Mass Transit and Green Technology!

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I was reading a post from fellow transit nerd and fellow WordPress Blogger, Zachary Ziegler, about his former hometown agency at BFT (Ben Franklin Transit) testing out an Electric Transit Bus, not a hybrid but a 100% electric  bus!  You can check it out here, BFT Electric Bus Demonstration.  His post made me think of all of the other “green” initiatives in mass transit currently. Obviously the most popular option is electrified rail, but its also the most costly and if its not implemented properly it could become a huge disaster.  I remember a common theme from a book I read not long ago called Straphanger (definitely worth reading if you have even the smallest interest in transit).  The one thing that Taras Grescoe continued to repeat throughout the book is that agencies should invest in the option that is the absolute best for their service area and is also the most feasible financially.  The reason I say this is that being Green can cost a lot of the other kind of green, which is something that a lot of agencies are lacking thanks to the ineptitude of our elected “officials”.  For this reason an electric bus may be a viable option for cities that can’t even dream about affording rail.  They can be a green agency without having to sink a ton of money into an option that just doesn’t make sense.  The nice thing is that just about any bus out there can be outfitted with the electric engines.  Just imagine cities being cleaner and healthier simply because the big hulking buses aren’t spewing nasty carbon filled toxins anymore.

Safety Should Take Priority!

I know that most of the posts I make about HART are usually in a good light.  But I have to say that this post is not a good one.  One July 19, 2012 a HART bus operator, a fellow operator was attacked.  You would think that with an Authority like HART they would have acted swiftly and decidedly to protect Colin Brown, but they did almost the exact opposite.  The response time to aide him in his time of need was abysmal and the follow up by HART was equally dis-heartening.  This attack could have gone down a much different road too.  Fortunately Mr. Brown is alive, and at home resting and recuperating.  HART may not have been able to foresee this happening, but they most certainly should have handled it better and with more care and professionalism.  I’ll let you watch the story below and let you form your own opinions.  My opinion is that I do not feel safe and protected where I work anymore.  The same can be said for most of my fellow operators.  As a passenger, wouldn’t you like to know that when you board a bus that your safety and security is the companies first priority? I know I would.

Tampa V. Transit!

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I love living in Tampa and I love mass transit.  The more I get involved with each, the more I realize that in Tampa’s current political climate the two may not be able to co-exist. Continue reading

Unconstitutional!

July last year the state of Florida passed a law requiring state employees to contribute 3% of their paychecks towards the state pension system.  This amounted to a 3% cut in pay.  Most people say that we should contribute directly to the system since its OUR retirement.  Bare in mind that an employee must “survive” 6 years of public service before a dime of that money becomes ours again and then we have to wait until we turn 60.  With a high turn over rate the majority of those employees will never see that money again.  Some state agencies gave their employees a 3% pay increase to offset that pay-cut.  Earlier this week a Florida judge ruled that the law is unconstitutional!  This doesn’t necessarily mean that all that money will come flooding back to the employees just yet but it is a start in the right direction. Continue reading

My First Experience with Public Transit

Last week I read a post from a fellow blogger about his first experience with public transit and it inspired me to write about my own experience.  You can find the link to his post below along with other transit bloggers writing about their introduction to public transportation. Enjoy! Continue reading

RedBull Flugtag!!!

This Saturday October 8, 2011 RedBull will be gracing Tampa with its presence again.  For those of you who are not familiar with this wacky and fun event you can check out RedBull’s official website.

What I really want to get to is that, for this awesome event HART will be running an altered schedule and service to meet the demand of 100,000+ visitors that are expected to attend.  Park anywhere downtown, in Ybor, or at Channelside and you can avoid the traffic nightmare that will be ensuing.

Click Me!

If you don’t know what FlugTag is, start by getting out from underneath your rock, and then proceed to push play 😀

When to Cross

If you grew up in the United States, then you more than likely rode to school on one of these:

You knew that when that bus stopped you could get on and off safely without worry.  When you get to your stop you got off and went running home without a second thought to traffic, because it was stopped and couldn’t go anywhere while YOUR bus was there.

Well now you are all grown and you use a city bus to get around, not only is it not bright yellow, but it doesn’t have the same magical powers your school bus did.  Yet you still dart out in front to get to work on time, and that was the last thing you ever did because you just got hit by a car going 45mph to get around YOUR bus.

Its an everyday occurrence, I see a passenger get off my bus and then without thinking begins to walk in front of the bus to cross the street.  I can’t really fault them for it, its something that is ingrained in our minds ever since our first day of school.  But crossing the street BEFORE the bus leaves is one of the most dangerous practices I see daily.  On numerous occasions I’ve had to blow my horn to prevent an unsuspecting passenger from taking what might be their last steps.  This video clearly demonstrates what I mean

The little girl gets off just like she would her school bus.  Thankfully the driver was quick acting and potentially saved her little life.  But as with most things in life it doesn’t always end that way.

So as a passenger, make sure you wait until the bus leaves and whenever possible, cross at a lit intersection with a crosswalk.  As a driver, when you approach a stopped public bus don’t be in a rush to speed around, you may forever alter someone else’s life and your own.  Cover your brake and because alert and cautious until you clear the bus or the bus leaves.  This very small things can have a HUGE impact on your safety and someone else’s.