So, you want to go to Tampa and see the sights? You might think you’ll be relegated to slogging through commuter traffic in a car, but I’m pleased to tell you that you have options that don’t involve navigating the wilds of I-275 or finding a place to park in downtown. You guessed it, I’m talking about riding the bus.
PSTA has two commuter routes (affectionately referred to as the “X-Routes”) that cross Tampa Bay and connect with HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit) buses at Marion Transit Center in downtown Tampa.
The Route 100X leaves from Gateway Mall, crosses the Gandy Bridge, and swings through Britton Plaza Station off Dale Mabry Hwy before reaching Marion.
The Route 300X heads out of Pinellas from the PSTA Park N Ride on Ulmerton Road (just east of Starkey Road). It crosses the Howard Frankland Bridge into Tampa and tools around some of the downtown streets before reaching Marion.
From Marion Transit Center you can hop a HART bus to reach many popular destinations in Tampa such as:
Route 5 – Adventure Island
Route 7 – Raymond James Stadium
Route 8 – Channel District, Historic Ybor City, and Brandon Mall
Route 30 –Westshore Plaza and International Mall
Route 39 –Busch Gardens
Route 45 – Lowry Park Zoo (an extra connection is required for this one)
Before you head out, you should know that PSTA’s X-Routes across the Bay are commuter routes. This means that they only run on weekdays and most of the trips are during the morning and the afternoon rush hours. It would be a good idea to check out the bus schedules for both PSTA’s routes and HART’s so you can find your connecting times.
If you want help planning your trip, try out Google Trip planner – it will give you info for both PSTA and HART. We both have great customer service available by phone, too: PSTA's InfoLine is (727) 540-1900 and HART's InfoLine is (813) 254-4278. And, please remember to pre-plan your return trip; you don’t want to end up stuck in Tampa because you miss the last bus back!
You should also know that since we’re different transit systems we have different fare systems. PSTA’s X-Routes are $3 cash each way per person, and the HART local bus routes are $1.75 cash per person per bus. (By the way, we do have an intercounty buss pass called the Passport that is good on both systems. At $85 per calendar month, it’s great for commuters who use both systems a lot.)
You’ll want to have exact fare because the Operators cannot make change. Click here to view our great video that shows you how to pay your fare when you board and tells you more about PSTA fares.
So, as you can see, your next adventure is just a bus away. Ready to give it a try? I encourage you to go for a road trip, then tell us about it on the blog!
~Cyndi Raskin-Schmitt, RidePSTA Blog Editor