TAMPA – Everyone rides for FREE! As promised, the HART TECO Streetcar Line is free to ride from all points between Ybor City, Channelside and downtown Tampa. An FDOT $2.7 million grant was awarded to HART to be used for the 2.7-mile streetcar service. The grant has been budgeted to last for three years starting this weekend.
As part of the plan to increase and improve overall ridership, longer hours of operation and more frequent stops between cars is being implemented. Streetcars will now arrive every 15 minutes, rather than every 20. The hours of operation have been extended to 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on weekdays, with extended hours throughout the weekend.
“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 CEO Jeff Seward in a statement late last week. “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.”
Former Tampa Mayor, Dick Greco, hopes the service expansion will lead to a renewed popularity of the historic streetcars, and even laying new tracks.
“In 1926, a million people a year rode this streetcar with the small little city we had, but it went 53 miles,” Greco said. “The farther it goes, the better it works for everybody.”