There’s a potential that individuals might need to start paying for rides on the well-liked downtown Tampa streetcars in the near future.
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) is facing a depletion of funds to sustain their fare-free service.
Around 1.7 million individuals are projected to utilize the complimentary heritage streetcars this year, yet these [ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”3″ ihc_mb_template=”1″ ]passengers could potentially face the prospect of having to pay for their rides.
“The streetcar system was actually the backbone of transportation in Tampa 100 years ago in the late 1890s all the way to 1946,” HART Planning and Scheduling Director Justin Willits said.
Now, the 2.7-mile streetcar line connects downtown Tampa, the Channel District, and Ybor City providing passengers a fare-free ride for the last three years.
HART has been supporting it through a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, but this grant is nearing its expiration.
“Right now, we’re trying to figure out how to keep the service free and frequent but we’ve got to find operating dollars to do that.”
Willits said they will find out in the coming weeks if FDOT has more grant funding available to keep the streetcar service free. Another possibility is getting money from the city.
Hart is contemplating going back to a fare charge of two dollars and fifty cents one way or $5 all day if they can’t find the funds.
Riders could have to start paying as soon as October.