TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Spring break is underway and that means more people in the bay area and more cars on the roadway.
Many Spring Breakers will be adding to parking challenges and congestion at events. So our traffic reporter Leslee Lacey found a creative way to use the water as your roadway and to avoid some of the Spring Break traffic in downtown Tampa.
Leslee compared taking the Pirate Water Taxi to the Straz Theater instead of driving. She wanted to see if she could save time, money and a bit of the hassle that comes with driving. Here's what she found.
She started her drive from Ricks on the River because when she could grab a bite to eat and park for free. Leslee drove from Rick's to the Straz in nine minutes and 10 seconds with no congestion. She later times it during a popular performance night and it took 35 minutes including parking.
Leslee took the Pirate Water Taxi from Ricks on the River to the Straz and it tool just under ten minutes. She discovered taxi commuters could also order beer and wine during their ride, and received a history tour of Tampa's waterfront.
Leslee asked a little girl named Halle Webman, who was riding the Pirate Taxi if she preferred traveling in a car or on the taxi. "The Water Taxi. Because sometimes you can see wild animals for a surprise. And other times you can just see the graceful water moving," Webman said.
The synopsis that Leslee's discovered was that with no congestion the travel time from Rick's to the Straz was about the same. But on a popular performance night commuters could save over a half hour each way by using the taxi instead of driving. They would also avoid the hassle of congestion and parking. Parking at the Straz generally costs $10. Parking was free at Ricks on the river but an all-day Pirate Water Taxi pass after 6pm is $15. So it could cost you a little more to take the water taxi but commuters would save over an hour in travel and would not have to deal with traffic congestion and parking congestion.
Leslee noted it's important to check when the Straz performance lets out, and compare it with the latest pick up time from the water taxi. Leslee found using the taxi worked on the weekends but was not conducive to performances during the week.
The Pirate Water Taxi also travels near 17 other attractions including the Convention Center, Davis Island, and the Amalie Arena. Leslee says commuters can take a look at other stops as a fun alternative to going to events if they want to avoid stress and congestion.
For performance information on the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa you can check https://www.strazcenter.org/.
For information on the Pirate Water Taxi you can check http://www.piratewatertaxi.com/.