Jan 092015

Except maybe for the sunsets, which are still free….so far.  The other day I made my way over to the city offices on Flagler and picked up another monthly bus pass.  It’s a helluva deal.  For just $15 if you are old, feeble, and over 60, or a student, and $20 for the rest of you, you can ride any of the 4 city busses as much as you want for a month.  I’ve been taking great advantage of the Key West Transit system ever since my last bicycle wreck convinced me that my days on anything with less than 4 wheels is at an end.

Getting around Key West by vehicle is a pain in the ass.  Parking is severely limited and expensive.  The streets are narrow and crowded with pedestrians, bicycles, and chickens.  Gas is still expensive and the salt will eat away every bit of metal on your pride and joy.

Bicycles are ok, if you don’t mind wrecking, running into walking tourists who insist on taking up all the bike paths by themselves, and risk being run over by said vehicles.

Walking is ok too but even on an island this size, it’s nice to be able to get from point A to point 2 a little quicker, although sometimes I’ve managed to walk a distance faster than some of the busses.

I still walk quite a bit but with the bus stop just down the street a couple hundred yards it makes sense to use it.  The four city busses run all day and most of the evening.  They are color coded so you can figger out the routes.  The Blue and the Green run a circuit around the island, passing the airport, and onto Stock Island.  The Red and Orange do a sort of figure eight from Stock Island to Old Town crossing at Key Plaza where most of the conventional shopping is.

I’ve found if I time it right, I can catch a bus into Key Plaza, get my shopping done in less than an hour, and only have a short wait to catch a bus back out to the marina.  Very handy.

On Sundays just the Blue and Green run, and all busses stop for certain holidays.  And they will add extra services for special events to ensure all the drunks get home safely.

The busses themselves hold about 20 or so and are rarely full.  They are comfortable enough with ac but a bit noisy.  The drivers are for the most part pretty nice save for one certain driver that everyone hates.  They can accommodate anyone with a disability, can carry a couple bicycles, and you can get weekly passes direct from the driver.

For those wanting to head up the Keys for whatever reason, there are 2 busses that go all the way to Marathon.  They are a bit more expensive but not by much.  And from Marathon you can catch the Dade/Monroe express into Miami.  In fact, you can ride the bus all the way to Miami airport for under $15 if you can ever figger out the Miami transit system.  As easy as the Key West system is, Miami requires a degree in transportation science to diagnose which bus to take where.  I’ll stay here in the Keys, thank you very much.

But, as I said, if you are going to be looking to get around Key West, don’t want to walk or bike, and prefer to leave the vehicle at home, the Key West Transit remains your best bang for the buck.  You can pretty much get to within a few blocks of any place on the island by taking the correct route.  If you go to the link above you’ll see an up to date map with each bus and where it is at that moment.  It works just as well on a mobile device.  They keep to a reasonably decent schedule and are usually on time, but don’t be surprised if they are a bit late now and then.  Sometimes they run on island time.

The cost is more than affordable.  You don’t have to worry about traffic, parking, the weather, or none of that stuff.  Even if you ain’t coming to Key West, take a look at the public transportation options where you live.  How close is the bus stop?  Do they make regular stops near where you shop or work?  Look at their schedule and fares and decide if maybe the bus is a viable option for getting around.

For me, it’s still the best deal on the island.  $15 a month to let somebody else haul my fat ass around?  Works for me.

Capt. Fritter