Fare game

“Joe’s?”  “Prime 112?” 

 

That was the lunch location decision, as discussed by attorneys or lobbyists would be my guess, based on their suits, their files, and their lunch choices.  The lobby of the Miami-Dade County commission chamber was filled with a moving mass of people leaving the meeting. 

 

Me?  I was headed for the bus stop.

 

Miami-Dade commissioners had just voted to eliminate nine under-used bus routes and retool the service along dozens of others to save millions of dollars, more than $13 million.  So a bus ride was in order for the news report.

 

I have New York City subway card in my wallet with leftover fares for my next visit. When I lived in London, I rode the “tube”, the underground, everywhere I needed to go.  On off days, I’d get off at stops to explore a new neighborhood, and get back on – whenever – for the rumbling ride home.  But in the past two decades in Miami-Dade County, the closest I’ve come to a Metro bus was the one that ran into my car last summer.  (By the way, I really appreciated the County’s professional response and reparations for fixing my car).

 

Back to the bus.

 

We chose the 77 route, headed north up Northwest Seventh Avenue.  Standing room only at 4pm.  Comfortably air conditioned.  Driver polite and efficient, answering a few questions until some of those in the back yelled for the bus to keep moving.  Made friends with Luther.  Ok, not friends, but as acquainted as two people can become standing side by side, struggling to stay vertical, in a five minute ride between bus stops.  He works and he goes to school and he takes the 77 bus every day.  It’s a natural, habitual, crucial part of his day.  He listens to tunes along the way.  

 

His route 77 is not one of those scheduled for elimination; I’d guess from anecdotal evidence (i.e. the crowd) that it’s one of the more important links in the system. 

 

And I’d guess most of my fellow riders today did not have many options nor much choice in how they traveled from point A to point B.

 

In our South Florida, reality is (with a few exceptions) the ‘haves” have cars, the have-lesses use the bus.  As gas prices creep up up up, and maddening congestion simply creeps, how many of us would love the option of a bus route in our every day?  No gas bill, no insurance payment, no hunt for parking spaces, no parking tickets, time to read or make an acquaintance.

 

But buses don’t go where I need to.  Not conveniently, anyway. 

 

I’d guess none of the attorneys or lobbyists at the commission meeting arrived by bus, certainly not those guys trying to chose between South Beach power lunch spots.

 

One day, I hope Luther gets to go to lunch at Joe’s or Prime 112.  Maybe even on the bus.

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3 Responses

  1. […] Milberg’s Musings wrote an interesting post today on Fare gameHere’s a quick excerpt As gas prices creep up up up, and maddening congestion simply creeps, how many of us would love the option of a bus route in our every day?… […]

  2. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Hobbes

  3. I didn’t have any good experience riding on Miami-Dade buses. I have to do that after an accident because my car was wrecked and had to look for another transportation. Meanwhile, I had to suffer a lot waiting for buses that never came on time, or if they came they simply wouldn’t take you there (9 of 10 buses have a ” NOT IN SERVICE” in their front). Though I’ve been on the bus stop earlier, I always got late to work. And these drivers don’t care at all.

    By the way, most of them are ill-tempered and have a very bad attitude, as if they don’t enjoy their job. I bet they don’t, since they treat you like a bum. Yeah, and some of them make long stops most of the time, or they are on the phone chit-chatting.

    The only good thing about buses? A/C. It’s a relief after standing most of the time on the sun.

    Yeah, these buses never take you where you really need to go. Glad that I have a car again and hope I never have an accident.

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