|Tampa's transit system has room to grow.|
And it all leads up to this: why transit?
There are lots of answers to that question, from economic benefits, to more choices for seniors, to adding service to new areas. But all of those things are part of a bigger picture, and that is transit's contribution to our quality of life.
A Lesson from History
As with most cities, the history of Tampa is a story that includes transit. The need to get from place to place easily and efficiently isn't something we invented in our generation. In fact, Tampa's transit past is one of its more interesting stories, as told on the TECO Line Streetcar System's website:
Yes, you read that right - 24 million passengers rode the streetcar rails in 1926. By comparison, HART recently announced that we carried about 12.8 million passenger trips for fiscal year 2010. "In their heyday, Tampa's streetcars whisked passengers to and from Ybor City, Ballast Point, Hyde Park, Sulphur Springs and points beyond. Operated by uniformed conductors, the Birney cars were a welcome sight, and the familiar clang of the streetcar bell was music to the ears. To ride the streetcar was to feel the pulse of the community.Tampa's first electric streetcar lines built in 1892 quickly became an essential part of everyday life as workers took the streetcar downtown and to the cigar factories of west Tampa. And families climbed aboard for a picnic or ball game in DeSoto and Macfarlane parks. Reaching the peak of its popularity in the 1920s with almost 24 million passengers in 1926, Tampa's streetcar system rolled to a stop in August 1946 following World War II."
|Tampa transit, circa 1926|
Here's an illustration. HART participates in the Emergency Ride Home program administered by Tampa Bay Commuter Services. It's a great way to take some of the worry out of riding transit by ensuring you have a free taxi ride home if you need it. All you have to do to qualify is ride, bike or walk to work at least twice a week. That's it. Twice a week, you decide not to drive alone.
While you're at it, you'll probably save some money. You'll pay less for gas and parking. Maybe you'll find your family can even live with one less car, saving tons on insurance, maintenance, car payments, gas, parking, tolls...
|What will tomorrow's transit system look like?|