Those that think that Florida doesn’t have a mass transit system clearly don’t know about Tri-Rail. In fact, if they did know about Tri-Rail, they probably wouldn’t amend their statement about Florida not having a mass transit system. Tri-Rail, unfortunately, sucks.
In theory, it’s great – it’s supposed to be an inexpensive, fast, convenient method of traveling the North-South orientation of South Florida. In practice, it gets expensive, it’s nearly always running late, and the ‘convenience’ of the stations is questionable at best… I mean, who puts a Tri-Rail station on Yamato road?
Granted, the whole location of the stations is (sort of) offset by the bus system in place, which is horrendously bad as well, but that’s a whole different story. The point of taking Tri-Rail, for me at least, is to save some loot on gas. I can leave my Jeep at the station, go home on the train, then the next morning take the train to the car and drive on in to work. Sounds neat, right? Well, at $8 a day for the roundtrip ticket, that’s not exactly the finest bargain in the world. Figure this – $8 will get you about 2.5 gallons. Even my Jeep, at 10 miles per gallon, will get 25 miles out of that. Now, the office is about 15 miles away (30 miles round trip.) These calculations are what got me taking the train in the first place, mind you. So, theoretically, I’d be saving myself about a half-gallon of gas a day. That’s about a tank of gas over the course of the month, give or take. Not bad, not bad. $30-40 a month is nice little slice of the pie.
Thing is, the amount of time lost waiting and dealing with the Tri-Rail is absolutely out of control. I’d pay $40 a month just to not be 2 hours late to work because of the trains. I’d pay more than that just to not have to sit in the sun for 45 minutes because a train is delayed for God-only-knows what reason. If I didn’t have any place to actually be on time, then this would be a moot issue – I can burn time if needed – but it’s awfully frustrating when you’re already late, and then you call Tri-Rail (whose customer service is, admittedly, very very good) who tells you it’ll be 15 to 45 minutes. That’s quite a range!
It may be worthy for you, or it may be a big fat waste of time. Either way, the scenery is pretty sweet, and I do have to admit that it’s nice to not have to deal with traffic or even to drive. I can read, get some work done, design something, sketch, whatever I can cram into the approximate 30 minute ride. That’s almost worth it, right there, just to gain 30 minutes of my life back. Hm. I’m taking the Tri-Rail thing one week at a time. We’ll see what happens next week. Maybe I’ll finally get a new car and this strange obsession with riding a train will magically disappear.