Bus full of Florida delegates ends up at casino instead of hotel

9:53 PM, Aug 30, 2012   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Many Florida delegates had smiles on their faces Wednesday night as they boarded their buses headed to the Republican National Convention.

But a chance to hear Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) speak wasn't the only reason.

They were happy just to have a ride.

"We have a major problem with the busing situation," said Lenny Curry, Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.

The delegates, already forced to stay at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, a great distance from downtown Tampa, aren't happy with their transportation either.

Some even missed the start of Tuesday's convention.

"The bus did not show up," said delegate Clint Pate.

Another told 10 News they got there about 40 minutes late.

Other delegates complained of having to sit in parked buses for several hours.

A few even got lost when a bus that was supposed to take them back to Innisbrook, ended up at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, 37 miles away, at 2 a.m.

"The bus went the wrong way on Hillsborough Avenue," said delegate Clyde Simpson.

Despite Tuesday's convention letting out around 11 p.m., some delegates didn't get home until 4 a.m.

"A complete and total fiasco," one person who rode the bus described.

When Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam spoke at breakfast Wednesday morning, a number of tables were completely empty because people chose to sleep in.

"I bet you like to have a good time, but 3 a.m. is taking it a bit far," Putnam joked with the audience.

The company hired for the RNC transportation is SP Plus Gameday out of Orlando.

Their website claims they've worked Super Bowls, Olympic Games, and Final Fours, but some people who rode the buses Tuesday say you would never know it.

"There has to be some better way," one person told 10 News.

Calls and emails from 10 News to the transportation company were not returned.

RNC organizers would only say they're working with the company to fix the problem.

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