Dan I. Cook takes a ride on public transportation and gives us the lowdown.
So for years I wanted to ride the Coral Springs Community Bus. Growing up, I used to take the county bus from St. Clements School in Wilton Manors to downtown Fort Lauderdale.
For some crazy reason I liked it.
I used to listen to my little radio and people watch. In the Marine Corps I used to hitchhike and take cabs on and off base all the time. All of this type of travel was due to the fact that I didn’t have wheels and was broke, so taking cheap transportation was a necessity.
Nowadays, I’ve become spoiled. So this week I wanted to experience those days and appreciate the things that I take for granted like having a car and going wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
I started out by getting to the nearest stop at 11:05 a.m. even though it’s supposed to come at 11:39 a.m. I walked from my house to NW 27 Drive and Forest Hills Boulevard and even came prepared with an umbrella because it rained earlier. Now the first thing I notice at the bus stop is there is no bench or shelter. WTF. I’ve zoomed past this bus stop hundreds of times and never noticed it. So can we get some damn shade here or at least a bench? It’s hot as hell out here!
My Chariot Arrives
At 11:42 a.m. Bus 1809 arrived. I looked online and saw the cost to ride was 50 cents. I put my money in the little metal container and sat down behind the driver and noticed that this person had ear phones on. C’mon, everyone knows you shouldn’t be driving with ear phones on especially when driving a bus. I was going to take a picture, but I’m not looking to get anyone fired or written up.
State of the Bus
The bus is in OK shape; nothing fancy about it. Best thing about it was the AC. It was working great and it felt fantastic after standing in heat for 30 minutes.
On the ride I noticed that almost all of the community bus stops did not have benches or shade. I’m sorry, that’s not right. As I was looking at the other three passengers on the bus, everyone looked tired and no one made eye contact with me. No biggie, I get it.
Kudos to my headphone-wearing bus driver who waited for a woman running to the bus stop so she could jump on. Good job with that.
I Need More
I get to the main community bus hub at Sample Road and University Drive and decide to hop off. It wasn’t a long ride but I saw what I wanted to see and I decided to check out the Broward County Transit Bus next. I walked across the street to the southeast corner of Sample and University where I was going to catch the number 34 bus east to the Peppertree Plaza area.
This bus stop had a nice shelter and looked brand new. Although all the seats were occupied, I was able to find shade by leaning up against a pole under the shelter. I asked a lady next to me how much did it cost to ride? She told me it was $1.75 and said the bus would come every 30 minutes or so. I didn’t have to wait long when the bus rolled up. A woman even loaded her bike on the front which I thought was cool. I got in and the driver looked like he was sitting in a cockpit. I paid and went to the back of the bus.
This bus was nice and pretty full, and the AC was rocking too. Near the front there was a scrolling marquee with numbers to call for suspicious activity where it would also display the bus location. If a stop was requested, you pulled the rope to signal the driver to get off. I noticed that there were at least three surveillance cameras situated on the bus and thought that was a great safety feature. As we approached major intersections and certain stops, a recording would come on in English and Spanish. It would announce where we were at and what businesses were near the stop. Pretty cool if you ask me.
As with the community bus, everyone seemed focused and eye contact was kept at a minimal. This was a pleasant ride and I liked it. I got off in front of the Lexus Dealership in Margate. It only cost $2.25 to get there and it was money well spent as a cab would have cost at least $15 bucks with tip.
So, my main critique is for the Coral Springs Community bus. Get some benches and shade for the people. These are just regular folks who take the bus because they have to, not because they want to. Take care of these folks because it could be you standing in the heat and rain. With that said, this local bus service is important because it goes through the streets that Broward County busses don’t go. It makes it a lot easier to go shopping, to work, or wherever your trip leads to. Got to thank the City of Coral Springs for having this service. Three buses for them.
As for the Broward County Bus, it’s pretty damn good. The bus was state of the art and the shelters are real nice. Good Job! Four buses for them.
So when you hop on the bus and forget about us, tell the driver that Dan and Coral Springs Talk sent you. Stay Cool and Dry because it’s hard with no shade or shelter.