Tuesday, August 2, 2011

South Florida Public Transportation

For those of you who don't know, I work a considerable distance away from my home in South West Dade county, and for the past year-and-a-half I have been driving with a carpool buddy, but then she had the audacity to quit on me! As a result I have finally bitten the bullet and started taking the Tri-Rail. I avoided it for a number of reasons, including the time it adds to my commute and my doubt that any sort of public transit in South Florida can reliable. Then I discovered that several of my coworkers use the train and swore by it.

However, it's not that bad. Yes it does add about 1-1.5 hours to my commute, but it's so much less stressful to drive the 25 minutes to the station. So, after about a month and a half of taking the Tri-Rail, this is my list of pros and cons.

Pros:
1. I save a ton of money on gas and tolls
2. My employer is part of the Employee Discount Program so it's only $75 a month to ride (it cost me more in 1 week to drive)
3. The trains are typically on time, and you can sign up for alerts to find out if they aren't
4. There are shuttles from the station to my job
5. Shockingly, everyone who works for Tri-Rail has been extremely helpful, polite and friendly (this might be a sign of the Apocalypse.)
6. The trains are air conditioned (usually)
7. It's pretty easy to get tickets and refill my pass
8. I get a chance to read and listen to music - this is a great way to decompress after the work day
9. There are generally not that many crazies, as most people take the train to work
10. You can take the train to the Fort Lauderdale airport and save a considerable amount of money by not taking a cab
11. Even when the train is late, you can comfort yourself by looking at 95 with the realization that you don't have to sit in that traffic

Cons:
1. It sucks when the AC breaks on the train
2. The train is surprisingly busy so if you get on in the middle of the tracks during rush hour, it can be difficult to find seats -- especially if one car has broken AC
3. I have to book it to get to my shuttle so that I don't have to stand
4. I often look like a bag lady with too many things hanging off me
5. You can only buy the Easy Pass at 3 different stations, and their hours are all different and that's highly inconvenient
6. Sometimes people like to ask you if you "have faith"
7. People LOVE to interrupt you while you are reading to ask you if you "like your Kindle." It's very difficult to stop yourself from saying, "no, I hate it. that's why I am staring at it so fiercely"
8. All the stops are open-air. This sucks when it's raining or really hot
9. It's a gigantic pain in the ass when there's an accident on the tracks (the motorcycle accident last Friday shut things down and I didn't get to work until 10:15 a.m. Normally I'm there by 8:30)
10. If you park at the Miami Airport you have to park down the street from the station. It's not a far walk but it's the only station with that set-up and there's no security in the parking lot.

2 comments:

C.L.J. said...

I used to take the train when I lived in Coral Gables, to my current job in Fort Lauderdale.
I found it easier to use the next station north than try to find parking at the Miami Airport station.

Christina said...

Yeah I think that when it starts getting dark earlier I will start using that station as well.