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Thursday, March 03, 2016

Grove trolley is running; well, sort of

The Coconut Grove Trolley is running as of March 1. It's not the actual trolley, Commissioner Ken Russell tells me that they are using these mini-buses currently until the "real" trolleys are completed and then they can take over the route. The city didn't want to wait, so in the meantime enjoy, it's been a long time coming. Remember the petition?

This is the route map, if you click on it, it will open larger.

Trolley iphoto by Rafael Gutierrez

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Robert Sullivan said...

Yesterday, I rode the trolley on the Brickell route (for only a half mile) and then the trolley on the Coconut Grove route from the Mercy Hospital stop to Regatta Park. I much prefer the temporary mini-buses on the Coconut Grove route with their soft seats rather than the wooden bench style seats in the usual trolley on the Brickell route.

March 03, 2016 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Robert Sullivan said...

A couple more details about my experience on these two trolleys (Brickell and Coconut Grove), yesterday. I needed to go to Electric Avenue (a camera superstore on Flagler St. in downtown Miami) so I decided to try the trolley instead of dealing with traffic and parking. I checked the trolley website and saw that, sure enough, service had started in Coconut Grove the day before, however, the mobile app that I downloaded did not show the new route. At around 2:45pm I left Dinner Key Marina on my longboard and looked for the Coconut Grove trolley. Not seeing any, I rode my board towards Mercy Hospital where the Coconut Grove line ends and the Brickell line starts. After about 20 minutes (trolleys on the Brickell line supposedly run every 15 minutes) the Brickell Trolley arrived and I still hadn't seen a Coconut Grove trolley. Just after passing the Rickenbacker Causeway area the driver stopped at a bus stop and told us that we would have to wait for his replacement as it was at the end of his shift. After a ten minute wait while we were blocking one lane of traffic (and the Brickell trolley in the southbound lane doing the same), I asked the driver how much more of a delay he anticipated. He said that he didn't know, but based on past experience with his relief he expected that it would be another 10-15 minutes. After some discussion, he candidly mentioned that "some folks like this free ride but...." and I finished for him that "you get what you pay for?" He replied, "Yes". I left the trolley skateboarded toward Electric Avenue. What luck! Three quarters the way northbound on Brickell Avenue I saw a trolley and thought that I might catch it before it departed. I boarded and saw that there were two drivers up front talking while the one in the drivers seat appeared to be doing some paperwork while carrying on a personal conversation with the other driver. It seemed to be another shift change in progress. I asked how long of a delay do they anticipate. One drive said that we will be on our way when he completes the paperwork. I asked if he knows how long that will be. Incredulously, he said that he didn't know. I questioned him on not knowing and asked if this is the first time that he has done this paperwork. He said he has done it many times. I asked again if he knows how much longer it will take. He finally answered "Another five minutes". Five minutes later I got off my longboard and walked into my destination, Electric Avenue. On the return trip, I passed by trolley stop after stop and never saw a single southbound trolley on the Brickell Line. I went to the stop by the water at Mercy Hospital because I was determined to ride the Coconut Grove trolley if, in fact, it truly was running. It was and that driver was very pleasant and helpful. He went out of his way to ensure that all who boarded knew that they were on the new Coconut Grove trolley and not the Brickell trolley. He checked with the people waiting at the stop to make sure that they were not looking for the Coconut Grove trolley. He also told each and every passenger that he will stop at any bus stop if they give him notice and he let us all know of the route that we would be taking. Okay, I seem to have gotten carried away with my report so....that's all for now. (I talk a lot in person too!)

March 03, 2016 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do we need a trolley running the same exact route as the bus route 48? I can't imagine there are that many people going down Bayshore drive from the hospital to the Douglas street train station, that the normal bus can't fulfill the capacity. It seems as though this money could be redirected at something more useful, or find a different route that buses aren't already traveling on.

March 03, 2016 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

The 48 bus runs only once an hour. The trolley runs @ every 20 minutes. We rode it the whole grove route yesterday and hooked up with the Brickell Trolley at Mercy and went down to Mary Brickell Village. No hassle and the drivers were great. After several Margaritas at Rosa Mexicana we were more than happy to jump on the Brickell and Grove Trolleys to get home. Be patient -- the kinks will be worked out and the official trolley signs in the Grove will be up soon. All I can say is it's wonderful.

March 03, 2016 6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Robert Sullivan "some folks like this free ride but...." and I finished for him that "you get what you pay for?"

That is the type of apathy caused by attitude that a service has to be expensive with luxurious accents tailored to an elitist class in order for it to be on time, clean, efficient and in good working condition. The service is run with public tax dollars and it better be worth every penny spent on personnel, management and automobile expenses associated with running it.

March 04, 2016 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Robert Sullivan said...

@ Anon 11:06... I agree completely. I'm not sure whether you misunderstood me or not, but when I finished his sentence, it was more in the form of a question. I already knew the disappointing answer to that question which was "Yes, you get what you pay for." I felt that it would be a futile effort to explain to the driver that the trolley service is far from free and that service should not be compromised just because passengers aren't dishing out a fare at the time of the ride.

March 04, 2016 12:52 PM  

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