Welcome to the Blog!

Welcome to my transit blog, where you can read up on transit-related topics ranging from fare evasion to service adjustments. Feel free to start a discussion if you please, just make sure that you keep things clean. All comments are moderated, meaning that I must approve all comments before they can show up on blog posts and web pages. So any comments that I find to be inappropriate or offensive will not be posted on the website. Periodically, I will have ”Focus Posts” and poll questions that deal with specific transit-related topics.

Traveling Via Transit Safely During COVID-19

Getting Essential Workers Where They Need To Go…Safely


Currently, Routes 19, 34, & 52 are operating additional Covid Relief trips during the midday/early PM rush periods due to the continuation of capacity limits on board buses.


Today’s post will go over some basic rules of the road/rail as more people begin to return to some degree of normalcy. This may include using public transit to get to where you need to go for the first time in a long while. I can definitely say that when the worst of the 2020 lockdowns were hitting, I immediately retreated from using public transit in order to allow those who have no other avenue to get to & from where they need to travel – especially those who are unable to work from home.

PSTA # 12101 at the PSTA 34th St N Transfer Center, displaying a message signifying the mask-wearing requirement. The federal government has mandated mask-wearing on board all forms of public transit, including ride-share & taxi services.

Recently however, I have embarked on a few essential trips utilizing transit in order to either complete errands or to commute to/from work. My experience using transit during this time has felt much different versus pre-Covid – mainly due to capacity limits on board PSTA buses, as well as other temporary requirements such as mask-wearing.


What you need to know…

In this section, I’ll go over some key points that you will need to keep in mind when using transit during the post-Covid period – at least until a vast majority of restrictions are lifted.

In order to avoid any surprises before you leave, please be sure to check your respective transit agency’s website or call their customer service line. Transit agency websites, as well as local, state/provincial, & federal government websites, will have all of the up-to-date information that you need prior to embarking on your essential transit journey. This includes updated transit schedule information.

Many jurisdictions are requiring face masks while on board transit vehicles & while waiting at transit stations. Please be sure that your mask properly covers your mouth & nose at all times. If your commute is rather long, I would suggest that you bring more than one mask just in case.

Trains & buses can crowd up very easily under normal situations & the same can be said for major transit stations. While it is not possible to keep a distance from one another in all situations, please try to do so whenever possible. Many transit agencies have implemented signage & decals at stations & on vehicles to encourage everyone to social distance, with some agencies implementing temporary staggered seating arrangements where every other seat may be taped or roped off.

Special signage on board a Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) bus noting of social distancing measures.

This one is pretty much a no-brainer, always wash your hands! If soap & water are not available, please use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

The 2020 Covid lockdowns have no doubt caused transit ridership worldwide to plummet. While many riders are gradually returning, many agencies continue to operate using measures to reflect decreased ridership & ongoing efforts to help reduce virus spread. These adjustments may include reduced frequency & routing options, a later start to service &/or an earlier end time, as well as vehicle capacity restrictions. Please be sure to check with your respective transit agency for the latest schedule information before you leave. If needing to schedule alternative ways to get to your final destination, such as ride share, please be sure that you plan those ahead as well.

While efforts to bring forth contactless fare payment options – such as Flamingo Fares in the Tampa Bay, FL region, or OMNY in the New York City, NY region – have been in motion well before Covid hit, using such contactless options are more important than ever before. When available, please use your contactless payment option to pay for your fares while using transit. If such options are not yet available in your area, please consider contacting your transit agency’s customer service line to see how you can purchase transit passes online or over the phone. Please be mindful that some agencies may currently have their physical customer service centers closed to the public.

With many people stressed out & facing uncertain paths ahead, it is more important than ever before to show courtesy to others. Please refrain from engaging in conversation that would be disruptive or disrespectful to others, playing loud music without headphones, & engaging in other questionable or illegal behavior. Also, please show courtesy & respect to transit employees. Remember, they are helping you to get to where you need to go.

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Legalese | Disclosures


Super Bowl LV

Enjoy the big game safely & responsibly



First thing…travel safely

Before I discuss the various transportation options available (besides obviously renting a car), let’s go over how to get from A to B, safely, during these times.

  • While it has been a local guideline for quite some time now, revised Centers for Disease Control (CDC) national guidelines now require everyone who utilizes public transportation of any kind (including ride share) to wear a mask while on board. So please mask up before venturing out! Additionally, the City of Tampa has enacted a temporary outdoor mask requirement in specific areas of the city that will remain in effect through Super Bowl weekend.
  • Social distancing guidelines remain in effect on board all HART buses & on the TECO Line Streetcar. Please do your best to adhere to these guidelines & be respectful of other customers, HART staff, & our first responder community.
  • For a contactless payment experience, please download the Flamingo Fares app from your smartphone’s app store (Apple | Google Play).

Transportation Options

  • For a listing of HART routes, please view my HART Transit Routes page. Each route listing includes a rundown of destinations served. For complete schedules, please visit the HART website. For TECO Line Streetcar information, please visit the streetcar website. Please keep in mind that the streetcar remains fare free.
    • The Marion Transit Center serves Routes 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 19, 30, 275LX (weekdays), 360LX (Mon-Sat), & 400 (MetroRapid), as well as PSTA Routes 100X & 300X (weekdays).
    • Routes 1, 8, 9, 19, & 30 have stops that are within walking distance of a TECOLine station.
    • The Tampa International Airport Bus Hub (located next to the Rental Car Center, follow signs in the airport that read Local Bus) serves Routes 10, 30, 32, & PSTA Route 300X (weekdays).
    • Routes 7, 32, 36, & 45 traverse the area around Raymond James Stadium. A designated drop-off stop during stadium events can be accessed via northbound Dale Mabry Hwy.
  • The Cross-Bay ferry provides a convenient, hassle-free way to get across from Tampa to St. Pete during the week (excluding Mondays & Tuesdays). Due to capacity limits, please reserve your tickets in advance. The ferry departs from just outside of the Tampa Convention Center & links you to Vinoy Basin, just outside of the St. Pete Pier.
  • A special shuttle service has been set up by the City of Tampa, the Tampa Downtown Partnership, & other various parties to help provide a continuous circulator within Downtown Tampa – linking residents & visitors alike to major city venues & the Super Bowl Experience campus along the riverfront.
  • Bike Share & E-Scooter services remain available for you to use, as well as the Pirate Water Taxi.
  • Ride Share users may be picked up in one of two designated pick-up spots within Downtown Tampa:
    • Julian B. Lane: Southbound Doyle Carlton Drive between West Laurel Street and West Fortune Street.
    • Tampa Convention Center/Amalie Arena: Eastbound Channelside Drive between South Florida Avenue and South Morgan Street (just North of the Pam Iorio Parking Garage).
  • If venturing to Pinellas County, please be mindful that the PSTA bus system currently has capacity restrictions on board all buses, so please try to reserve the system for area residents who must make essential trips. However, I will list popular tourist routes below:
    • The St. Pete Downtown Looper circulates throughout Downtown St. Pete & is fare free.
    • The Central Ave Trolley (Route 36) begins in the Pier District & runs all the way to northern & central St. Pete Beach.
    • The Suncoast Beach Trolley connects to all other gulf coast beaches from northern St. Pete Beach to Clearwater Beach.
    • For points north of Clearwater Beach, the Jolley Trolley is available.
  • For PSTA route information, including schedules, please visit my PSTA Transit Routes page.

Please be sure to bookmark my website: globaltransitguidebook.com | Contact Me.

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Legalese | Disclosures

We’re Back!

It’s 2021, let’s hit the ground running!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that your winter holiday was as safe & peaceful as possible. 2020 was very rough for many reasons, & the start of this year wasn’t all that well either. However, with hopefully the worst behind us, we can move ahead with the healing & rebuilding process across the globe.

With the Coronavirus pandemic continuing, I decided to take another hiatus to focus on more pressing obligations – including focusing on a move to another part of St. Petersburg, FL. While I love the Burg, it was time for me to experience different parts of the city that I haven’t experienced in the past. And if you’re wondering, yes, I finally had the opportunity to check out the new Pier! More on that in a future post.

Anyhow, to keep this post short, as you can see – The Guidebook is back, though still in limited form. I’ve been able to implement a new theme, update the About section, add a few new photos to my PSTA subsection, & streamline each page to appear more uniform. As of the publishing of this post, I am slowly rebuilding my HART subsection, which will look similar to the PSTA subsection. The HART main info page is back up at this point, with various subpages to follow.

Once the HART subsection is back up, I will then shift my focus on revamping the Sarasota & Manatee County subsections, followed by Northern Tampa Bay. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I hope to complete this revamp by the end of March so that I can then focus on expansion sections.

Until next time, please be safe.

Please be sure to bookmark my website: globaltransitguidebook.com | Contact Me.

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Legalese | Disclosures


Labor Day 2020 Holiday Transit Schedules

If needing to use transit during the holiday, please be safe.

Labor Day will be on Monday, September 7, 2020. As always with many major holidays, transit agencies will be operating reduced schedules or may suspend service until the day after. With the Coronavirus pandemic still affecting all of us, it’s important to continue to only use transit avenues for essential trips. Additionally, most agencies are requiring customers to wear masks when on board & staggered seating & other capacity limits may be in effect.


Transit Agency Service Schedules

Please Note: I only list selected transit agencies in this post. If your respective area’s transit agency does not appear here, please contact them directly.

  • Florida
    • No Service
      • Pasco County Public Transportation (PCPT)
      • Hernando County Transit (TheBus)
      • Citrus County Transit
      • Polk Citrus Connection
      • Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT)
        • Anna Maria Trolley & Beach Express Trolley will operate
      • Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT)
      • SunRail
      • Escambia County Transit (ECAT)
        • Beach Trolleys will operate
      • Collier Area Transit (CAT)
      • MARTY (Martin County)
      • Lee Tran (Lee County)
    • Sunday-Level Schedules
      • Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART)
        • TECOline Streetcar will operate a modified Monday through Thursday schedule.
      • Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA)
      • Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX)
      • Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA)
      • StarMetro (Tallahassee)
      • Miami-Dade Transit (M-DT)
      • Broward County Transit (BCT)

Carolinas

  • Sunday-Level Schedules
    • Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA)
    • Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS)
    • Triangle System (Go Raleigh, Go Durham)
  • Tennessee
    • Sunday-Level Schedules
      • WeGo (Nashville)
  • Texas
    • Sunday-Level Schedules
      • Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority
      • VIA San Antonio
      • Capital Metro Austin
        • No MetroRail, UT Service, Night Owl, E-Bus or MetroExpress services.
  • Georgia
    • No Service
      • CobbLinc (Cobb County)
      • Gwinnette County Transit
      • Georgia State Road & Tollway Authority Xpress (GRTA Commuter Express Bus)
      • Augusta Transit
      • Columbus METRA
    • Sunday-Level Schedules
      • Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)
        • Heavy rail lines & the downtown streetcar will operate every 20 minutes.
    • Special Holiday Schedules
  • Virginia
    • No Service
    • Sunday-Level Schedules
      • Fairfax Connector (Fairfax County)
      • Arlington Transit (ART)
      • Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC)
    • Saturday-Level Schedules
      • Hampton Roads Transit (HRT)
        • Ferry Service will operate a regular schedule.
      • Williamsburg Area Transit Authority (WATA)
  • Washington, D.C.
    • Sunday-Level Schedules
      • Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
  • California
  • Please Note: I only list selected transit agencies in Northern California (Sacramento & San Francisco Bay Areas).
    • No Service
      • Fairfield and Suisun Transit (FAST)
      • Solano Transit (SolTrans)
      • All Solano Express Services
    • Sunday-Level Schedules
      • Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
      • Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit)
      • San Mateo Transit District (SamTrans)
      • Golden Gate Transit
      • Marin Transit
      • Caltrain
      • Sacramento Regional Transit
      • El Dorado Transit
  • Pennsylvania
    • Sunday-Level Schedules
      • Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority [(SEPTA) Philladelphia]
      • Port Authority of Allegheny County [(PAT) Pittsburgh]
  • New York & New Jersey
    • Sunday-Level Schedules
      • Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
        • Commuter rail schedules may vary.
      • Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH)
      • Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE)
      • Bee Line (Westchester County)
    • Schedules Vary
  • Massachusetts
    • No Service
      • Lowell Regional Transit Authority (LRTA)
      • Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA)
    • Sunday-Level Schedules
      • Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
        • Ferries will not operate.
      • Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA)
  • Vermont
    • Weekend/Holiday Schedule
      • Moover (Bennington/Wilmington Area)
  • Maine
    • No Service
      • Greater Portland Metro
      • South Portland
      • Bangor Community Connector
      • CityLink Lewiston
  • Illinois
    • Sunday-Level Schedules
      • Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
      • PACE Bus
    • Schedules Vary
  • National Services
    • Schedules may vary for national services such as Greyhound, Megabus, & Amtrak. Please visit their websites for details.
  • Disclaimers
    • Please note that further schedule modifications may be in effect due to Covid-19 (Coronavirus). Many transit agencies have dedicated Covid-19 information pages that will list key pieces of information such as modified schedules.
    • For Saturday, September 5, 2020 & Sunday, September 6, 2020; transit agencies that normally operate on Saturdays & Sundays will operate on these days.
    • While I do my best to provide an accurate listing of transit agencies & span of service, mistakes do happen. If you spot an inaccuracy, please reach out to me via the Contact Page so I can make corrections quickly.

Customer Service

As with many holidays, Customer Service centers may be closed or operate reduced hours on Labor Day. Please check with your respective transit agency for hours.


Resumption of Normal Services

Regular transit services will resume on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Please keep in mind that Covid-19 related service modifications will remain in place until further notice.


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Legalese | Disclosures

Coronavirus

Be safe

This post was last updated on 05/09/2020.


While the world has prevailed through past massive health crises such as chickenpox, swine flu, & SARS, the current epidemic with the Coronavirus has been taking hold in a way that prior crises have not. Throughout many parts of the globe; venues are closing, events are being cancelled or postponed, & yes – parts of the global transportation sector have been forced to either significantly alter the way things are done – or shut down entirely.

At this time, all blog posts & social media activities have been suspended until further notice. Additionally, the following changes to the site have been enacted:

  • The Spring Break 2020 & AirFest 2020 blog posts have been taken down.
  • All Transport sections, have been taken offline & will no longer show on the menus.
  • Website updates will still occur, but only behind the scenes. My intent is for the next major update to go online once the pandemic has passed.
  • The Global Transit Guidebook Forum Facebook Group has been archived until the pandemic has passed, thus the links have been removed from the menus. A replacement group is being worked on, but a link will not be available until a later date.

In the meantime, please be cautious of the abundance of misinformation out in the media – including on social media outlets. Follow only reliable sources & advice. But above all – please, wash your hands! That’s one of the most simplest things we can do to help slow the spread of communicable illnesses such as this.


Please be sure to bookmark my website: globaltransitguidebook.com | Contact Me.

You can also find me on Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Legalese | Disclosures

Transit 101 – Episode 9 – Lost & Found


In my final installment of Transit 101, I will discuss what to do if you happen to leave an item on board a bus or train. I personally know how frustrating it is to realize that you’ve left something on board the bus or train during your journey – as I’ve left my bike on a HART bus & a PSTA bus, each on separate occasions.


Reporting a lost item

We all forget things from time to time. If you ever leave an item on the bus or train, it’s important to contact the transit agency right away & provide as much information as possible to the customer service representative.

If ever that you leave an item on board the bus or train, immediately contact the transit agency’s customer service line & press the option to speak with a live representative. If it is after business hours, call the agency at your first opportunity on the next business day. Please be mindful that while most transit agencies have weekend hours for telephone customer service, not all do.

When speaking to the customer service representative, please provide as much information as possible about the item that you left, as well as the specific trip that you were on. It is very helpful to the representative if you’ve noted the following about your trip so that customer service can communicate the information to the lost & found department in checking if something was turned in or not.

  • Date of your transit ride, as well as the approximate time that you exited the bus or train.
  • Route number/designation.
  • Vehicle number if possible.
  • Location where you exited the vehicle at (station name, intersection, or stop ID number).
  • For those of us who are a tad more savvy in using transit than others, additional information – such as the run/block number can also help. Some transit agencies will have a special sign behind the windshield that will display the bus or train’s run/block number for dispatch purposes.

In some cases – depending on the agency – you can also report your lost item in person to a station agent, transit ambassador, or transit supervisor. Some agencies also have an online reporting form that you can use.


Checking the status

While most transit agencies have one, unified location for lost & found operations, it may take a few days for the item to be transferred over to the lost & found department – especially if you’re using a larger system like the New York MTA. You can periodically check back in with customer service via phone or physically visit the lost & found department location to see if your item was turned in or not. In some cases, the agency may contact you directly if they find that the item turned in matches your initial description.


Retrieving your item

PSTA Facility

When it has been confirmed that your item has been turned into the lost & found department, be sure that you take down any specific instructions as to where you can retrieve your item. From there, proceed to the lost & found department location provided. Once there, you will be asked to present your government-issued ID & confirm the item’s description to ensure that it is indeed your item. Once everything has been confirmed, the staff member will hand you back the item.

Keep in mind that each transit agency may have different procedures in respects to how long they can hold items in lost & found. Many agencies tend to have a 60 to 90 day policy, but you should contact the agency directly or check their website for details. Once the holding window has passed, the agency will typically auction or donate the items off. Items in poor condition may be disposed of.


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Transit 101 – Episode 8 – Still Need Assistance?



I hope you’ve enjoyed my Transit 101 series & have been able to get some helpful tips out of it. For those of you who may still be intimidated about riding public transit, some transit agencies offer complementary travel training programs to help assist first time transit riders.

Such programs will allow the rider to schedule an appointment with the transit agency & have a special transit agency staff member meet with the rider. The rider will then have a chance to learn how the system works, how to read a transit schedule, pay fares, make transfers, & ask the staff member any other questions that he or she may have about the system. Such programs are provided at no added cost to the rider & the transit agency offering the program will generally provide the first ride completely free.

When making your appointment with the transit agency, you will want to have a specific destination in mind – such a place of employment, school/university, or major point of interest (i.e. museums, zoos, etc.).

You don’t have to go it alone! Help is available.

The following transit agencies that I am aware of, provide complementary travel training programs. If you’re unsure as to whether yours does, please contact them directly.

  • Hillsborough Area Regional Transit: 813-254-4278.
  • Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority: 727-540-1900.
  • Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX): 407-841-5969.
  • Jacksonville Transportation Authority: 904-632-5249.

Please be sure to bookmark my website: globaltransitguidebook.com | Contact Me.

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Transit 101 – Episode 7 – Making Transfers

Can I make my transfer on time?

In this episode of Transit 101, I will be briefly discussing how to make transfers. Making transfers from one bus or rail route to another can sometimes be intimidating. However, it’s very important that you know what to do in order to make vital connections possible.


Parallel Transfers

One of the PSTA bus stops along FL State Road 580 in the Countryside area.

The first type of transfer is a parallel transfer. These are the easiest transfers to make because they do not always involve you having to cross a street – especially if multiple routes (regardless of direction) all serve the same stop at once.

The above photo is of one of several regular Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) bus stops by which you can easily make a parallel transfer to a variety of routes. This particular stop is #5281 along FL State Road 580 by Summerdale Dr (along the northern perimeter of Westfield Countryside Mall). All of the bus stops that surround the mall allow customers to make a parallel transfer to at least three other bus routes because buses are required to travel in a clockwise pattern in this area.

Many MUNI & BART rail stations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area are positioned in a way where parallel transfers can be easily made.

To make a parallel transfer, simply exit the bus or train at the stop or station, then wait for the next vehicle of your choice to arrive. Please always keep your distance away from the edge of the boarding platform & allow arriving customers to exit the vehicle first before boarding.

In cases where you may need to cross a street or platform to make your parallel transfer, please use extra caution. Follow applicable signage & if needing to cross a street – use a crosswalk if possible.


Perpendicular Transfers

The second type of transfer is a perpendicular transfer. This is where you would transfer from one service that intersects another. This type of transfer can be challenging because it requires customers to pay closer attention to where they’re going in order to make that transfer happen. In some cases, bus stops & rail platforms might not necessarily line up with each other, so it’s very important to follow applicable signage or use a map to help locate your particular transfer stop.

Illustration showing various perpendicular transfer examples.
Bus Stop Key: Route 7 stops (Brown), Route 9 stops (Red), Route 36 stops (Navy).
Purple dots are rail station exits.

In the above graphic, I illustrate a fictional city that has many bus lines, as well as a few light rail & subway lines. In this type of scenario, it can be tricky to make a transfer – let’s say between bus route 7 & bus route 9 because the stops don’t necessarily line up as opposed to the transfer between bus route 7 & bus route 36. The reason why some bus stops may not line up as well as others at certain intersections is due to situations by which placing a bus stop could create a very unsafe environment – such as turn lanes, rail lines, trees, & other unmovable obstructions. So in some situations, you may need to walk a bit farther to connect to your next route.


Transferring at a major transfer point

Major transfer points, like a transit center – serving multiple bus &/or rail lines – can bring forth a lot of convenience, but also a lot of confusion for first-time riders. It is very important here to examine station maps & signage to ensure that you are traveling to the correct route. Additionally, construction & other happenings may cause normal boarding locations to change or be skipped by some services. So in the event of such, you will need to be prepared to alter your commute if necessary.

It can be a challenge enough trying to locate a bus or rail platform at a major transfer hub, but construction could complicate things further.

One such example is the construction project at the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) Marion Transit Center in Tampa. Each of the bus bays are being reconstructed due to the bricks and concrete being worn out after many years. This construction has prompted the agency to re-assign bus staging throughout the complex.


Transfer Charges

When making transfers, please bear in mind that some transit agencies charge a separate “Transfer Fee” to make transfers. You will want to check with your respective transit agency before embarking on your trip. In many cases, transfer fees will not apply if you are using an all-day pass, weekly pass, or monthly pass.


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February, 2020 Photo of the Month

Showcase Time!

Happy 2020! Our February Showcase photo is here!

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) # 1104 at Marion Transit Center.

For this month’s photo, I held a quarterly contest in the Global Transit Guidebook Forum Facebook Group. Despite there being a few member submissions, my own contribution won out.

So with that being said, we return back to the Tampa Bay region & profile Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) # 1104, which was one of eight buses that the agency acquired from Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT). # 1104 entered revenue service on 10/07/2019 & has been on normal assignment on Routes 60LX or 275LX since. On occasion, it will be assigned to Routes 17, 20X, 24LX, 25LX, or 360LX.


Want to see your photo featured?

If you’d like to see your transit-related photo featured in the future, please select the Contact link below, or join The Global Transit Guidebook Forum Facebook Group.


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Gasparilla 2020

Pirates, & Beads, & Transit…oh my!

Post was updated on 01/24/2020

Yep, it’s that time again, for the annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival! The Parade of the Pirates brings in hundreds of revelers each year, & along with that…tons and tons of roadway closures. So here’s what you need to know if you plan on attending the parade on Saturday, January 25, starting at 2:00pm.

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