Lunch and happy hour transportation options, with a side of convenience

By Matt Caven

At our new Southbank location, we’re a short hop from more options for lunch, dinner and happy hour in Jacksonville’s “urban core.” Rather than driving and dealing with the parking conundrum downtown is infamous for, alternative transportation makes getting there easy.

All negative connotations aside, your best bet for a hassle-free trip downtown is the Skyway Express. The closest access point is the Riverplace Station, just one block from our office, at the intersection of Flagler Avenue and Mary Street. The second closest point is next to the Acosta Bridge on San Marco Boulevard and Mary Street. Either way, you can’t beat the price – it doesn’t cost you a cent. The Skyway runs from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday – Friday. Just hop off at the Hemming Plaza Station and walk to your favorite restaurant. During peak times, the Skyway comes through the stations every three minutes; during down times, they circulate every six minutes.

For a more scenic and leisurely route, take water taxi. Taxis run from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday. They cost a little more, with adults paying $3 each way. Children, ages 10 and under, can ride the taxi for only two dollars. On weekends, rates are $5 for adults and $4 for children.

Smart map technology makes learning public transportation routes to downtown easier to understand. To find more details on a particular route, hover your mouse over the route name and it will display specific information. Here are some links, provided by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, you can bookmark for future reference:

Downtown Smart Map: http://www.smartmaps.com/test/jtfladtmap.htm

Downtown Skyway Schedule and Information: http://www.jtafla.com/Schedules/showPage.aspx?Sel=15 and http://www.jtafla.com/pdf/Skyway/skyway%20brochure.pdf

Water Taxi Information: http://downtownjacksonville.org/locations/l-152-jacksonville-water-taxi.aspx