Public transportation is quite challenging in Jacksonville, considering the sheer size of the city in landmass. At 757.7 square miles, the city of Jacksonville is the largest city in the continental United States.
As to be expected, Jacksonville doesn't have as comprehensive or as quality of a public transit system as many other large cities, particularly those that are very compact. One of the biggest cons of living in Jacksonville is the necessity of owning an automobile, as traveling within the city limits can be challenging if not in one of the city's more walk-able and bike-friendly neighborhoods.
As with the city's highways and roads, public transportation is managed by JTA, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.
The city's most advanced (and most criticized) form of public transportation is the JTA Skyway, a monorail automatic people mover centered in Downtown Jacksonville's Hemming Plaza.
The JTA Skyway has been the source of public debate for years. Construction began in the late 1980s and was completed in the early 1990s. To this day, the Skyway remains a technological wonder, although certain functions of it need to be updated. There are less than a dozen such systems in the rest of the United States.
The Skyway debate revolves around funds, as most public debates do. Original ridership projects of 30,000 to 50,000 per day were never met, and the Skyway presently has around 3,000 riders per day.
Its annual drain on the city's budget is somewhere in the $5 to $6 million dollar range. Skyway proponents argue the reason for the low ridership totals is the Skyway's limited 2.5-mile route, which doesn't even reach EverBank Field, a venue that attracts 50,000 to 70,000 people each Sunday during the NFL season, or the well-populated Riverside and San Marco districts.
Some have called the JTA Skyway a "Train to Nowhere" for this reason, arguing it needs to be expanded to increase ridership and revenue. Opponents argue for its deconstruction, although this would be tricky due to the conditions of the federal grant obtained to partially fund the Skyway's construction.
Despite being a somewhat mediocre system overall, primarily due to Jacksonville's sheer size, JTA has dynamic future plans for public transportation. Check out their Public Transportation for the Future website for more information.
For the list of bus schedules and routes, visit the JTA website for the most up to date information.