My trolley experiment
I decided to do a little experiment with the trolley, I wanted to try the system out and see how it went. I've used it before during Gallery Walks for something fun, but I wanted to see what it was like if you needed to depend on it.
I had to have work done on my car, so I left it at the gas station at US1 and 32nd Avenue and decided to take the trolley back home. I usually call Uber, but the trolley was free and I had time to kill and I wanted to see how it all worked. I knew there was a pick up location a block away, at Bird and 32nd Avenue, across the street from Home Depot. So I walked over and waited. And waited. It was about 8:30 am, no trolley, at 8:45 am, still no trolley, at 9:00 am, still no trolley. Getting pissed now.
I started to walk down 32nd Avenue toward Center Grove, knowing it would eventually come that way and I could then flag it down and hop on. No trolley, I walked all the way down 32nd Avenue, around to Fuller Street. As I walked, a few people I know stopped to ask if I needed a lift, but I didn't want to put them out, and I wanted to complete the trolley experiment. I had a friend offer earlier to pick me up and take me home, but I wanted to do the trolley thing.
Finally, at about 9:20 am, a trolley came by, I flagged it down and got on at Fuller. It only had a few people and the driver was nice. They always are. I've stopped them on the street to ask them questions in the past and they've always been nice.
So we took the ride and it got me home quite fast. There wasn't any traffic at that time, which was surprising because usually there is a back up of traffic on South Bayshore Drive until 10 am or so, but we made it in good time. We went around the circle at City Hall, which was nice. And a few stops away, we got to my stop. I got off and really enjoyed the ride. It was quick (after the wait) and efficient.
I took the trolley back to the garage, this was a bit confusing as there are no markings for stops on South Bayshore Drive and they don't like to just stop when you flag them down, but the driver did. I had thought there were two Grove routes, one that went up 32nd Avenue and one that went to Douglas Road, but it's all one route, you take the trolley up to Douglas, across US1 to the Metrorail station, then back again across US1 on Bird and I got off across from the Home Depot. It sounds confusing, but it went fast.
The trolley driver told me that the trolleys run every 15 minutes like clockwork, so he wasn't sure what happened to the trolley(s) before his arrived in the morning. He told me that they transfer riders at Mercy Hospital and that works every efficiently, with the same people daily, who come from downtown or Brickell to the Grove to work, they change trolleys at the hospital and are let off in Center Grove.
I had to go back another day for something else and took the trolley there and back again. I don't really leave 33133 much, so ironically, after spending all that money on the car, I think I might start using the trolley more often! I keep joking to my friends that I would like to be a trolley driver now. I like them that much.
A couple of downsides: 1) Most drivers don't speak English, so be sure you have a trolley map if you need help or directions and 2) People on the trolley have conversations with the driver by screaming from their seats in the back and the driver screams back at them (the screaming is a conversation over the motor). 3) Rush hour in the afternoon (4 to 6 pm) makes the trolley ride quite slow, mornings are not bad, though. The street work at Bird Road and US1 makes the ride bad in the afternoon as you have to wait for maybe three or four red lights due to the merging into one lane of traffic.
But despite the few downsides, I really enjoyed the experience and I do plan on using the trolley often.
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