Below is an excerpt from an email I received this morning from my friend, an occasional bus commuter from Miami Beach to Downtown Miami.

Dude,

I took the bus this morning. Let me bore you with the details. Because my parking permit at Miami-Dade Community College expired (the court provides no parking for clerks), and I have to re-register for a summer class (that I do not need to take) to get access to the world’s crappiest parking lot, I took the bus. I missed the bus, waited 20 minutes, and finally caught the C.

When i got on the bus, i sat in the back, and guy with long hair covered in tattoos sitting on a bag of crushed cans began grooming his hair. He untied his ponytail and ran his fingers through his hair. It smelled like a barn. Hair went everywhere. Naturally, I moved to where a spot had opened up in the front row. As soon as I sat down I noticed the guy in front of me, a guy probably in his 30s who hadn’t paid to get on the bus (I heard the driver yelling at him when he got on, but she still let him on) took up 4 seats, lying sideways in handicap accessible row, with his legs and arms splayed. He had a crumpled 20 dollar bill in his hand, which he took out and put away in his pocket several times, and he smelled like Monday’s booze. He tried talking to me a few times. I ignored him for a while and eventually said, “I’m listening to my headphones, sorry” which was true, in a pissed off voice with my sunglasses still on. In response, or so it seemed, he took out a comb and began scrubbing his head like a brillo pad in front of everyone. The bus stopped every 30 seconds, and he never moved for anyone, and everyone accommodated him trying to pretend that all was normal because no one wanted to have to talk to him. The bus driver did nothing, naturally. Finally we got to the other side of the McCarthur Causeway and I’d had enough, so I got off right at the base of the exit ramp. I’ll walk 15 minutes to the office, I thought, just let me off. Also, I hate how the bus goes to the bus stop (Omni Station), which is a stupid mandatory detour for anyone commuting to downtown. Of course, my new friend decided to get off with me, then proceeded to follow me for about 5 blocks until he couldn’t keep up, at which point he fell behind and eventually out of my sight. I thought about turning and just popping him as hard as I could, but he was about 20 feet behind me the entire time so there was no need, and also, that’s not something I typically do.

I finally traverse my way through the streets of Miami, where cars zoom past me, where I see billboards and trucks but not one one coffee shop, restaurant, store, or habitable dwelling. Finally, as I get to the MDCC campus, which is right across the street from the courts, I see my same C bus pulling up. It’s the same speed as walking! Not on the causeway, but once you’re in Miami it moves at the same pace as a pedestrian (or at least, someone like me who walks rather fast).

The system is designed in such a way that people like me (i.e. employed, kind of a yuppie) give up because the mass transit is so inconvenient, slow, and disgusting. This is coming from someone who LOVED the subway system in NY and DC. In Miami, I’d rather wait in traffic, spend 20 minutes parking, and burn gas (btw, there’s no way it costs $3/day in gas to drive from SoBe to work and back - if they really wanted people to take the bus, they might want to make it cost effective), than have to deal with the bus situation each day.

OK, thanks for listening to my rant. I actually feel a bit better.

Yikes. Lucky for him, he won’t be enduring this much longer. He heads back to New York City towards the end of “summer.” I also suggested he try joining me in the bicycle commute sometimes soon. Unfortunately, his place of employment offers no showers and no reasonable place to change/store his clothes. Makes you wonder when that Bay Link might show up, huh?

2 Responses to Bus Stop Blues

  1. Felipe Azenha says:

    I’ve taken the bus a couple of times from South Beach to downtown because my car was in the shop. I would take it all the time, but there is no direct route from South Beach to Downtown. Then there is that ridiculous, inexplicable stop at the Omni for the bus driver to use the restroom. The Omni “pit stop” is outrageous. If there were a pit stop in New York the bus driver would have been lynched and one of the passengers would have taken to driving the bus. Here’s an idea: Put an express line from South Beach to Downtown Miami, via Biscayne Blvd (where all the office building density is located) and on to Brickell. There should be no stops along the Macarthur, the first stop should be in Downtown. If the county wants to get white collar workers to use public transportation it needs to be efficient. Pit stops at the Omni and meandering East, West, North and South and all scenic points in between through downtown Miami does not motivate me or any other of the white collar workers that commute from South Beach to Miami. This bus route from South Beach to Miami is nothing less then pathetic. I was shocked by how inefficient the bus system is.

    By the way, I no longer drive from South Beach to downtown. I ride my bicycle. If there’s a head wind, it takes me 20 minutes on my bicycle. By car 15min and by bus 30 min. Something is very wrong with this picture.

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  2. Li'l Pony says:

    I used to resent the stop at Omni, too. Now I’m glad for it, because it allows me to get off the bus and get on the MetroMover. It takes no longer than the bus to get to Government Center from Omni, and with less winding through the downtown streets.

    I hate the C bus too, though. Now I only take the A.

       0 likes

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