Tampa Transportation – The local lowdown


Tampa Transportation – the local lowdown

A great joy of vacation travel is getting around like a local and Tampa’s memorable local transportation makes it easy. Here’s our guide to getting around Tampa like a Floridian.

Electric streetcars – Tampa transportation that doesn’t break the bank

Back in 1892, Tampa had a novelty, electric streetcars with smartly uniformed conductors, which conveyed travelers round Ybor City, Ballast Point, Hyde Park and Sulphur Springs.  Streetcars took workers to the cigar factories of west Tampa, and on Sundays to local parks like DeSoto and Macfarlane. They were the circulatory system of the region until 1946, making Tampa among the last cities to surrender its historical streetcar system.

The TECO Line Streetcar system has returned to Tampa, Downtown, Channelside and Ybor City, bringing cruise ship passengers to the city. Unsurprisingly, it also transports workers as the original streetcars did. Effortlessly linking Franklin and Whiting Streets and the Fort Brooke parking garage, TECO unifies downtown and brings parking within easy reach of all. Best of all, it’s free to travel!


Coast Bike Share – vacation transport on two wheels

Coast Bike Share makes bicycle rental easy – simply register and enter your pin to unlock a bike from any convenient station. Afterwards, return it to any other station in the system, ideal for picnics or sightseeing trips.


The Cross-Bay Ferry – Tampa transportation with added romance

Travelling between St. Petersburg and Tampa has never been more enjoyable. The Cross-Bay Ferry returns each November, happily cruising between the cities twice daily for foot passengers. The $8 one-way ticket (children under four travel free) buys you an hour crossing the Bay, giving tourists and locals a fantastic chance to enjoy a great meal and some sightseeing. Lucky travellers may see dolphins ridingthe bow waves of cruise liners out of Tampa Bay. Both the river walks and trolley cars connect well with the ferry service.


Pirate Water Taxi – explore Tampa from the water

Staying at Erehwon Retreat, and want a rollicking day out in Tampa – try the pirate water taxi system! A single payment allows all day travel through  the Tampa Riverwalk, Harbour Island and  Channelside Districts.  With over fifteen stops, this yellow water taxi therefore drops you close to museums, shops, restaurants and Lowry Park Zoo.

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit – take the HART around Tampa

Finally, since 1980, the HART system has been serving Tampa, fortunately the HART #1 bus is a half-block away; making it a quick and easy route to the best destinations downtown.

Neighborhood Documentary

Seminole Heights Neighborhood Documentary

Very early after completing the first of two restorations of the cottage and bungalow, I was approached by Suzanne Prieur of Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association regarding the development of a historical film on Old Seminole Heights. I was instantly engaged and helped support the project.  Seminole Heights An Intimate Look at the Early Years was written and directed by Gene Howes of Cigar City Pictures.

It’s a good documentary (and I’m not saying that just because I financially supported it). Suzanne and Gene did an excellent job with balance, places, and stories.

A year later, Suzanne and I met to discuss where to screen the film.  My initial reaction was to modest but Suzanne, insisted, “Henry given you produced Ballet and Theater professionally, you must have a view of how we go about selling out a night at the Tampa Theatre (1950-seats).”  There’s only one way Suzanne, you need to connect to Hillsborough High School Alums, those citizens who own or rent in Seminole Heights, and those who want to own or rent in Seminole Heights.”  Well, months later, it was SRO (Standing Room Only).  The various Seminole Heights Neighborhood Associations are a very involved group. Pride was worn on every face for the 50 minutes screening April 17, 2008.  Those who lived in the neighborhood prior to 1945 were admitted at no charge. Wonderful touch. It was with quiet pride when I saw Suzanne coming out to the Street Ticket booth to greet the hundreds still trying to purchase tickets.

Among Seminole Heights notables seen:

Former Mayor Dick Greco (elected 4 times 1967 to 1974 and 1995 to 2003) and a graduate of historic Hillsborough High School. He grew up on Shadowlawn.

Former City Council Member and Former County Commissioner Jan Platt who served a total of 24 years on the County Commission. Who grew up on Giddens

Here’s a teaser from the film’s introduction: