This is How We Roll - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
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This is How We Roll

This is How We Roll

When visiting or living in Greater Tampa Bay, there are so many different hot spots around town to cross off the bucket list. Whether it is by bus, boat, bike, taxi or car, there are an abundance of transportation options no matter the destination.  

Wheels Go Round 

The SunRunner is a new rapid bus transit service provided by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. It provides GTB-ers with more ways to get to the area’s very popular St. Pete Beach and downtown St. Petersburg.  

The service started late in 2022, and all of the vehicles are hybrid-electric. SunRunner is good for the environment because of fewer emissions, less fuel consumption and encouraging people to bike and walk by providing opportunities to connect to other PSTA routes and having space for bikes on all the buses.  

Additionally, residents and visitors can utilize SunRunner to travel to local businesses, resorts, restaurants and other points along the company’s corridor. It is easy for commuters to take the SunRunner to work, as the vehicles arrive every 15 minutes during the busiest times of the day.  

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority’s app, OneBusAway, helps navigate all these different bus services. The app provides real-time GPS information about arrivals and departures, provides three real-time bus routes down to the minute and informs riders of any changes.  

The Park N Ride service from Hillsborough Transit Authority (HART) offers free parking at their bus lots for patrons who do not want to navigate city streets themselves. The Park N Ride has two types of rides, the Commuter and the Limited, to take riders to downtown Tampa and MacDill Air Force Base. With parking lots in Wesley Chapel, Brandon and Tampa, Park N Ride is perfect for anyone anywhere in GTB. 

Uber, Lyft and traditional taxis are also available for anyone to use. They can help locals and tourists navigate the city without having to worry about finding a parking spot or rushing back to feed the meter.  

Beautiful Views 

For those who may want to try a different way of seeing the area, they can take a water taxi to travel the bay.  

Pirate Water Taxi offers daily tours for riders. Riders receive a wristband that allows them unlimited opportunities to get off or on the taxi at different stops near local restaurants, shops and attractions.  

The Cross Berry Ferry is another way to travel. It offers riders a way to go across from the downtown areas of St. Petersburg to Tampa. The service runs from October 2022 until May 2023. The Tampa Bay Water Taxi Company provides tours for people to see local wildlife including dolphins, stingrays and birds. 

By Rail or Trolley 

Another transportation option for locals and visitors is the TECO Line Streetcar system. It travels along 11 different stops in downtown Tampa as well as some stops in Ybor City. 

People can also ride several different trolley cars throughout the city. The Jolley Trolley is one of four offered by PTSA. Its route goes from Clearwater Beach and Downtown Clearwater to Dunedin, Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs.  

The Central Avenue Trolley goes straight from the St. Petersburg Pier to Pass-a-Grille Beach. The Downtown Looper is free to ride and takes passengers to all the popular downtown spots, and the Suncoast Beach Trolley provides transportation to all of the unique beach communities from the Park Street Terminal in downtown Clearwater to 75th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard. 

By Foot or Pedal 

For those who prefer to get a little exercise in with their commute, there are plenty of opportunities for safe and scenic walks or bike rides.  

The Coast Bike Share Program allows people to rent bicycles from several different locations throughout Tampa Bay. They can purchase an hour pass, day pass, monthly pass or an annual pass. Electric bikes are also available in the St. Petersburg area.  

The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority provides bicycle commuters a free way to connect with each other through its free Bikepool program. There are also many places available, including in every city parking facility, to park bicycles for those who have their own and want to use it.   

For visitors and commuters who simply want to walk around town, there are many safe options. There is a more than 825-linear-mile extended sidewalk system in GTB, and many of the bridges have paths for pedestrians to walk on and see views of the water.  

The Courtney Campbell Trail connects recreational trails on both sides of Tampa Bay and has a 45-foot high bridge over Tampa Bay with sweeping views of the area. Or walk along the Tampa Riverwalk, which was rated the No. 2 riverwalk in the country by USA tday, and be easily connected to the parks, shops, museums and dining in downtown Tampa.  

See Also

Head to the Sims Park Riverwalk in New Port Richey. Right on the waters of Orange Lake and the Pithlachascotee River, the park and the riverwalk are right by downtown. Bike along the Starkey Trail and enjoy the views of the Starkey Wilderness Preserve.  

Making Sense of Highways 

Interstate 75 (I-75):  

One of the most notable roadways in GTB, I-75 runs north and south across East Tampa. I-75 interchanges with I-275 and I-4, the two more frequently used regional roadways. It is the primary north-south interstate providing access to the metro area. 

Interstate 275 (I-275):  

The 60-mile interstate is the main roadway connecting downtown Tampa to downtown St. Petersburg. It runs through Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties and extends into Bradenton on the other side of the famed Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  

Interstate 4 (I-4):  

Spanning more than 132 miles across the State of Florida, I-4 interchanges with I-275 in Tampa, crosses through Orlando in the middle of the state and ends at the interchange with I-95 in Daytona, making it a highly traveled roadway. 

Florida’s Turnpike (S.R. 589):  

S.R. 589 is a toll road under Florida’s Turnpike System that spans 57 miles north-south across Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties. The southern portion is called Veterans Expressway, beginning at S.R. 60 in the Westshore District of Tampa travelling north through Hillsborough County.  

At Van Dyke Road in Northern Hillsborough County, the turnpike goes by the name Suncoast Parkway and extends from Van Dyke Road, north through Pasco County and ends at U.S. 98 east of Spring Hill in Hernando County.  

Selmon Expressway (S.R. 618):  

The elevated toll road connects St. Pete and South Tampa, making it a popular commuter route. Commuter traffic along the expressway does cause some congestion, so anticipate delays at peak drive times. 

Southern Connection 

Brightline, a high speed rail service, is coming to GTB and will provide easier access to other parts of Florida including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando. Expected to open in 2023, the expansion from Brightline’s Orlando station will give the community access to Metrorail, Metromover and Tri-Rail service.  

By Celia Goodyear.

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