Sunday, November 19, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Milestone for bay ferry

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Sometime in late January, the Cross-Bay Ferry linking the downtowns of St. Petersburg and Tampa reached a milestone. Ticket sales generated enough revenue to cover costs, so the management company began sending money back to the four local governments that funded the ferry's six-month pilot phase — $50,000 to date.

Those facts don't suggest that limited ferry service is in any way the answer to Tampa Bay's transportation needs. Far from it. And yet some key measures demonstrate a ferry is a viable option. The Cross-Bay Ferry is growing in popularity — ridership has been steadily increasing, with weekday sales outpacing weekend sales. It has an audience willing to spend money to get out of their cars. Maybe most important, it's a hit with Tampa Bay residents. Some 90 percent of tickets are bought by locals, not visiting tourists, according to ridership surveys.

Running twice daily on weekdays with more trips on weekends, the ferry is largely a leisure vehicle. It's not practical for most commuters, and the price is not cost-effective for frequent use. For people living in Brandon, Clearwater or Wesley Chapel, it does nothing to rescue them from gridlock. It was never meant to. But it shows the value of creative thinking on transit for a metro area so woefully behind its peers that it needs every success it can muster, no matter how quirky. And its viability has revived discussions about a MacDill commuter ferry, which would transport employees from south and east Hillsborough to and from the Air Force base during daily rush hour. Building on that regular service, an intercity ferry like the Cross-Bay, carrying other passengers during off-peak hours and on weekends, could become a permanent fixture.

Put the pieces together, squint your eyes and peer a couple years into the future, and it starts to look a little bit like bona fide transit.

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Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "I’m pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise — for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system — one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Kriseman’s own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

The University of South Florida recently surpassed its $1 billion fundraising goal, continuing a current trend of exceeding expectations. At 61 years old — barely middle age among higher education institutions — USF has grown up quickly. It now boast...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made payi...
Published: 11/14/17

Editorial: Deputies’ rescue reflects best in law enforcement

The bravery two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies showed a week ago is a credit to them and reflects the professionalism of the office.Deputies Benjamin Thompson and Trent Migues responded at dusk Nov. 11 after 82-year-old Leona Evans of Webster...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Another voice: An untrustworthy deal with Russia

President Donald Trump’s latest defense of Russian leader Vladimir Putin included — along with a bow to his denials of meddling in the U.S. election — an appeal to pragmatism. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,"...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17