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A Better Future for Tampa's Trolley?

Tampa's TECO line streetcar system does not lack charm. What the historic streetcar does lack, however, is riders. Can HART transform the trolley into an integral part of a revitalized downtown?
January 26, 2015, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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According to a column by Sue Carlton, the sad thing about Tampa's historic streetcar isn't its tourist customer base, its price ($2.5o for a single ride), or its slow pace and long headways. "No, here's why riding the city's historic electric streetcar seemed so sad: because it's seriously charming, rife with possibility and, in its current state, a waste."

For some numbers-based evidence of Carlton's case, ridership declined from 425,614 in 2004 to 277,806 last year.

Calrton sees potential for the streetcar, however, in a recent study by Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART). "A recent study for HART, the transportation agency that also runs the trolley, explored the possibility of extending routes into the heart of downtown — you know, where the people are — and morphing it into a modern streetcar, or light rail." The idea is expected to cost between $40 million and $60 million.

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Published on Thursday, January 8, 2015 in Tampa Bay Times
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