On September 16, the St. Pete City Council is going to vote on a resolution to build a high-speed train between Orlando and St. Pete.

“Connecting St. Petersburg with the 25 million annual visitors to Disney is a game changing event for our economy and for the future of baseball in St. Petersburg,” Nurse says in a resolution he placed on council’s Sept. 2 agenda…The council deferred voting on the resolution until Sept. 16. A chance for a wider discussion on the issue will take place three days earlier, when St. Petersburg Councilman Jeff Danner chairs “Connecting Pinellas County to High-Speed Rail.”

Sounds great in theory. But how many people would really make the commute? Sure there are some hardcore fans, but we doubt that those fans add up to a significant impact. Even on a high-speed train, there is still a significant time commitment required that most people are not willing to make.

Would the train make stops in Hillsborough? That would increase the number of people with easy access to the Rays. But that would also significantly increase the commute time for those coming from Orlando.



  1. Carlos says:

    I don't believe this is the answer, it'll help but not significantly enough to make a difference. What the Rays need is more corporate support. They're not getting it in St. Pete.
    With Tampa being the largest cog in the Tampa Bay Market, and being home to so many Fortune 500 companies, it makes the most sense to have the team in Tampa. In other markets, even when fans are strapped for cash, the corporate realm carries the load and still provides decent attendance.
    Ticket sales and season tickets in St. Pete are 70% fans and 30% corporate. This is almost the exact opposite as other parks.
    It would be a shame for St. Pete to lose the team they worked so hard to get for this area, but it can't support it.

  2. Catlips says:

    I think the train from Tampa to St. Pete would be a local light-rail line connecting to the coming high-speed rail line in Tampa. Nobody's going to build a bullet train to the Trop!

  3. Beth says:

    I very much believe that a more robust transit system would help build attendance for the stadium, the so-called "bullet train" is unrelated to that. Nurse seems to misunderstand the function and the technology of high speed rail. You don't want or need very costly high speed rail technology to get people from a station in downtown Tampa to one in downtown St. Pete. You need some version of light rail, which would then provide transportation options to the stadium for anyone coming from the downtown Tampa area, as well as the handful (probably small handful) that would come by high speed rail from Orlando.

  4. Thad says:

    I think it's a councilman trying to get his name in the paper myself. No way anyone in Orlando at disney would consider a weeknight trip to trop with at least an hour travel time. Plus they'd prob have to catch it in downtown Orlando increasing the travel time.

    BTW, the Feds have pledged a chunk of the money for rail service between Orlando Tampa Miami. He's prob just talking abt trying to get more money for just extension to st Pete. More pork for the constituents.

  5. Matt says:

    The way your article is worded is confusing.

    There is already a high-speed rail being made between Orlando and Tampa. This proposal is to EXTEND it to St. Pete.

    So it would obviously stop in Tampa.

    • Beth says:

      Agreed -- the post makes it seem as though Nurse is proposing an entirely new line. Rather, he's seeking to extend a line already planned - and probably as others have said just to try to get a piece of the federal spending action for Pinellas.

  6. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Sorry Cork, I don't think that a Bullet Train will solve the Rays attendance problem. Just don't see it man.

  7. In order to solve this, I have to ask "would anyone in Tampa take a bullet train to a Magic game during the middle of the week"? I would maybe once a season. Definitely not enough to make an impact. Then I would ask how many Rays fans are in Orlando? More than Magic fans in Tampa/St Pete/Clearwater?
    I agree with other folks, I think this is just wishful thinking. Especially on Mon-Thurs games.

  8. Leighroy says:

    For the city of St. Pete I think some sort of rail system that connects to the proposed high-speed lines from Orlando to Tampa to Miami are necessary. I think it may help attendance but not in any dramatic fashion, nor enough to nullify any need for a new stadium. But in the bigger picture the whole state severely lacks an adequate rail system infrastructure and this would be necessary for pinellas county to have any long term growth.

    Having said that, a high-speed line is not the answer. St. Pete really only needs 1 line of light-rail going to Tampa so that they can have stops at Derby Lane, Gateway Area and the airport along the way, along with whatever other destinations are needed. High-speed rail should really only be used for getting people from region to region, not neighborhood to neighborhood in a metropolitan area.

    I like that community leaders are starting to address the transportation infrastructure, but I think they really are clueless as to what they are actually doing. I can't believe it has taken us this long just to even begin discussing rail transport in our area. We might be the largest metropolitan area in the country without some sort of rail infrastructure, and to me, it's one of the biggest reasons why growth has halted so abruptly for the Tampa Bay area and helps explain why no one is willing to drive 45 minutes + to baseball games when you have to fight massive congestion just to travel 15 miles.

  9. BW says:

    I live in Orlando and there are definitely alot of Rays fans here. I would be on that train to St Pete so much its not even funny. Especially if it had a drink car. And a nap car for the ride back.

  10. Paul says:

    The lack of transportation is one thing, but aside from that is the fact the Rays have never made any attempt to tap in to the vast market of tourists with plenty to spend, and a LOT of them eager to sample a big-stadium sport of some kind.

    When I came over with my kid from the UK for the first time in '07, we considered not going to see a game because it meant the extra expense of having to hire a car to get there. All of the Orlando parks were served either by hotel or local transportation (or a cheap taxi from LBV) so we hadn't planned on the extra expense of car hire. In the end, we hire the car and fall in love, but the lack of public transport must be very off-putting for a large %.

    Most of the package companies in the UK (and most probably everywhere) offer excursions to certain attractions, and i've always wondered why the Rays have never tapped in to that market. Most of them already do excursions to Busch Gardens, so it definitely isn't out of reach of the Disney market by coach to the Trop.

    In any case, better transportation is still a must for the whole area, but is way too late to save the Trop.

  11. hellrayser says:

    This is typical of the insulting approach to public transport in Florida, nay, America: neglect it for several decades, fail to build the network of short-distance commuter routes that actually make it viable, and then, out of nowhere, offer to spend a few billion on one long route connecting two places with relatively little traffic between them. I don't see a St. Pete extension having much of an effect on Rays attendance - and even if it did, it's a boondoggle that should be put down like a rabid dog. Floridians need actual jobs, economically sustainable development that's based on something other than tourism and real estate, and a decent local transport system, not more trips to or from Disney.


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