Public transportation to link Pasco & Hernando

Posted at 5:21 PM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 17:42:35-05

Anyone who battles traffic snarls will be happy to know public transportation in the region is expanding. The latest project is a new bus connection between Hernando and Pasco counties.

"This is a very big deal because it opens up so much more for so many people," bus rider Tanya Marsh said.

Marsh is one of those people who relied on the bus for years to get to work. Now, she can use it beyond Hernando County lines.

"With the bus, you have hope, and with the bus, it gives you that moment to know that, 'Oh, wait a minute. I do have hope, and I do have a means to get somewhere,'" she said.

Hernando County's hop-on approach has high hopes for ridership. Since the bus connection launched at the beginning of the month, nearly 150 people have used it.

Connections happen once an hour and drivers from both counties are communicating, making sure you get from one bus to the other.

"There's a need for better transit connections like other major cities have and it's been a challenge here," said Ray Chiaramonte, Executive Director of Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority.

Chiaramonte said this is a much-needed first step in a push for public transportation options.

"We have to do it incrementally, doing successful projects like this then adding more onto it. This is how we ultimately get to the end goal," he said.

Right now, connection routes run Monday through Friday, and you have to pay the fare in each county. Chiaramonte said the hope is to have one bus fare card for all of Tampa Bay.