The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) has increased options for its patrons through an innovative public/private partnership with Megabus.com. This pilot program will begin on October 1, with inbound and outbound express service from a local park-and-ride to the Marion Transit Center (MTC), six times daily (three inbound plus three outbound) seven days a week. Customers will be able to use the service with a HART 31-day express pass or by purchasing direct fares for the route on Megabus.com.
"HART is pleased to bring this additional benefit to our customers," said HART CFO, Jeff Seward. "We hope this pilot program will be a catalyst in furthering support of public transportation in Hillsborough County and shows the benefit of collaboration in public/private partnerships."
HART is already providing enhanced routes and options through a unique 5-year partnership agreement with Megabus.com which began last year, to offer express travel to and from Miami and Orlando for as little as $1. By making other connections residents gain access to 120 cities across the USA, dramatically expanding the intermodal system at MTC. That was made possible through a 5-year partnership agreement between HART and Megabus.com.
Another successful HART partnership was launched with RedCoach, the first luxury ground transportation provider in the Southeast, for RedCoach to expand their services in the Tampa Bay area. The Downtown Tampa RedCoach stop complements RedCoach stops that are already in existence at the University of South Florida (USF) and the Tampa International Airport (TIA) to connect Tampa passengers to Miami, Tallahassee, Gainesville, and Orlando.
These dynamic partnerships are all part of the agency's strategy to attract new ridership, generate new revenues streams, and enhance service while simultaneously connecting various types of transportation. The HART intermodal approach encompasses bus transit as well as walking, bicycling, and using the TECO Line Streetcar System, Park-n-Ride facilities, and paratransit system.
Public/private partnerships provide an increasingly important project delivery alternative for HART. These kinds of arrangements allow transit agencies throughout the nation to collaborate with private, for-profit entities to provide increased transit service. In turn, that increases the potential for transit agencies to leverage funding and provide more and better options for transit service.