Tampa — Streetcar Extension Boosts Revenue, Not Ridership
Rail Transit Online, August 2011
The $5.3-million, four-block extension of the TECOLine streetcar from the convention center to Whiting Street in downtown Tampa was touted as sure bet to increase ridership. But nearly eight months after the new line opened, the results are decidedly mixed.
In the first five months of 2011, the total number of hoardings has slipped by seven
percent while revenue rose 10 percent. The disparity has been explained by the installation of new ticket vending machines which offer more types of passes, fare adjustments and advertising income. Officials of Tampa Historic Streetcar Inc. (THSI), which operates the 2.6-mi. (4.2 km) line, blame the down economy for restricting ridership growth, which is heavily
dependant on tourism.
Meanwhile, the endowment which helps subsidize the streetcar will be exhausted in 2012. The THSI board of directors has instituted a drastic 30-percent cut in operating expenses beginning Oct. 1 which includes laying off seven of 24 employees and reducing headways on Fridays and Saturdays from 15 min. to 20 min.