Saturday, December 8, 2012

Riding The Shuttle

No, not the shuttle ride to space. The Lower Keys Shuttle is the official name for the bus service that runs between Marathon and Key West.
It is very convenient though not dirt cheap at four dollars a ride, yet it is a great value. The bus line connects in Key West to the city buses and in Marathon I believe it connects to the coach service to Miami. I ride it from time to time, usually to pick up my motorcycle from the shop on Stock Island, or to meet my wife for an evening in town so we can ride home together instead of in two vehicles. The buses are fast and air conditioned though I do wish they ran more often.
The guy on the right appeared to be homeless with a huge pile of belongings, he had some sort of Terret's type of problem as he banged his knuckles and twitched enough that his neighbor preferred to stand than sit next to him. At one point the guy tried t stand, the bus braked ad he fell, comically, onto his knees in an attitude of prayer with his forehead touching the floor. I wanted to point out that Mecca lay in the opposite direction.
His sunglasses bit him in the fall and he was bleeding from the bridge of his nose, which I pointed out to him. He was surprised by my willingness to bridge the gap and he gave me a nervous little smile. I got the feeling no one had been the least bit kind to him for some time, and I spent the rest of the ride feeling rather blue.
The joy of the bus isn't necessarily the companions one meets on the ride. It's the ability to sit and read or contemplate or look out of the window at the scenery. It's a break in the day, an enforced period of idleness. It's the pleasure of being suspended between where you were and where you are about to be, but you aren't there yet. And because the Florida Keys are small islands and lie in a straight line joined by one road the geographic layout is perfect for efficient bus service.
I like riding the bus, and I just wish they would bring back bicycle racks. They took them off because the program was too successful and too many riders wanted to use the shuttle bus service. It's like a bad joke about stereotypical governmental bureaucracy as it kills a program because it works too well. Sigh. Riding the bus combined with a bicycle makes for perfect transportation among these little, linear islands.


Anonymous said...

rode the bus yesterday. The bus schedule always left me baffled, two routes -- lime and pink--- I assumed (for no particular reason!) that buses starting in key west would be one route(lime?) and when the bus turned around in marathon it would become (pink?). If I understood the driver the driver correctly the two buses run the same route its just one bus is called pink and the other lime...

Did you make it to chalk fest?

Conchscooter said...

I thought the colors meant the same thing too. I believe e colors refer to the ending route through key west, which is the part I can never figure. I ask the driver where we're going we we get to the city. Now with te boulevard all chewed up it makes even less sense.