Riding the TECO Line Streetcar in Tampa

Tampa TECO Streetcar System

free ride


4.8/5 Pros

  • Beautiful historic-style streetcars
  • Good connections to a couple of sights
  • Free service
  • Long operating hours Cons

  • Rather short network

Even though people typically think that I am an aviation nerd “only”, I am in general very interested in any kind of public transport systems. I especially love to explore rail-driven transport, regardless if they are trams/streetcars, mountain rails or high-speed trains. Thus, having rides with the TECO Line Streetcar system in Tampa was definitely one of the highlights of my trip tour-chasing Werid Al Yankovic in October 2022. Here is my review.



TECO Line Streetcar – Network and Tariff

The TECO Line is one line, which is operated forth and back. During operation, there is one service per direction each 15 minutes. The cars operate from 7:00 to 23:00 Monday to Thursday, 7:00 to 2:00 on Fridays, 8:30 to 2:00 on Saturdays and 8:30 to 23:00 on Sundays.

The total line length is 2.7 miles (or 4.4 km), serving a total of eleven stations. The termini are Centennial Park close to the Ybor district and Whiting station, which is sometimes also referred to as Downtown Tampa station. En route, the TECO Line streetcar passes several key Tampa attractions, e.g. Amalie Arena, Tampa History Center, The Florida Aquarium or the already mentioned Ybor district. There are also a couple of hotels, which are close to a TECO Line stop, which may be very handy for tourists. For example, I stayed at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa Downtown, right next to Dick Greco Plaza station.  There are also several parking garages close to the service.

The tariff is easy: using the TECO Line streetcar is free. The end-to-end connection approximately takes 25 minutes. The network is, by the way, based on the service by the Tampa Street Railways Company, who started operation in 1885. The TECO Line service as you can use it today started operations in 2002. It is funded by a special tax paid by businesses located along the line.


TECO Line Streetcar – Stations

Despite the TECO Line is a heritage streetcar service, the stations are quite modern. Most of the network just operates with one track for both directions, the stations are typically the area to pass.


TECO Line Streetcar – Rolling Stock

The TECO Line system operates ten streetcars nowadays. There was an eleventh one, which has been destroyed by a car accident in 2020. You typically ride in one of the eight double truck Birney cars, which is the typical design of 1910’s and 1920’s streetcars. There is also one open bench car. All these cars have been constructed by the Ida Grove, Iowa, based Gomaco Trolley Company. On top of that, there is one original streetcar operating in Tampa.

Gornaco is doing an excellent job giving the interior of the trains an amazing touch. The trains are modern in technology, but feel beautifully outdated when you ride them. Nonetheless, they are comfortable to ride. The drive is able to tilt the benches, so that they face into the direction of travel. The car is driving forth and back, there is no loop. Thus there are steering controls on both ends of the cars. I rode the TECO Line streetcar in off-peak conditions and additionally majorly went for interior pictures without passengers. In general, the service is operating in the capacity expected.


Riding the TECO Line Streetcar

Riding the streetcar is as you would expect it. Luckily, due to the modern basis of the car, the ride is not rough at all. The car offers a beautiful atmosphere, the drivers are also very kind and helpful – I had some really nice chats with a few of them.


TECO Line Streetcar – My View

The TECO Line streetcars are so much fun to ride – but they are also very handy for sightseeing trips around Downtown Tampa. The old cars are so charming, the staff is amazing and at least visitors to Tampa ride this rolling stock with a smile on their face. So I did as well. I smiled with a bright Top Pick! smile.


Rides on Rail (USA)

Here are my Rides on Rail postings related to the USA:


Tampa Bay Postings

Here are all pictures of Tampa Bay and surroundings:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *