Tampa Airport Trains (TPA)
Tampa International Airport is one of the larger airport of the American state of Florida, and serves the Tampa Bay Area. It is known by its IATA code of TPA, and is located approximately 6 miles from the Central Business District of Tampa. It is a modern airport that has been rated as one of the best in the world for its services, and is well equipped for all arriving and departing passengers. However, although there are several options for ground transportation, there is no Tampa International Airport train station for railway transport. Trains are only used on the airport grounds for the transport of passengers between the airport buildings.
Tampa’s airport has a large number of domestic and international flights by a selection of airline companies, of which Silver Airways uses the airport as a hub location. There are approximately 72 non-stop destinations served from the airport, by airline companies such as Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, and the international flights of the airport head for cities in Mexico, the United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland and areas in the Caribbean. The airport’s Landside/Airside terminal was designed with convenience in mind, and was a completely unique building at the time of its construction. While the baggage claim halls, ticketing counters and check-in facilities are located in the main terminal, the airline gates are found at four satellite buildings that are referred to as A, C, E and F. There are also many other facilities located in the main building and at the satellites, for example, airline lounges, restaurants, duty-free stores, gift shops and banking services.
The satellite buildings of Tampa International Airport are located at quite a distance from the Landside/Airside Terminal, and therefore passengers make use of the APM system, or the automated people mover system, which is a driver-less train that moves between all the airport’s buildings. The APM is accessible from the third level of the terminal, referred to as the Transfer Level. This level houses all the shuttle (train ) stations, as well as the Airport Galleria, a shopping area, and other facilities. The airport trains are frequently available, as they are vitally important for the smooth functioning of the airport, as there are no other ways to reach the airline gates from the Landside/Airside Terminal. Only passengers who have cleared the security checks may board the trains, therefore the APM is on the airside of the airport.
The people mover trains of Tampa Airport are of interest as they were the first of their kind to be installed out of all the airports in the world. (The terminal layout of the airport was also the first of its type in the world). The first trains that were used for passenger transport were built by Westinghouse, but there are now sixteen Bombardier Innovia APM 100 Shuttle Cars in service. Although not the largest APM system in the world, it is one of the most important, and since it was the first to be constructed, it is the longest running of all the people mover trains in the world.
The people mover system of the airport is automated, which means that it does not have a physical driver, and is free of charge to all passengers. The system is also completely accessible to disabled passengers, elderly persons and persons in wheelchairs. In fact, the entire airport complex is regarded as accessible.
People mover trains of the airport also connect passengers to the long-term and short-term parking garages that are some distance from the terminal. The parking lots are accessible twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week by monorail, besides on one night when the system is shut down for maintenance reasons (passengers will then use the walkway from the main terminal). The monorail trains are found on the fifth level of the main terminal.
Future plans for Tampa International Airport include an Intermodal Centre that will allow passengers to more easily access the bus routes offered by HART and PSTA. HART is the public transportation company of Tampa, and their name stands for Hillsborough Area Regional Transit. They operate many forms of bus services within the city, as well as a few streetcars. At this point in time there is no light rail system in Tampa, but plans for the future may include one. If light rail comes to the Tampa area, it will also be connected to the Tampa International Airport, and a light rail station will be constructed at the airport’s Observation Deck area.
From Tampa International Airport, passengers can take a taxi to the Amtrak station of the city, located at 601 Nebraska Avenue. The name of the station is Union Station, and it was built in 1912. It is now also listed on the US National Register of Historic Places and is considered as one of the landmarks of the city. It is a station for the Silver Star Line, with trains that connect Miami to New York City. The station has an enclosed waiting area, a ticket office and various other facilities, including restrooms that are accessible to passengers in wheelchairs. The ticket office is open from Monday to Sunday between the hours of 08:15am and 06:15pm.
Additional information regarding the APM system of the airport, or the Tampa International Airport trains, is available from the airport, at the following contact number: 813-870-8700. Ground transportation information is available at 813-870-8718.