Tampa Transportation

Tampa is one of the busiest areas in Florida. Even if it's a bit off-season, you can expect tourist traffic to slow you down on the highways and along the beach roads. I-75, which runs north-south, goes through the large metropolitan area. Travelers stay on I-75 to pass on the east side of Tampa. Taking I-275 south, drivers go by St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay exits before reaching downtown Tampa exits. Coming from south of Tampa, drivers take I-275 north to downtown. From Orlando, drivers take I-4 across Florida to I-75 junction or I-275 junction. I-4 handles the traffic between Tampa area beaches and Orlando's busy theme parks.

Tampa International is the 26th busiest in the United States. TIA is served by Delta, Southwest, JetBlue, U.S. Air, United, British Airways, Air Canada, JetWest and others. Flights serve the Atlanta hub, most major U.S. cities, Canadian cities and a few European destinations such as London and Zurich. Hillsborough Area Regional Transit and Pinellas (County) Suncoast Transit offer bus lines from the airport. There are also many car rental companies. A taxi stand is located at the airport. Vans or limos should be booked in advance.

Just 1.5 hours away, Orlando International Airport handles a lot of Tampa travelers. For general aviation flights, there are three choices. The smallest is Peter O. Knight Airport on Davis Island near downtown. Tampa Executive Airport is in Hillsborough County, conveninently located near the I-4 and I-75 interchange. The largest St. Petersburg-Clearwater Internaitonal Airport is in Pinellas County. Some discount and charter carriers use this airport , but it is primarily used for general aviation flights.

HART runs 13 express bus routes and 30-plus fixed-route local buses throughout the area. It is a low-cost option and one-day passes can make it even less expensive. Commuter vans in designated areas often require reservations but some walk-ups are allowed. Some express buses bring commuters in from outlying counties. The in-town trolley serves downtown's most popular destinations including Harbor Island and the Marion Transit Center. Don't confuse the trolley bus with the actual streetcar. The streetcar, which is more of a novelty, serves the Convention Center, the Channel District and Ybor City. Make sure to get current timetables for all services because budget cuts have threatened both the trolley and the streetcar lines.