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Major bus transfer facility, East Hernando Connector study among 2023 transit projects

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Commissioners did not discuss the latest Transit Development Plan (TDP) update at the August 9, 2022 meeting. The following comes from the written report, required annually by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

Cost & Revenue

Included in the TDP is a comprehensive 10-year Cost & Revenue Summary. Data show that for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, Hernando County Transit’s budget balances with $2,954,620 in a reserve fund from the Local Option Gas Tax. Total costs and revenues equal $6,645,317.

Fixed-Route Bus Service and Ridership

Hernando County’s bus system, TheBus, currently travels four routes specified by color.

The Red and Blue routes serve the Spring Hill area, and the Purple and Green Routes serve both the Brooksville and Spring Hill areas.

Purple travels along SR 50 / Cortez Boulevard and US 19 / Commercial Way to Pasco County linking Brooksville and Spring Hill. This route connects with Pasco County Public Transportation (GOPASCO), providing a regional transit system connection between TheBus (Hernando County) to the Pasco, Hillsborough, and Pinellas County public transportation systems.

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Red travels Deltona Boulevard, a portion of Northcliffe Boulevard, and US 19 / Commercial Way

Blue travels as a north-south connector along Mariner Boulevard, connecting SR 50 / Cortez Boulevard to County Line Road. This route serves as a second connector with GOPASCO at Bravera Health in Spring Hill.

Green is a connector from Brooksville to Spring Hill and serves the Brooksville/Tampa Bay Regional Airport and Technology Center (BKV) on Spring Hill Drive, and traverses California Street and Wiscon Road.

Transit ridership decreased approximately 17.15%, from 134,710 passengers to 111,602 from FY 20 to FY 21. During FY 21, an increase in ridership has been seen, but at a slower rate than FY 19.

Accomplishments and Projects

For FY 20, Saturday service was added to existing routes and service hours were extended to 9:00 PM. These changes were implemented on October 1, 2019.

RouteShout, a real-time bus location mobile application was launched on March 1, 2021.

Flamingo, a mobile payment application was launched in August 2021.

Improvements to the bus stop located at Brooksville City Hall have been completed.

Though the implementation years are reported as 2025 – 2029, the Vehicle replacement and
acquisition program was completed this year. One new bus was delivered in June 2022. Three regular buses and three ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) equipped vehicles are slated to arrive in FY 23.

This year (2022), Planning began to add an East Hernando Connector that will provide AM and PM service to Ridge Manor. In 2023, a formal study for this project will be conducted. The Connector is scheduled to be implemented in 2024.

Another identified project is the addition of a commuter express service along the Suncoast Parkway. This project is not yet funded and is reported to be a joint effort with the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA).

During FY 22, the design phase to improve 26 selected bus stop locations was completed. The construction phase is scheduled to begin in FY 23.

Another pending joint effort with TBARTA is the construction of shared park-and-ride facilities. No locations have been identified at this time.

Also beginning this year is the planning of a major transfer facility. A study for this project will be conducted in FY 23.

Other ongoing improvements include engaging businesses to develop employee bus pass and/or subsidy programs and expand transit marketing programs.

Special Perks for Riders

Free Ride Days.

Older American Month (All individuals over the age of 60 ride for free)
Dump the Pump Day (All riders ride for free) June 17, 2023
Veterans Day (All veterans ride for free)
Election Days – Free rides for all residents that present a voter registration card

Student Summer Pass Program: This pass provides students with unlimited rides from May 15 through August 31 for $25 and is available each summer for students. Passes are sold at the Transit Operation Facility, West Hernando, Main and Spring Hill Libraries, and PHSC Bookstores.

Reduced Fare Photo Identification: TheBus continues issuing a reduced fare photo identification card to qualified individuals. The rider must be a student, an elderly person, a Medicare card holder, or a person with a disability.

Goals, Objectives & Policies

Going forward, Hernando County has identified the following goals, and reported accompanying objectives and policies in the TDP.

Increase quality and level of transit services in Hernando County.

Increase transit ridership and improve cost efficiency.

Increase the visibility and name recognition of transit services and TheBus.

Pursue coordination activities with regional entities and neighboring counties.

Reduce environmental impacts caused by public transit and preserve, where possible, and enhance community social and environmental values.


Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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