Let’s talk traffic! You might be surprised at how you can get around town

Rod Delostrinos, 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 transportation.

One thing you can count on in Key West is the traffic, even when the season is expected to be a bit slower.

Delostrinos said, “One of the things that we’ve noticed just in the last month was the Duval loop. The ridership was tremendous just for the one month. It’s kind of tapering off now. But really, it’s an indicator that people are still interested in coming down and seeing our community.”

Key West Rides has also taken off.

Delostrinos said, “We’ve been trying to get this thing up and running, it’s been going for over eight months. It’s a great feature, it’s on demand. So there is no bus schedule per se. You can call for a ride and either you can use the app, or you can call our dispatch center and they’ll pick you up. What’s great about that is it’ll pick you up kind of when you want to. It’s really opened up a lot of the coverage because the previous fixed route that we had were restricted to a specific route. And this is not. So we’re really trying to maximize the vehicles and the drivers that we have, and provide a better service. So it’s not just the schedule, but it’s also where you want to go.

One new feature of Key West Rides is pre-booking.

Delostrinos explained, “So actually a rider can select what time they want to arrive, or what time they want to depart. Previously was just on demand. So it’s almost like hailing a taxi, so to speak, and it’ll get there when it can. But in this case, you can do this and it’s up to a week in advance. So for those who use the transit service for working or for regular appointments, they can put this out there and they can have the peace of mind that they’re going to get there as soon as they can.”

Key West Rides uses a combination of buses and vans.

Delostrinos said, “We really are trying to use the smaller buses, the 14 passenger, which we call the cutaways, and that’s the majority that you’ll see around because they’re really a lot easier to negotiate some of the roads, especially in Old Town. We try to put out as much as we can and sometimes you’ll see those big buses doing the on demand service.”

There are also special programs and availability for seniors to keep the cost affordable.

Delostrinos said, “The City Commission a few years ago, recognize that seniors they deserve a break. And one of the things that they’ve implemented was seniors who have Key West addresses ride free. The Key West Rides is a free service for them, as well as the Workforce Express if they so desire to use that. Then if they want to ride on to the Lower Keys Shuttle, it’s $1 to get to Marathon and then $1 to get back, or whatever and anywhere in between. There’s a lot of other programs, we also offer reduced fares for students, for active duty military for retired military.”

Electric buses could also be in the future.

Delostrinos said, “Every five years, we’re supposed to update our 10 year plan. It’s very much like the strategic plan, but it focuses primarily on transportation needs for the community. What happens is they will have a consultant and they’ll go out and gather information. They’ll talk to riders, they’ll talk to other stakeholders, like the elected officials, businesses, and to really find out what they are looking toward as far as transportation solutions in the future. That’s really how we got Key West Rides. It was something that was mentioned five years ago, and here we are. Additionally those electric buses, we’re definitely starting that that move, because we recognize that those are probably better environmental options for our community. We’ve already secured a little partial grant, but those electric buses are so expensive. But we mentioned them in our 10 year plan. It allows the other funding source like the state and the federal to say, hey, this is what this community wants. So they can properly fund it.”

Key West Rides is a great way to get around the town.

Deslostrinos suggested, “Give us a try. It’s a great way to sit back and let us do the driving and air conditioned and reasonably priced.”

For more information, call 305-809-3910 or click here: https://www.kwtransit.com/