APTA Streetcar and
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Heritage Trolley Site
Hosted by the Seashore Trolley Museum
September - March 2017

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Tampa — Streetcar Problems

March 2017

The wfla-tv web site reports that a 6-month pilot project to see if Tampa’s historic streetcar system could serve as a commuter alternative produced poor results.

During the 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. rush hour runs between Ybor City, Channelside and Tampa’s Downtown business district, the system attracted an average of 3 to 6 riders per hour which equated to an average morning ridership of 428 riders a week. “HART would tell you when they test a route it takes a year and a half to build ridership,” said Michael English who is chairman of the nonprofit organization that oversees the Streetcar system.

The experiment cost about $150,000 which works out to about $14 per rider over the course of half a year.

English and other hopeful historic streetcar backers are now promoting a series of community brainstorming sessions–part of a $1.6 million study paid by state and city taxpayers– to figure out how to make the streetcar system a viable transportation option. The trouble is that over the past 15 years, it’s been a big loser for taxpayers.

Fares account for about 1/3 of the current operating costs.The point of the study is to figure out how to expand and modernize the streetcar system to make it more than just a tourist attraction. “It’s going to take is more money to operate more hours and to extend the streetcar into the downtown. And possibly do a loop into Tampa Heights where people live and want to use it,” English said.


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