I like how on TV commercials and other kinds of biographical vignettes people will say that they went from “having to take the bus” to “riding in style” with a vehicle of their own. But as a former resident of Tallahassee and a former student at Florida State University (GO NOLES!), I can tell you that looking for somewhere to park on any given large university campus will change your mind QUICK about exactly where “riding in style” fits into the grand scheme of things.
Coming from anywhere OFF CAMPUS to be ON CAMPUS… it’s do or die. You’re either on time and getting your money’s worth or late all the time and wasting all that tuition money on circling some dusty, rocky, off-trail parking lot. And then having to WALK quite some way, still, from there. Not even “remotely” worth it. Give me a crowded campus shuttle bus ANY DAY.
Unlike in college, my problems these days have revolved around getting to work. I’ve had break-downs, flat tires galore, engine failures, major damage from a fallen tree, vehicle repossession, etc., etc. Add to all that an argument a few weeks ago beginning with my offense over the use of the n-word and ending with my then ride to work hitting me (like a girl) and throwing me out of his trashy gas guzzler In the middle of a swamp.
But other than all that, the kind of work I prefer to do at this time is clearly more abundant in Northern Palm Beach County than anywhere in Martin County. Not even West Palm Beach, as some have said to me, can match the amount of home and commercial construction going on between Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens. That’s where all the big money is, so naturally, that’s where all the action is. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be wasting my time trying to get there.
BUT… gotta have a car.
Thus, thanks to some major assistance from relatives, I’m fortunate enough to be driving again. Especially since there aren’t many available carpools, vanpools or people willing to offer same-way rides out of Indiantown. None that I’m aware of. So having a car of one’s own for working elsewhere is a must. But rest assured if there were buses or trains going to Palm Beach County from out here in Western Martin County, I’d be more than happy to let someone else do all of the driving. But now that I’m finally driving again, I suppose that the next best thing, while lacking such an option, would be to to mix it up a bit by taking a bus to complete the last leg of my daily commute to work.
As a matter of fact, were it not for a co-worker pulling up to the bus stop and offering me a ride, this morning, I would have been on a Palm Tran bus today, bypassing all the traffic and dumb driving on Indiantown Road that I normally fight in a car of my own. But other than that, I’ve tried to develop a car-to-bus routine whose need has arrived in part out of having relatives incur wear and tear on their vehicle just to transport me from the City of Indiantown to Jupiter, east of Military Trail. Rather than travelling so far into town and putting so many more miles on their car, I have elected on some occasions to have them drop me off at the Palm Tran bus stop nearest to I-95 in Jupiter. Worked like a charm.
As for now, maybe not every day, but whenever I see fit, I will try to continue this park-and-ride routine on my own in order to save gas and cut down on vehicle wear and tear. Or perhaps more importantly, in order to avoid having to park my latest attempt at vehicle ownership on dusty, rocky, nail-ridden construction sites that aren’t maintained as well as they should be. And now that my employer has furnished our driver with an official company transport vehicle, used primarily for workers without cars, I can save use of my own vehicle on some days, for the best part of the day... going home!
My only wish in all of this would be for Palm Tran to update and improve on their park-and-ride system. I think it would make far more sense if some of their designated park-and-ride lots (like the one in West Jupiter) were actually serviced by a bus or if all of the the lots were on the same side of the street as the stops. You shouldn't have to cross a maddeningly congested street like Indiantown Road, or any given dangerous intersection, to get from your car to a bus stop on the other side. Really, “park-and-ride” should work just as seamless as it sounds. Otherwise, you just end up turning people off.
But that’s another story… Don’t worry, we’ll talk!