Monday, January 24, 2011

Riding the Jacksonville Trolley

Florida Green Transportation Coordinator, Marti Daltry, asked Sierra Club members to ditch the car and ride public transit over the holidays. My husband and I decided to take the challenge and here is my commentary on the Jacksonville Trolley this past December.

My husband and I rode the Jacksonville Riverside Trolley downtown over the Christmas season. Looking at the photo, I realize it must have been the one warm day north Floridians enjoyed at that time. The ride into town was fun as was the four block walk to our favorite lunch place, a little French cafe, across from our public library.

The trolley was free to us as senior citizens but costs younger riders $1.00 for the ride into town - a distance of 7 miles from the stop near my home. The trip takes about 20 minutes and then we walk 4 blocks up to the library and cafe. The sidewalks are well maintained although there is street construction in some places. Cars are being detoured around the construction, hah, hah. 

Usually at lunch time the trolley is jammed with riders who come out of the corporate headquarters along Riverside Avenue and flock to the restaurants downtown or in my neighborhood. Today, we only have 6 riders going toward town since we are traveling a little late. All the riders today are in a good mood and talkative and most get off before reaching town. On the way home, there is only us and one other rider. We sit near the front and chat with the driver asking him about his holiday shopping and family plans for Christmas. When we hop out a block from home, he calls goodby and we walk home lugging our books.

The trolley needs more ridership - I'm not sure what they can do to improve it, but the transportation authority seems to be doing no marketing right now. Fares may be too high as long as people can get free parking. That won't last though.

 Submitted by Linda Bremer, Northeast Florida Group, Sierra Club.