Hill Country Transit District (HCTD) operates The HOP, a regional public transit system that started in the 1960’s as a volunteer transit service that has since grown to serve a nine-county area covering over 9,000 square miles. In the last decade, the system has experienced significant growth and consists of three divisions: the nine-county Rural Division, the Killeen Urban Division consisting of Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, and Killeen; and the Temple Urban Division consisting of Belton and Temple.
The HOP coordinates many types of trips. Service is provided to passengers with disabilities via the Special Transit Service (STS) which often connects with the Fixed Route Service (FRS). The HOP partners with many area social service agencies to provide transportation to their clients.
HCTD is governed by a Board of Directors that includes representation of each county served, and of each major city served. Planning and support also comes from the following:
- HCTD staff serve on the Technical Committee of the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization (KTMPO), which serves as the area’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO);
- HCTD staff chair the Central Texas Regional Trasportation Advisory Group (CTRTAG) which is the committee that coordinates regional transit services which facilitate coordination between human services;
- HCTD meets with the Transportation Committee of the Killeen City Council to provide transit service and user information to the City of Killeen and its representatives.
HCTD encourages social service agencies and the general public to use the public transit system. To the maximum extent possible, HCTD, serving as the region’s existing transportation provider, works to meet transportation requirements through use of the public transit system in several ways.
- The HOP encourages users and agencies to use fixed route service whenever possible;
- The HOP provides an easy means for agencies to purchase tokens, multi-ride tickets, and monthly passes for their clients for use on fixed route service;
- The HOP provides travel training for agencies and groups;
- Agencies and members of the general public can rely on the HOP as the existing transportation provider to continue to serve the area, merging rural and urban service.
This type of information is shared locally. Route and service plans are reviewed with several local area committees and network groups, with input used to maximize the efficiency of transit service.
Through cooperation and financial support of cities, businesses, Texas Department of Transportation, and the Federal Transit Administration, HCTD has more than 175 passenger shelters throughout the cities of Copperas Cove, Killeen, Harker Heights, Belton, and Temple. This means well over 30% of all fixed route bus stops have passenger shelters installed for attractiveness, ease of identifying bus stops, protection from the weather, and passenger comfort.
The HOP relies each operating year on funds that come from several sources, including:
- Federal Transit Administration (FTA);
- Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT);
- Central Texas Area Agency on Aging (CTAAA);
- Concho Valley Area Agency on Aging (CVAAA);
- Capital Area Agency on Aging (CAAA);
- Passenger Fairs
- Contributions from the counties and cities served.
In accordance with regulations of the U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 49 CFR Part 26, Hill Country Transit District (HCTD) has established a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program. HCTD is required to submit its DBE goal to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), if HCTD will meet the threshold of the award of prime contracts (excluding transit vehicle purchases) exceeding $250,000 in Federal funds per year from the FTA. HCTD has notified the FTA that it reasonably anticipated that it would not meet the threshold in Federal Fiscal Years 2015 through 2017, and, therefore, did not develop an overall DBE goal.