||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2010)|
|Type||Automated people mover|
|Termini||Convention Center (west)
Kings Avenue (south)
Rosa L. Parks/FCCJ (north)
|Operator(s)||Jacksonville Transportation Authority|
|Line length||2.5 mi (4.0 km)|
|No. of tracks||2|
|Operating speed||35 mph (56 km/h)|
The JTA Skyway is a people mover in Jacksonville, Florida, in the United States. It is operated by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. The course of its 2.5-mile (4.0 km) track includes the Acosta Bridge, spanning the St. Johns River, which divides downtown Jacksonville. Each train is automated by ATC (Automatic Train Control), can have two to six cars, and travels at up to 35 mph (56 km/h) per hour. There is currently no fare to ride the Skyway.
The Skyway has evolved after many years of study by both citizens and professional transportation planners. The concept of a downtown peoplemover was originated in the early 1970s as part of a comprehensive mobility plan. The first study was completed by the Florida Department of Transportation and the planning department of the city of Jacksonville. In 1977, these two agencies brought the project to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) for continued development and implementation. Following completion of an 18-month feasibility study, Jacksonville was selected by the federal Urban Mass Transit Administration as one of seven cities to participate in the nationwide Downtown Peoplemover Program. The plan called for the construction of a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) Phase I system (see map of routes and station locations). Other examples of operating downtown people mover systems are the Miami Metromover and the Detroit People Mover. Work on the initial 0.7-mile (1.1 km) Phase I-A segment was begun in 1984. It had only three stations (Terminal, Jefferson and Central). This work was completed in 1989 and two vehicles operating in a double shuttle configuration were placed in service. The technology used was the French MATRA system.
Implementation of the full 2.5-mile (4.0 km) Phase I system began in 1992. Negotiations with MATRA to provide systems for the new extensions were not successful. In October 1994, a new supplier—Bombardier Inc.—was awarded the contract for the new extensions as well as the job of replacing the MATRA technology that was operating on Phase I-A. Bombardier supplied a version of its UM III monorail vehicles similar to those in use at the Tampa International Airport in Florida. These new vehicles operate without drivers on a monorail beam, 34 inches (86.4 cm) wide and 28 inches (71.1 cm) deep. These beams rest on a guideway that is 11 feet (3.35 m) wide and is constructed with a 30-inch (76.2) high parapet wall on each side to reduce noise, aid drainage and provide for personnel protection.
All stations are 120 ft (36.6 m) long and designed to accommodate anywhere from a two to a six car train. Station platform widths are typically 28 ft (8.5 m) but may be wider at the three multimodal stations ( see the photo of the intermodal Florida Community College at Jackson (FCCJ) station). There are 18 bus bays in this station as it is Jacksonville's major bus transit transfer point. It has won awards for its design and is regarded as a state-of-the-art intermodal transit station. The maximum waiting time for vehicles has been set at 180 seconds or three minutes. The maximum line capacity is 3,600 persons per hour per lane without need to replace system components. As can be observed on the system map, the point of confluence of the primary routes, the Y-junction switch, presents a significant operation constraint on the system limiting the number of trains that can be operated on the system at any one time.
In February 2012, the JTA declared the Skyway would be free for three months until the STAR card payment system become active. However, the number of people riding the Skyway skyrocketed once it became free, so the JTA is keeping it free until October 2013.
The Skyway has been one of the biggest points of contention in Jacksonville. It has been suggested that it is a train "to nowhere".
Some critics[who?] have suggested that extensions into neighboring communities like Riverside, San Marco, and Springfield would improve the line's usefulness. Further, it has been noted[by whom?] that the Skyway would attract ridership from the proposed (but unbuilt) East Line, which would resolve the issue of Jacksonville's rail transit system being one of the few in the country that does not serve its local sports district. However with the development of two Hilton hotels on the southbank JTA is looking at several possible extensions for the Skyway. One concept would extend the Skyway southward under Interstate 95 down to the hotel site while another plan calls for expansion all the way to Atlantic Boulevard. This would allow customers of the Hilton hotels to access the shops and restaurants of San Marco, the convention center, and various other places downtown.
- Rosa Parks Station (Florida State College at Jacksonville)
- Hemming Plaza Station (Hemming Plaza)
- Central Station
Convention Center trains:
- Jefferson Station
- Convention Center Station (at the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, formerly called Terminal)
Kings Avenue trains:
See also 
- "$200 Million Ride to Nowhere:". Retrieved 2009-12-26.