In this morning’s Sun Sentinel:

Some of Broward County’s new express buses are breaking down, struggling to make it over railroad tracks and carrying commuters at a 10 mph crawl down Interstate 95.

The I-95 Express Buses get a lock of flack for their unreliable transmissions that leave riders “late for work” and feeling like they’ve been “held hostage.”  This sounds just like my car! My station wagon doesn’t make it into the Sun Sentinel, though.

When my car’s transmission fails (frequently, despite a recent, costly rebuild and lifetime warrantied parts), I don’t really have anyone to complain to. I wish it was easier, but I still think it’s pretty lucky to have the 95 Express. It’s a pain being late to work regardless of whose transmission just died. BUT when it’s your car, you are looking at 3-5 days with no back-up car with which to get to work plus another bill in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Public transit has some real benefits over driving. #1 being that I can get work done on the bus (yay, Free Wi-fi!) or catch up with Words with Friends. Texting is both legal and safe! #2 meeting interesting people or just people-watching helps me feel charged up at the start of the day, rather than frustrated. #3 $2.35 each way is probably what 35+ minutes in my station wagon costs these days, excluding taxes, title, insurance and all that stress. I‘m sure it’s miserable sitting on the side of the road waiting for someone to come fix your ride or pick you up with another bus. I promise you, it’s more miserable when the bus doesn’t automatically come and you have to pay for your trouble.

Of course, the bus takes longer. Here is my very multi-modal commute from Midtown Miami to north Downtown Fort Lauderdale:

  1. CAR: to the bus stop in Downtown Miami that is NOT on SE 1st and 1st.(If you wait there, the driver will pass you and point to where you need to run.) I get a ride, but otherwise, I could use my Car2Go membership. $0
  2. WAITING for a bus that says “to Downtown Miami.” You MUST ask the driver which Express they are driving, or you will end up in the Everglades. I mean, Miramar. (True story). $0. or $1.25 for a cortadito.
  3. BUS: Very comfortable. Wifi is dependable. Northbound means a practically empty bus. Pro Tip: Bring a sweater or sit in the front. $2.35
  4. SHUTTLE: Free shuttle from the Broward Blvd Tri-rail down Broward, south on Andrews, around the Courthouse. $0
  5. BIKE SHARE: From the Courthouse, I pick up a B-cycle and head to work. About 2 miles in 10 minutes. $0 (membership is $45 a year)

This commute takes over an hour. However, at every point, I’m interacting positively with people around me and can take calls from the office.  The biggest problem for me is not having a car at work – and Fort Lauderdale doesn’t have Car2Go. My job usually requires a lot of driving from Hallandale Beach to Pompano Beach and everywhere in between. If it wasn’t for bike sharing and some help from colleagues, I’d really be in a bind.

The Express Buses would benefit from improvements, but not the ones I keep seeing on the TransitMiami facebook page.

  1. Better Wayfinding. There are so many bus stops in Downtown Miami and around the Tri-Rail station. Make it easier to find the Bus!
  2. Better Signage on the bus. Yes, I ended up in Miramar. I’m not proud of it. I think that as soon as the bus gets to Downtown, even if it has more pick up points within Downtown, it should be marked with its final destination. No one in their right mind picks up an Express bus to go 2 blocks.
  3. Later hours! I work 8:30am-6pm. I have to leave early to catch the bus home. No bueno.
  4. Same pick up and drop off stops. I don’t understand why the bus picks up at SE 1st & 1st and drops off at NW 8th and 1st, 12 blocks away. Can anyone explain this to me? Does the Corner Bar subsidize this? They should…

TM Readers, have you taken the Express Bus? What do you think?

 

 

5 Responses to My Car is Just Like the I-95 Express Bus!

  1. Mike Moskos says:

    Have ridden the double length ones a few times through Broward (might be the same bus they use for I-95 Express). REALLY nice ride; more comfortable than Tri-Rail, which used to be the best.

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  2. Juan Navarro says:

    I hate to say it but when taking the express lane going north on I-95, I always try to speed past the Express Buss, since they tend to be slower and choke up the express lane a bit. Yeah, I’m that guy

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  3. JM Palacios says:

    Kathryn, I thought we had no car sharing, but now that I’m car-free I did some digging and we do have Hertz On Demand. About like B-Cycle’s tourist rate option as they have no membership charge so the hourly rate is higher. But they do have a location on Sunrise near Holiday Park and Sears Town.

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  4. Brandt A. says:

    I recently moved to Hollywood and I’ve been using the Hollywood express to get to FIU, so I share the same feelings. I like that it’s usually on time. But my biggest gripe is the schedule. I think it should run all day, like all the other buses. Or at least extend the hours that it runs. I still do a lot of things in Miami and taking the express bus cuts a 3-hour bus ride to 1 hour and 20 minutes, but I can’t always take it since it doesn’t run midday. Even if it ran hourly during midday, it would be better than nothing at all.

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  5. Gilberto A Rivera says:

    I drive the 195 route from downtown Miami to the Broward Blvd/Ft. Lauderdale Tr-Rail Parn -n-Ride on Mondays. I’m all for extending the service, but all of you need to call Miami Dade Transit and ASK for it. If the ridership doesn’t get involved MDT certainly won’t do it for their own health!

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