Yesterday I decided to try out the public transit system for the lower Keys. Seeing as how I no longer have a vehicle and it is 50 miles to Key West the bus system was one of the alternatives I looked at when deciding to go car free.
There is a pretty good little system for the lower Keys to get from Marathon to Key West. It is run by the Key West Transit System. They maintain two routes that go from the upper end of Marathon at the Walgreens and run all the way to and through Key West including stops at all the major Keys, the community college, shopping areas in Key West, old Town, and the airport. On Key West itself they have 4 other routes that stay on the island so you can get around pretty quick. The fares are cheap. Straight cash for a one way between Marathon and Key West is $4. There are discounts for students, kids, and seniors, and you can buy different passes. Compare that with driving down and back at $4 a gallon in a vehicle that get 20 mpg and you can save a lot.
The busses are short, of course. Fits in with the Keys. They hold about 30 people and seem to have a decent amount of passengers. While they are not luxury limos, they are comfortable enough although some of the drivers like to run the ac at arctic temps.
Yesterday I made a test run to see where the routes go, pick up a pass, and generally get a feel for riding the bus since it will be a more common thing now. As expected there were a few “colorful” characters on board. You had your required mother with the two screaming brats who never shut up during the entire ride. The punk teen with the droopy drawers who would occasionally share his music with the rest of us, he entertained us further when an apparent buddy whom he did jail time with boarded on the trip. They spent a but of time reminiscing about the various crimes they had committed and how much time they had spent in the slammer. Exciting conversation to say the least. And then there were a few tourist families who bitched about the high cost of bus fare and pored over maps of Key West. Nothing major or earthshaking, about what i was expecting.
The trip took about 2 hours one way. It was particularly nice as it was pouring rain, traffic sucked, and I didn’t have to drive. I could get used to that.
The busses make a run to Marathon about every 2 hours or so running from 6 am to 11:30pm. It’s a cheap and easy way to get around the lower islands and I highly recommend it to save yourself some time, money and aggravation. Hit the link above to get more info.
Driving the bus would be a great gig…if you didn’t have to stop all the time and pick up or drop those damn people off all the time.