Public Transportation: Stop Judging, You Judger and Enjoy the Ride

26 Nov

I am a child of privilege.  Due to the backbreaking hard work of both of my parents, I only have the very vaguest of memories of their struggles.

I do have some memories of hard times:  dinners being sparse, my father working A LOT, poverty and violence right next door.  However, now I am so far removed from it, it sometimes seems as if it all could have happened to someone else.

I have spent the better part of my life living in the suburbs.  I’ve never had to take a bus because I’ve always had my own transportation.  Besides that, South Florida has the WORST public transit system in the United States, I am pretty sure.  We have a large population and a pretty crappy way to get from place to place if you don’t have a car.  Unreliable bus service means you may get fired because you’ll probably be late.  So having a car is a necessity for gainful employment.

Except that now the gas is almost $4 a gallon and I have to drive 45 minutes to an hour to make it 13 miles to get to work.  On top of that, I have to pay to park at a parking lot which is $5 a day.  My friends, this commute has begun to wear on me and the sheer cost of it all is driving me bananas.

Which is why I’ve decided to take the Metrorail.  The Metrorail is an elevated train system that I would describe as a half-assed L Train.  I call it half-assed because it only transfers people around the downtown Miami areas.  These are not the beautiful areas you see on TV (South Beach), no.  These areas are where REAL Miamians live and make a living.

This train system only covers about 1/5 of the county area.  On top of that they built a new station at the Airport that not only DOES NOT have a parking garage for those of us who live West (the city is East), it has no connection to the beach.

I ask you, if you were a tourist, would you want to stay where the people are – in the middle of a crowded city, or right on our gorgeous beaches?  Exactly.

Anyway, I’m getting off subject here.

Basically, what I am saying is that in an effort to save some money AND my sanity, I’m taking the train.  I’m telling you, it’s been pretty great.  I can read a book, catch up on the news, listen to music, and I only have a 20 minute drive at the end of my trip.  All in all, it’s worth it.

Also, the trip in and of itself is pretty interesting, if you take the time to look.  That’s because since the train is elevated, you can see a lot of Miami when you zoom by far above it.  It’s a pretty great perspective.

To begin with, there’s a LOT of poverty.  As I float by, a few dozen feet above, I am filled with gratitude.  I have a steady job and so does my husband, we live in a nice home and are wanting for nothing.  The people down below, well their plight is a different one.  You can see the the run down homes, buildings and shoddy schools with the peeling paint.  They’re not so lucky.

If you look out the window and not in your book, you can see how close we all are.  Everybody has a story and everything can change in an instant.  That was my family just 30 years ago.  Living paycheck to paycheck (if we could get one), trying to find a way to get food on the table, just trying to get by.  It’s a good reminder for me, to understand how good I have it and how quickly that can all change.

My companions on the train are from all walks of life, too.  There’s the nurse going to work, the TSA agent heading home from the airport, the young mother with three kids all stuffed into a stroller.  Everyone has someplace to be, and the train gives us an affordable way to get there.

It’s an interesting slice of life I get to observe as we clang along the metal tracks, and I like it.  We’re all in this together, us Miamians.  Trying to make it through day to day, whatever way we can.

What I’m saying is that by riding public transportation you’re not in your car isolated from the city and its people, you become a part of it all. And I’m enjoying that experience, so far.

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One Response to “Public Transportation: Stop Judging, You Judger and Enjoy the Ride”

  1. Mer August 18, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

    I like your perspective

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