Let someone else do the driving in the Keys!

Rod Delostrinos, the Director of Transportation for Key West, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been going on with traffic.

With the various opportunities available to you, you could easily let someone else do the driving through the Keys.

Delostrinos said, “When you look at the different options and sitting in traffic and that kind of thing, it’s always great. You could have somebody else do it. I think that public transportation is definitely a way to do it and it’s pretty cost effective.”

Transit Worker Appreciation Week was in March.

Delostrinos said, “I think it was very successful. The Commission honored us with a proclamation. We started that particular week with breakfast at the rollout when it was still very dark, we had some food for the folks that are coming on at 5:30. We had lunch following that, and just really thanking people, acknowledging their accomplishments and their work because it’s challenging on the day to day.”

The Seven Mile Bridge Run will be on Saturday, April 13, and that will definitely affect traffic and the Key West Shuttle because the bridge will be closed.

Delostrinos said, “The Seven Mile Bridge run, that’s a great event, and unfortunately does delay it but, really, I think for the most part, some of those drivers like it, because then they don’t start out at 5:30 in the morning, they get an extra hour or so to sleep. But it’s a great event, if you haven’t seen it.”

The number of passenger trips has been up significantly – about a 70,000 person increase year over fiscal year for a number of passenger trips with Key West Transit.

Delostrinos said, “We really attribute that to folks saying that everything costs more, but we haven’t changed our fares in many years. I think that helps things out a little if you have to fill up your car, but I also think it signifies a return of because the Duvall loop has definitely pushed up and we have Key West rides, and we’re still working through the bugs with that. But it’s definitely a popular service. Then again, the Lower Keys Shuttle and Workforce Express. So there definitely is reasons why the ridership has increased over the last couple of years.”

The operating expense from year over year, even though the number of passengers went up, the increase in expenses did not go up appreciably.

Delostrinos said, “The fares being pretty flat, that that’s a good thing for everybody. Now, I think we’re looking as we are preparing our budget, how things just like anything else, in the grocery store, well, fuel costs more for us, so I think we’re going to see that particular increase. What we ask for it, it’s pretty much just the bare bones to operate the service. As you can imagine, we’re up to Marathon and Key West about 10 times a day round trip. So that’s about 100 miles. It’s one way. So the mileage gets up there’s a couple buses, at one point in the day, I think there’s three. So we definitely rack up the miles. But again, it’s to provide that service for the folks that need to travel up and down the Keys who may not have the options of a vehicle.”

Will there be any changes in the budget this year?

Delostrinos said, “We have the park and ride renovation, which is sorely needed. Fortunately, that is 100% funded. Right now, we’re just waiting to bring forth the public transportation grant agreement to the City Commission, I think that will be next month. Then we file it with FDOT, we go through the whole bid process. But the bottom line is we’re going to start doing the spalling that’s at the park and ride, the resurfacing renovation of the restrooms, that’s kind of all this phase one work. That funding is I think it’s a little over $2 million. Phase two is we’re going to try to incorporate things like electric vehicle charging, so folks that are using park and ride could charge their electric vehicle, those type of things.”

Even bikes can go on buses.

Delostrinos said, “Each bus has at least a two position bike rack. We’re experimenting with a third position, but some of the roads especially in Key West, the turns and when you deploy that bike rack, it kind of makes your turns a little a little wider. So I think we’re still figuring out that, but even the smaller cutaways that you see, are able to hold two position bikes.”

The electric bus has been ordered.

Delostrinos said, “We’re hoping to see that in 24 months. That is the lead time that the manufacturer has given us. There’s really such a race for a lot of agencies in Florida and nationwide, really to try to get that electrification thing going, because there’s a real good potential for some environmental avoidance of different adverse effects. The electric bus is 100% funded. The state and federal government are really I guess, putting their best foot forward when it comes to funding things that are low or no emission. So, hopefully there’s more to follow with that kind of funding sources.”

For more information, click here:  https://www.kwtransit.com/