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By Margaret Gandy
Published February 29, 2008
Is Tampa ready for visitors?
Here's my recent experience:
The last week of December, a friend - a Tampa native - and I decided to take a public transportation tour of Tampa. I went to www.tecolinestreetcar.org/about/maps/map.pdf and made plans to start by parking at Hyde Park Village and, after shopping there, to take the trolley into town, where we had the choices of Harbour Island for lunch, a northbound trip around downtown or the Channelside-Ybor trolley.
According to the Web site, all of these were functioning. There was no indication of a change of hours for holidays nor cancellations.
After a bit of time in Hyde Park, we went to the marked area on Swann Avenue. We waited a long time, but there was no trolley, bus or anything. One middle-aged couple came by, so we asked if they had seen the trolley. Their response was that they had been trying for two hours to find public transportation and had seen nothing, nor could they find a cab. They were giving up and walking the other way.
We decided to move on by car to Harbour Island with the idea that if that trolley never came, we were at least within walking distance of the Ybor trolley. Wow, the parking fees there are high, even with lunch at Jackson's and a stamp on the parking ticket. We wanted to stay the afternoon, so instead, we drove through and ended up in the parking garage in Ybor, catching the trolley back to the Marriott for lunch on the patio, then visiting Channelside and Ybor. Not really much shopping in either place nor the opportunity to see Tampa.
I noted at one point, about mid afternoon, the Harbour Island-Northbound trolley-bus (purple line) was in action, however, we did not try it for fear we would have to walk all the way back to Ybor. Our last conductor told us the Hyde Park unit had been disbanded months ago.
I understand loss of profit and cutbacks for lack of riders, however I do not understand leaving outdated information on a Web site. It is so easy to keep updated. Many visitors to Tampa will use the Internet to gather information.
By the way, there is no phone number on the map page to get the latest information, nor are the merchants in Hyde Park cognizant of public transportation. It was indeed a day of adventure but it left me wondering what I would think as a visitor.
As of last week, the streetcar Web site page still said there was a Hyde Park route.
Margaret Gandy lives in Culbreath Heights.
[Last modified February 28, 2008, 23:01:08]