Parking Crunch at Tampa International Airport

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As the unprecedented construction continues at Tampa International Airport, passengers – and those planning to pick up or drop off passengers – should be aware of capacity constraints at the Short-Term Parking Garage that will transpire over the course of the next month and a half.

What’s Happening?

Per the Tampa Bay Times, which pretty much sums up why there will be a parking crunch…

Two floors of the short-term parking garage will be closed beginning Thursday and will remain closed until mid February as construction workers waterproof the garage entry and exit ramps. Overnight parking will not be available in the short-term garage.

How will this affect me?

If you plan to park at the Short-Term Parking Garage, you may be in for a shocker if parking capacity is suddenly full. Airport officials recommend instead, using the Economy Garage and taking the free shuttle to the terminal. Parking rates come out to about $10.00 a day at the Economy Garage and shuttles run roughly every 10 minutes.

Long-Term Parking will also be affected by the limited capacity at the Short-Term Garage, as overnight parking will not be available at the Short-Term Garage during this period of time. Overnights are often when a majority of construction work is able to be performed, due in part to the lower number of people parking and minimal disruptions.

What if I’m picking up someone?

Since late 2015, the turnaround overpasses at the south end of the airport complex (noted in the map above) have been closed. Therefore, if you have to come back around to the terminal after exiting, you’ll have to take the exit ramp to the Post Office/Economy Parking in order to return to the complex. This can be extremely time consuming and will only add to the congestion that the complex already faces. Airport officials strongly recommend therefore, that you use the Cell Phone Waiting Lot located southeast of the Post Office, adjacent to the Economy Parking entrance. There is no cost to wait at the Cell Phone Waiting Lot and restrooms and free WiFi are provided. You can also view the dynamic message boards to see when flights are arriving. When the party that you’re picking up has indicated that they’re ready to be picked up, then you can proceed to the terminal with limited hassle. Remember that the arrival and departure drives are ONLY for active loading and unloading. Airport police is extremely strict about enforcing the rules to help keep traffic flowing smoothly.

If possible, use transit!

Escape the parking and traffic hassles by using HART!
Escape the parking and traffic hassles by using HART!

If you don’t have tons of heavy luggage to carry, I personally recommend that you use Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) Route 30 to access the airport. Service runs every 30 minutes from 4:30am through 12-midnight Monday through Friday, and from 6:30am through 12-midnight on weekends. Whether you reside in Town-N-Country, West Tampa, South Tampa, Downtown Tampa, North Tampa, or even East Tampa, you can connect to Route 30 easily and leave the driving to your bus operator! A one-way fare is only $2.00, with a day pass costing only $4.00 if you need to make multiple transfers. Please visit GoHART.org for details.

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