Public transportation tips for Tampa
Whether students commute or live on campus, their main question about transportation is usually which way to get to class is the most efficient for them? The answer isn’t always a personal vehicle.
In a city like Tampa and at a large college like USF, people are surprised by how handy and simple public transportation is. Here is a list of the some public transportation options to use to get around USF and Tampa and the best way to utilize each option.
The most popular form of public transportation to get students on and around campus is USF’s Bull Runner. There are six routes, labeled A to F, and there are one to three buses on the each route, depending on how busy the route and the time of day is.
Routes C, D and F make stops off campus, including students apartments on 42nd and 46th street, University Mall and Busch Gardens, respectively.
Students can download the MyUSF Mobile app on Android and iPhone smartphones and open the Bulltracker section for live updates about buses that are currently running. The app shows nearby stops and there is a section for students to choose any specific route.
On the route page, students can then look at a live map of all the buses currently running on that route or pick a specific bus stop to see its estimated bus arrival times.
On the view of the live map, people can even click on the moving symbol for the bus to see how full the bus is at that point in time.
Fall hours for the Bull Runner are 7 a.m. to midnight from Mondays to Thursdays and 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday for all routes. On Saturday and Sunday, only routes C, D and F run, and only from 2:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
They don’t usually run on national holidays, but interested parties can check the Bull Runner section on USF’s Parking and Transportation Services’ website to find out whether they are active on specific days.
If students need to go further off campus than the Bull Runner can take them, they should consider taking Tampa’s HART Bus. With a valid USF ID, students can ride the HART Bus for free, and faculty and staff only have to pay 50 cents.
With 11 routes in the University area, students have far more options and can go into areas such as Carrollwood, West Tampa, Westshore, Downtown Tampa and Ybor City.
Students can pick up maps and schedules in the Marshall Student Center or get them online at GoHart.org. Android and iPhone users can download OneBusAway to see a live feed of the buses and check arrival times. Students can also follow @GoHart on Twitter for up-to-date news about the bus line.
TECO Line Streetcar System
People who want to explore Downtown Tampa should definitely take the TECO Line Streetcar System as a way to get around Downtown. According to its Twitter page, the trolley “is a 2.7-mile line serving the dining and entertainment destinations in Ybor, the Channel District and Downtown.”
The streetcar has 11 stops, starting at Centennial Park Station on 8th Ave., and ending at Whiting Station on the corner of Franklin Street and Whiting Street. You can download a map of the full route at TecoLineStreetcar.org.
Its hours are noon to 10 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. It even has extended hours on Monday to Thursday whenever the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team plays.
According to its website, “one last trip will operate immediately following the end of the game.”
An all-day ticket is $5 and a single-ride ticket is $2.50 for adults. Minors between 5 and 17 years of age, seniors over 65, disabled persons and Medicare cardholders pay $2.50 and $1.25 for and the all-day and single-ride tickets, respectively.
A family discount pass, for up to five passengers, and an annual pass are also available. People that live or work along the streetcar’s route are eligible for a discount on a 20-ride pass.