Newcomers relocating to Jacksonville from prominent US cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles with their sophisticated public transportation resources may find that getting around requires a bit more effort than they are accustomed to.
Jacksonville is a sprawling city and getting about without a car may prove difficult. The city’s public transport networks are fairly limited and really only serve the downtown area sufficiently.
E-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft are well-established in Jacksonville and provide an excellent alternative for those that don’t drive.
Public transport in Jacksonville
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) is the body that oversees the city’s public transport network. The system consists of a fairly extensive bus network, a monorail system, known as the Skyway, and a couple of trolley routes.
Rosa Parks Transit Station is the city’s main transport hub where commuters can transfer between bus routes or join the Skyway system.
Although Jacksonville’s bus service connects much of this massive city, the system has severe limitations. Buses in Jacksonville rarely run on time and commuters can expect to wait between 30 minutes to an hour between services, which can be incredibly frustrating.
While operating hours are occasionally extended to accommodate special events, generally speaking, buses in Jacksonville stop running at around 8pm or 9pm, depending on the particular route.
Bus fares are cheap and those that are planning on using buses as their primary mode of transport should consider investing in a STAR Card, which offers daily and weekly passes at discounted rates.
The Skyway is Jacksonville’s free elevated monorail service that connects particular points of interest in the city centre. There are eight stations located throughout the Northbank, Southbank and Lavilla districts.
The Skyway only operates during the week from 6am to 9pm. From time to time, additional weekend services will be made available if there is a special event taking place.
While the Skyway provides a great way to get around Jacksonville’s city centre, it is generally something that is used by visitors rather than long-term residents.
There are also two trolley routes that operate in Jacksonville. One route services the area from downtown Jacksonville up to the Riverside district. The other route runs between Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach.
Trolley fares in Jacksonville are minimal. Be aware that trolley services only operate during selected hours which are subject to change so always be sure to check the schedule before planning a journey.
As with the Jacksonville Skyway, trolley services aren’t regularly used by Jacksonville residents and are geared more towards holidaymakers.
Taxis in Jacksonville
A number of traditional taxi services operate in Jacksonville but fares can quickly add up considering the size of the city and distance between places.
Taxis are readily available in the city centre, especially close to tourist hotspots. New residents may find it is difficult to access taxi services in the suburbs, though, as most people opt to use their own cars to get about. It's therefore best to have a number on hand and book ahead of time when travelling from the suburbs.
E-hailing services in Jacksonville
E-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft have an established presence in Jacksonville. Rates are also more reasonable than one would pay for the equivalent taxi ride.
These services are a great alternative for occasions when one doesn’t want to drive. Users simply need to download the relevant app onto their smartphone and register for an account using their credit card.
Cycling in Jacksonville
In recent years, cycling has become a popular pastime in Jacksonville. Cycling isn't really the most efficient way of commuting in a city as large as Jacksonville, but having a bike is useful when it comes to getting around central neighbourhoods such as Riverside, Avondale and Murray Hill.
Cycling is not just a great way to stay active, but it provides an excellent opportunity to explore parts of Jacksonville that aren’t always accessible by car.
Walking in Jacksonville
While commuting on foot isn't practical, new arrivals will find that many of Jacksonville's suburbs are incredibly walkable and safe.
Once in the city centre, taking a walk is a nice way to explore the hidden corners of Jacksonville at a leisurely pace. Popular neighbourhoods for walkers include Riverside, San Marco, Fairfax, Avondale and Murray Hill.
Driving in Jacksonville
Given the size of the city, driving is the most practical way of getting around. Having a car makes life infinitely easier and gives people the freedom to explore Jacksonville and its surrounds at leisure.
Most Jacksonville residents own a car and investing in a vehicle will certainly help newcomers get acquainted with the city faster.