YBOR CITY — Riders on the TECO Line Streetcar System got a steep discount Saturday.
From 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday, rides on the streetcar cost just 25 cents, rather than the usual $2.50. The promotion was part of the annual Ybor City Streetcar Festival, which is meant to attract new riders to the 2.7-mile line that connects Ybor and downtown.
Centro Ybor hosted the festival, which featured live music, animal exhibitions from The Florida Aquarium, food trucks and historic streetcar tours.
“The objective is to get people to ride the streetcar and get some repeat riders,” said Steve Rosenstock, marketing and communications manager for HART.
Rosenstock said the festival drew about 10,000 riders last year, and organizers estimated there were around 8,000 attendees this year. About 300,000 people rode on the streetcar during the fiscal year that ended in September, he said.
The Streetcar Festival also is intended to promote economic development in the area, Rosenstock said. In addition to discounted rides on the streetcar, some Ybor City businesses and restaurants offered discounts to festival-goers.
The various exhibitions and musical acts were set up near the streetcar stations at Dick Greco Plaza and Centro Ybor. The weekly Ybor City Saturday Market was in its usual spot in Centennial Park.
So streetcar riders were able to get a little taste of everything, Rosenstock said.
“We’re very pleased,” Rosenstock said about this year’s turnout.
Karin Claveria, who came with her family from Lithia, said it was her first time riding the streetcar in Ybor City. In New Orleans, where she is from originally, she rode them all the time, she said.
It’s a great way to get around and enjoy the sightseeing, she said.
“We decided to give it a try and see what it’s like,” Claveria said before boarding a car near Centennial Park. “And it’s a beautiful day for it.”