Public Transportation in Tampa

July 29, 2022

Tampa has grown 27% in the last decade. There is a robust job market, a growing metro area, and no shortage of nightlife. But what’s the best way to get around? Owning a car in the city introduces complications like maintenance, insurance, and rising fuel prices. City driving can be treacherous, and with the increasing number of cars on the roads in Tampa, finding an alternative to driving becomes even more desirable. But what are the best ways to use public transportation? Public transportation is often thought of as only existing in the urban core of a city, but as the urban core has become more desirable, it has also grown more expensive. Affordable housing in Tampa is often challenging to come by unless you get creative. If finding affordable housing that is near public transportation is crucial to your work, read on to learn how to best use this essential tool.  

The Benefits of Public Transportation

Time for yourself

There are many benefits of public transportation in Tampa.
There are many benefits of public transportation in Tampa.

Time spent on public transportation is not lost time! In fact, you might think of it as time gained. When you drive your car for a commute, you are occupied with the drive itself, and this time can often feel lost. When using public transportation, you can catch up on that list you made of books you wanted to read this year. If reading isn’t easy for you while moving, you can always catch up on your Audible queue. Everyone at your workplace may have been talking about the latest season of Stranger Things. If you’re feeling a little behind on your pop culture, you can always watch an episode on your way to (and from) work. After all, you are adding hours for yourself. If you need to truly spend “me time”, you can also do a basic meditation routine while en route. Incorporating this time into your morning can help prepare you for a busy day at work. And if you’re one of those who can’t seem to catch up on sleep, this could be your time. There is something rhythmic about a bus ride. If you decide to catch a few winks, just make sure you set an alarm!

Lower your expenses

Owning a car in the city is expensive. If you purchased a car with a loan, you’re paying each month to drive—before you ever start the engine. Add to that the rising cost of fuel. If you are driving an hour each way, five days a week, this fuel cost adds up significantly and quickly. But it doesn’t end there. You also need to factor into your budget the cost of basic maintenance (oil changes, tire rotation, etc.) each year along with the more significant upkeep costs that roll around every few years. Top that off with the cost of insurance and any tolls that you may have to pay daily and you are eating into your weekly earnings in a big way. The city is busy and the risk of accidents is high. They are nearly inevitable. Avoiding the fray by using the public transportation that is readily available to you and putting thousands of dollars per year back in your pocket seems like a no-brainer. Some companies even pay a percentage or offer discounts for employees’ public transportation costs. 

Lower your stress 

Was that truck honking at you? Is that your check-engine light or a tire pressure warning? When you drive to work, you encounter multiple major stress events before you ever even set foot through the door of your work. Driving is inherently stressful. And then you notice traffic has stopped ahead due to a new traffic pattern. Most of this stress is avoidable and easily solved by letting someone else drive for you. Hop on public transportation and let go of this unnecessary stress. 

Social Aspects

When was the last time you met someone new in traffic? Have you had a (pleasant) conversation with a stranger in traffic? Me neither. Perhaps it’s time to meet someone new. Public transportation offers daily opportunities to strike up a new conversation, to perhaps learn something about the city, and certainly to meet someone new every day. 

What are my Public Transit Options?

Tampa has trolleys, buses, light rail, and more.
Tampa has trolleys, buses, light rail, and more.

When you think of public transportation, what comes to mind? Many will think of a bus or a train. While these are integral to public transportation, there are other options. Public transportation can be found near affordable housing in Tampa, it’s just a matter of knowing where to look. Is that a trolley bell? Public transportation in Tampa is unique to the area. Using it can be fun and interesting. It can also take you to some pretty amazing places. But what are your options for integrating it into your everyday?

Downtown Trolleys

The streetcars in Tampa are run by TECO and can take you all over the urban core of Tampa safely and quickly. These trolleys may look old-school, but they are thoroughly modern in helping you beat the downtown traffic. They can take you everywhere from Ybor City and the Ybor City Museum State Park to the Downtown Central Business District. This means that you can go straight from work to happy hour at some of your favorite spots, just by hopping on a streetcar.  

Bus System

The regional bus system in Tampa (HART) has plans to upgrade all of its buses to electric power. Not only could you be taking your car off the road, but you could be making an even more environmentally responsible decision by taking public transportation. Fares are inexpensive and can be purchased in the form of daily, 10-day, or monthly passes. A city with a strong bus system values its citizens. It means that every citizen, regardless of economic standing or disability, has access to transportation and mobility throughout their city and region.  

Light Rail 

 The future of public transportation in Tampa lies, in part, with light rail. Officials are deep in the planning and exploration phases of developing rail travel throughout the Tampa metro area. This public travel method would be clean, inexpensive, and fast. Rail is more efficient than buses and also much more consistent in its overall timeliness. Look forward to being able to incorporate rail travel into your public transportation usage in Tampa soon. 

Where to live when you need public transit

A PadSplit is always nearby

When looking for affordable housing near public transportation in Tampa, the best way to proceed is by using a map. Fortunately, a weekly room rental site like PadSplit allows you to pull up a map view of where potential homes are available. 75% of PadSplit homes are within one mile of public transit. There’s even a filter that allows mapped properties to show you potential public transportation commute times. This makes for easy cross-referencing and takes the guesswork out of finding a convenient and affordable home near your work. But it’s about more than finding your way to and from work. Your PadSplit home is also your jump-off point for finding fun and exploring all that the Tampa Bay area has on offer. Want to take in a Tampa Bay Lightning game? You’re close enough to public transit to make the trip easy, and you’ll be cheering “Go Bolts!” in no time.

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