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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis August 10, 2012
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HART Breaks Ground for MetroRapid BRT

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) in Tampa, FL, broke ground Aug. 6 on MetroRapid North-South, the region’s first Bus Rapid Transit system. When it opens in 2013, MetroRapid will run 17.5 miles along Nebraska and Fletcher avenues from the HART Marion Transit Center in downtown Tampa to Telecom Park/Hidden River Corporate Park west of I-75.

HART held the groundbreaking ceremony at the site of a future MetroRapid station stop, near a signalized intersection that will feature Transit Signal Priority (TSP) technology.

The purpose of the new service is to decrease travel time by 10-15 percent with TSP, which uses Global Positioning Satellite-based technology at selected signalized intersections to shorten red lights and lengthen green lights. HART will test TSP this fall.

Unlike local bus routes, which often have bus stops every 750-1,250 feet, MetroRapid has a total of 59 station stops about 2,600-4,000 feet apart, allowing for additional time savings.

There will be bicycle racks at each station and ticket vending machines at major stations. 

HART also plans to construct a new park-and-ride facility in Hidden River Corporate Park, near the Fletcher Avenue/I-75 area, which will serve the northeast end of the line.

HART received $31 million from the Hillsborough County Community Investment Tax (CIT) to fund the design and construction phases of this project. According to a June 2012 review of estimated project costs, it is under budget by $5.7 million.

Hillsborough County CIT is also funding the Fletcher park-and-ride facility and implementation of TSP technology with $1.75 million and $2 million respectively.

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