PUBLIC TRANSIT: Tampa begins testing of new bus rapid transit system

Full slate of 12 buses will be operational by end of 2012

November 26, 2012

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) has begun testing of the vehicles for its new bus rapid transit service that the agency hopes will improve travel times between and around Tampa, Fla., and its northeast suburbs.

Six vehicles are part of the initial run, with the full fleet of 12 buses scheduled for operation by the end of 2012.

The new MetroRapid route will cover a 17.5-mile route on a Monday-Friday, 5 a.m.-8 p.m. schedule. Compared to conventional bus routes, MetroRapid buses will only make 25 stops along the route, which HART estimates will be the primary source of time savings.

The agency estimates that travel times from one end of the route to the other will be approximately 55 minutes. Each bus is equipped with technology allowing them to either prolong green lights or shorten red lights at an intersection. Each vehicle—costing an estimated $400,00—will seat 37 passengers, with standing room for an additional 41 riders.