New type of taxi could fly over Tampa Bay

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The way of the future is not so far off with Bay Area leaders discussing the possibility of sky taxis traveling to and from Tampa and St. Petersburg.

"I really thought of it kind of like Jetson material and I didn't take it seriously," said Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey.

Starkey said the idea came up Friday during the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority committee meeting. It is no longer just a part of cartoons. Sky taxis are unmanned passenger air travel and in development in the U.S. and around the world. 

"I personally feel we need to be ready to embrace all technology," said Starkey.

Along with Starkey, Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long and Tampa International Airport have been in talks with companies about that type of air travel, and they say Tampa Bay would be the perfect place to test the flights.

"We can take off from our airports like the Tampa airport and land in our St. Pete/Clearwater airport and most of that travel is over water. So you're not putting any citizens at risk," said Starkey. "Let's say for example, you take some sort of vehicle down the Bus Rapid Transit lanes, and you get to one of our stations. Then, you go up to the roof of the station, and there's a platform and you get on an air taxi."

No plans are in the works yet to bring the technology to Tampa Bay, leaders said they want to explore any option to enhance local transit.

"I think that we all have to keep an open mind and understand that transportation in our children's generation is going to very different than the transportation of today," said Starkey.

Starkey said there are plans to meet with a German company to talk about the taxis next month.

A TPA spokesperson said they are working to see when the sky taxis would be ready to launch.