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City of Tampa wants input on streetcar system

Meetings could help shape its future
Posted at 6:46 PM, Mar 07, 2017

"300 thousand people ride every year. Mostly for entertainment like going to a hockey game or Ybor City. But filling all these empty seats is why the city's asking for your ideas."

Tampa’s streetcar through Downtown, Channelside and Ybor City is a fun ride.

"Ten years ago?? Yeah, it's been a while,” said Cindy O’Keefe who has been on it in years.

But people like O’Keefe don’t think it’s very functional.

"This, I don't know, if we would ride it to Ybor today just to get a Cuban sandwich. Um, I dunno,” said O’Keefe.

Tampa’s streetcar is not a moneymaker though a one day pass costs four dollars.

But new a.m. hours are catching on for folks who work in Ybor City like Tonya Donahue’s co-workers.

"Once the lines opened up at 7, they've been able to use it for work in the mornings,” she said.

The city is holding three public brainstorming sessions—the first is Tuesday night at the Tampa Bay History center at 5:30 p.m.

The next meetings are being held at the same time and location on April 4 and May 2.

It’s asking for ideas to make the streetcar more attractive to local commuters.

"More throughout downtown as busy as it is, as more residential is coming into downtown, I think expanding through the other side of the downtown would definitely be an asset,” said Donahue.

Right now the weekends are the busiest.

Stairs are tough for handicap access and kids in strollers.

But Tampa’s Transportation Director says streetcar ridership numbers help Tampa make the case for alternate transit like light rail.

"We definitely see the possibility of this system being that first springboard step toward a bigger system that's going to serve the region,” said Jean Duncan.

A springboard the city wants your opinion on.

"As the whole area grows, I think it would definitely be an improvement,” said Donahue.

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