On April 20, 2017, the Tampa Downtown Partnership’s Downtowner service celebrated its six month birthday. “From the Tampa Riverwalk to the Florida Aquarium, we’ve got you covered. Request a ride anywhere in our service area and we’ll whisk you away within minutes,” the Downtowner website reads—and it has, serving 86,146 passengers and logging 101,192 miles in Tampa in those first six months.
The Downtowner is a shuttle that can be called on demand to take both locals and visitors who come to downtown Tampa for either business or fun to other locations within the service area. The shuttles improve transportation accessibility for all of the Tampa population, and the shuttle fleet is all electric vehicles to reduce pollution. It runs Monday through Friday from 6am to 11pm, and from 11am to 11pm on weekends. Rides are of no cost to users and can be requested via an iPhone or Android application that can be downloaded from the Downtowner website.
The service is especially popular with those who want to explore downtown on foot, or commute there by bicycle, allowing them to get to multiple locations in the downtown area without getting in their cars or having to find bicycle parking at each location.
The popularity of the service clearly demonstrates the necessity of it, and support from the community is plentiful. “We’ve received several inquiries from local organizations looking to support Downtowner through advertisements on both the interior and exterior of the vehicles,” said Karen Kress, Director of Transportation and Planning for the Tampa Downtown Partnership and founding member of the Bike/Walk Tampa Bay Coalition. “We are actively looking for ways to enhance service in year two and for long-term stability,” said Kress. “When we see that the Marion Transit Center is a top drop-off location, second only to the University of Tampa, it truly tells a story of how this service is providing a first and last mile solution.”