now. Reaching from St.Pete to New Port Richey. Just because then I can use it.

Then, Combine Both!
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Old October 15th, 2006, 10:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smiley View Post
Screw the bus. THey will not get concentrated buiness centers without rail.

I will never ride a bus to work every day, but I would take the train, and I know lots of people with the same idea.
I think the same way.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 05:13 AM   #9
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I hear politicians saying all the time that we need to get our bus system upgraded before we can even think about rail (translation: I don't want to do anything so we'll just keep the status quo and we'll all be screwed down the road and never get any kind of rail).
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Old October 16th, 2006, 06:32 AM   #10
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Tampa needs rail already....don't wait until it becomes a necessity. The lack of planning for mass transit in Florida is mind boggling. We have a state that within a decade will have 20 million people and only one metro in Miami with a halfway decent system. There is no doubt Florida will continue to grow but the question is do we wait until there is enough density to build mass transit?
Mass transit isn't going to solve congested highways but it does provide options to traffic and if we don't push for it our state will suffer economically because of it in the future.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 07:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smiley View Post
Screw the bus. THey will not get concentrated buiness centers without rail.

I will never ride a bus to work every day, but I would take the train, and I know lots of people with the same idea.
Exactly. A rail system around which to focus development will change development patterns. Without rail, most people will continue to drive.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 09:50 PM   #12
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...and most development will continue to sprawl.
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Old October 17th, 2006, 10:34 AM   #13
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That is what bothers me about Florida and a lot of states for that matter. I think that all of the businesses in Westshore that are of great size need to come back to downtown Tampa. I think that all of the businesses are trying to escape traffic and other problems that plague cities, but when enough businesses move to the suburbs or another districts then that makes everything as bad as it is now. I think that this is the reason why Gandy and other roads are clogged the way that they are.
On another subject, I am for rail, I think that we need a station in Brandon, TT, and other larger towns. They should have a central (elevated) station in DT Tampa. They should also have rail lines going to St Pete and other significant areas of Tampa Bay.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 05:16 AM   #14
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Historic streetcars or Modern streetcars?

The historic streetcars look good in Ybor but look a bit out of place in channelside. Something modern would look more progressive and "cool" gliding through downtown. Are new ones planned or will the historic looking streetcars be making stops in front of new modern condos throughout downtown?
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Old January 28th, 2007, 05:20 AM   #15
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I'd like to see something more modern and serious, but only for a future line. The present look suites the tourist areas. A more advanced, clean, and "serious" look should be considered for alternative lines through the CBD and city.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 07:01 AM   #16
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+1

Like it was said above the old streetcar suits Ybor, but for DT/Channelside a NEW modern future looking streetcar might benefit the area more as well as blend in better give it a more modern DT look..It would really be nice to see both versions in those places.. step into Ybor and see the older cars, go to DT and CHNSD to see the newer cars, gives the feeling of you being in totally different places even though youre only about 15 minutes apart..
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Old January 28th, 2007, 07:38 PM   #17
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I say embrace our history and stick with the classic ones. Though when they eventually expand a light rail network outward, go with the more modern systems like Denver has.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 08:25 PM   #18
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I would like modern streetcars with a historic look.... Basically what we have now, but with a few more seats (more comfortable ones), running about 2x faster than it runs now.
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Old January 29th, 2007, 12:23 AM   #19
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The existing street cars are capable of running 2-3x faster.
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Old January 29th, 2007, 12:43 AM   #20
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True! Although the City doesn't want it going as fast as it could. I thought of many reasons why that could be. Gas prices and all, and some makes sense, but I think it would be more beneficial to have it running half the speed it is going now.
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