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The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) in Tampa, Florida, has eliminated fares and expanded service for its TECO Line heritage streetcar.The streetcar will remain fare free for three years as a result of a $2.67 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation. Previously, it cost $2.50 to ride the system. The grant also enabled HART to boost service hours and increase frequency along the 2.7-mile line, which runs from the Ybor City neighborhood to downtown Tampa. On weekdays between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., service frequency will increase from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes.The primary objective of the service change is to add another mobility and connectivity option for residents, employees and visitors in the Tampa area, HART officials said in a news release."Our customers wanted a service that fits the changing regional patterns of development and population trends, and a foundation to grow ridership," said HART Interim Chief Executive Officer Jeff Seward. "This 'New Era of Transit' will move us into a new direction and will also more fully integrate our bus and rail networks into a seamless system to better serve residents, customers, and visitors — not only today, but into the future."The agency also has plans to extend the streetcar system between downtown and other surrounding neighborhoods, HART officials noted.
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