City of Tampa seeking public input to improve streetcar system

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The City of Tampa is set to hold three brainstorming sessions to gather ideas on how to improve the iconic streetcar system that runs throughout the city.

The first meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Tampa Bay History Center.

The city has spent more than $1.5 million on studies.  The studies aim to find ways to improve ridership, which has dwindled over the years.

The system runs from Ybor City through the Channel District and stops in downtown Tampa.

“The service is great,” said rider Matt Wagner who works on Harbor Island and takes the service from Ybor City to downtown.  “All the conductors are pretty cool. [They] keep you going in the morning.”

There has been talk about extending service into Seminole Heights.

But, an 8 On Your Side report shows it could cost up to $60 million to expand the service.

“Our urban core demands more transportation options.  The streetcar system is an underutilized asset and we are taking a hard look at its future.  A potential extension of the system through downtown could open up connections to new neighborhoods, jobs, and entertainment,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn in a press release.

“The goal of this planning process is to take the first step towards creating another viable transportation choice for Tampa,” he said.

Other public meetings are set for April 4 and May 2.

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