Tampa’s historic streetcars extend service, with new safety precautions

Inside of a historic streetcar

The city of Tampa is known for Bayshore Boulevard, for the massive Gasparilla celebration, for its expansive Riverwalk and water taxis, for the Cuban sandwich, and its iconic streetcars. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the streetcars have reconfigured their set up to offer new staggered seating so riders can more effectively social distance.

As the community reopening continues, the TECO Line Streetcar is now operating until 11pm, seven days a week. 

CURRENT HOURS:
Monday-Friday: 7 AM – 11 PM
Saturday-Sunday: 8:30 AM – 11 PM

Exterior of a yellow and red electric streetcar

Rolling for nearly 20 years in Tampa

Tampa’s red and yellow icons have long connected downtown and Ybor City along a 2.7-mile long network for nearly 20 years.

Back in 2017, the system reported that nearly 300,000 passengers used the streetcars annually. That number has only increased with system improvements and expanded food and entertainment hubs in the city of Tampa.

The streetcar system features 11 stops total beginning at Centennial Park and ending at Whiting Station. Pre-pandemic, Tampa’s gorgeous streetcars also hosted live music performances on the weekends.

passengers wait to board a streetcar

The streetcar’s legacy has deep Tampa roots

Tampa’s first electric streetcar lines built in 1892 quickly became an essential part of everyday life as workers took the streetcar downtown and to the cigar factories of west Tampa. And families climbed aboard for a picnic or ball game in DeSoto and Macfarlane parks.

The system served almost 24 million passengers in 1926, but Tampa’s streetcar system ceased in August 1946 following World War II as it was largely replaced by cars and buses. 

Streetcars return in 2002

Beginning in 1984, the Tampa and Ybor City Street Railway Society (TYCSRS) acted as a catalyst, promoting the return of streetcar service to Tampa, according to the Streetcar’s website.

In October 2002, electric streetcars started operating again in Tampa, supporting expansive growth in downtown, the Channel District, and Ybor City.

Follow the Streetcar on Facebook, and Twitter for service updates.

Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is the Editor of thatssotampa.com. Follow him on Twitter @harlanyoungII and Instagram @harlanyoung. Send tips and potential stories to info@thatssotampa.com.