AirJTA: Ghost Bus?

August 24, 2007 39 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

AirJTA is a regularly scheduled bus service from Downtown Jacksonville to the Jacksonville International Airport. This service is a fast and economical way to get to the airport; the only problem is, no one is riding.

Does anyone know about this service?

Metro Jacksonville contacted the concierges at four downtown Hotels; the Hyatt, the Crowne Plaza, the Omni, and the Wyndham Jacksonville (previously the Radisson). Not one of these hotels could recommend the AirJTA service when specifically asked if there is public transportation from the airport to downtown.

The Crowne Plaza explicitly stated that no such service exists.

The Wyndham stated there is no bus service and recommended a taxi.

The Omni stated there is no bus service and recommended a car service, at a cost of $29.

The Hyatt was the most helpful and suggested a call to JTA to find out about such a thing. They even provided JTA's phone number.

Not one of these hotels knew the service existed, and that is a major problem. It is possible that they are encouraging their guests to use a specific car service, but it is also possible that they truly don't know about the service.

JTA needs to contact these hotels and give them information about this service. If JTA has already done this in the past, they need to contact them again. It may not be JTA's fault that these hotels have not actively researched new ways to get to the airport, but they certainly can do something about it. Put together a short informational packet explaining the service, the cost, and the schedule.

Public transportation from any city's downtown to the airport is a fairly basic and essential service. JTA was smart for starting this service, but it needs to be promoted.

At the current passenger level, this service may not survive.

AirJTA service breakdown

The AirJTA shuttle bus costs $3.

Advantages to AirJTA
1. Only costs $3 each way
2. Travel time from FCCJ Transit Station is comparable to a taxi or private car
3. Free parking is provided at the Kings Avenue Garage

Potential problems afflicting this service:
1. Downtown route parallels the skyway, adding to travel time
2. Lack of promotion
3. Frequency is only approximately every 1.5 hours
4. No weekend service

Looking at JTA's website, it is nearly impossible to find out about this service, especially if you are not familiar with its official name: AirJTA / NS-33.

The schedule and route for NS-33 can be found here