If you’ve passed through LaVilla or by the Prime Osborn Convention Center lately, you might have noticed that construction is ramping up at the future site of Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center.
JRTC, as JTA calls it, is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, with its Greyhound intercity bus terminal opening as early as mid-2018.
But what exactly is it, and how will it improve transportation in Jacksonville?
The project consists of two major phases. The first phase, which should open in the coming months, is a new Greyhound intercity bus terminal to replace the dilapidated station on Pearl St.
It would be connected by a pedestrian bridge over Forsyth St. to phase two, a giant transit hub that would act as a central station for the Skyway and First Coast Flyer. The Skyway station within the project would be designed to fit with JTA’s future Skyway revamp, the Ultimate Urban Circulator. It’ll also feature a large outdoor plaza, designated parking for taxis, kiss-n-ride, and car share services like Uber, and around 35,000 square feet of administrative office space for JTA.
In total, it’s expected to cost about $57 million to complete.
The key advantage of the new facility will be efficiency. It’ll bring all of the services JTA offers into one central hub, allowing commuters to easily jump from the Skyway to First Coast Flyer, from the Flyer to an Uber or taxi, and so on.
As it stands, the city’s main bus hub is near Springfield, the Greyhound station is on the opposite side of downtown, and the Skyway’s operations are centered in Brooklyn. JTA’s offices, meanwhile, are scattered among a few different buildings.
With everything in one place, it only makes sense that things will run more smoothly.
Another added advantage of this state-of-the-art new facility is the ability to embrace the future of transportation in Jax.
A central station makes the First Coast Flyer seem more accessible to those wanting to try it for the first time. And with the Flyer’s routes set to be completed by the time JRTC opens, it’ll allow JTA to make a big push for residents to come out and give it a try – something JTA is banking heavily on those who normally avoid the bus to do.
The new facility also embraces newer methods of transportation like ride sharing apps, and JTA indicates that a bike sharing service is likely to be added as well.
And with its location in LaVilla near what was once Union Station, the possibility of a future expansion to incorporate commuter rail into JRTC is far from a stretch. In fact, JTA hopes to explore the option of bringing a new Amtrak station into the fold once the first two phases are completed.
Of course, a lot of the potential usefulness of the transit hub rests on whether Jax residents will embrace JTA’s newer efforts like the First Coast Flyer or the revamped Skyway. The best they can do is try to make public transportation in Jacksonville a more efficient and enjoyable experience – and it looks like JRTC will certainly help with that.