Need a ride in Key West? The Key West Transit Authority is there for you

Rod Delostrinos, Director of Transportation for Key West Transit, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM yesterday morning to talk about travel. 

When the weather is rough, remember, the bus is always there. 

Delostrinos said, “It gives the opportunity for folks who would either bike or walk or something to hop on the bus. We gladly oblige that. The buses that travel on those bridges, these folks are really professionals and safety is paramount. So a lot of times during those rough winds, they either slow down, pull over to the side, that type of thing, because it’s just that high profile vehicle like a bus, you’’d be surprised even though it’s pretty heavy, it does get pushed around a bit.”

The workforce express is continuing. 

Delostrinos said, “When I’m looking at the numbers, it’s telling because it really drives us to say, do we need more service? Or do we need to modify the service, and it looks like we already have a little over 6,000 since the beginning of the fiscal year. So I mean, that’s good news, really, for the folks because it really is a faster way, it’s limited stops, I think there’s only 12 stops on each run. It allows people to really get down to the downtown area from Stock Island pretty fast.”

On demand transit is working to alleviate congestion. 

Delostrinos said, “We’re tracking that quite a bit. Since the beginning of this fiscal year, we’re looking at over 18,000, completed rides. These folks are getting a quality ride, because instead of I think the longest way to get the bus to show up is about 20, 26 minutes. But once you’re on, it only takes you about 15 minutes to get where you’re going on average. That’s a really good new story, compared to the service we had a few years ago. So I think it’s a positive move for the community. We have a lot of great feedback. We’re still always trying to tweak it to try to make it a lot more responsive. But I think as we go through our growing pains, and the the riding public gets more familiar with this service, I think there’s great things to come in the future.”

The Transit Development Plan will begin soon. 

Delostrinos said the plan is “something that’s required by all agencies who take federal and state funding to run their operation. But it’s a really great opportunity. It’s a strategic plan focused on transit. That way, we’re actually moving in a direction that not only that agency thinks is right, but also the public. We’re about to launch out some surveys, that kind of thing. We’ll be doing some on board, surveying with folks. You will probably see me at these farmers markets trying to get some information. But really, we take all that honest feedback and try to figure out what direction we want to go in the future. We do updates every five years, but it is a 10 year visioning document and it’s so great. From the last time which was pre COVID to now, we look so different. So I’m really anxious to see what the public has to say.”

There is a reduced rate for seniors. 

Delostrinos said, “If you’re a resident here and you have some kind of identification that you’re 60 or over, you’re fair free here. That’s the city routes and that type of thing. The Lower Keys shuttle, I think it’s 50 cents, really trying to make an affordable way to move around. If you’re just visiting us, and you’re a senior, you still are eligible for the reduced fare. So it’s still a great deal.”

The second Saturday of each month is free to all seniors. 

Delostrinos said, “The locals here, they really formed these great relationships. So we kind of know who’s who. And we make sure that we offer the the right fares to the to the folks.”

One innovations was the cutaway bus and an electric bus should be here within a year or two. 

Delostrinos said, “We live in such a great, wonderful place and we really are trying to look to preserve that and trying to go to no or low emission type of vehicles is kind of our part. The electric bus is I guess a natural progression. We’re a small agency. We’re going to try this one vehicle, there’s a lot of things that go along with electric bus, such as having the infrastructure, because obviously, you have to charge it, which is electricity, and then for our folks, the training, and then the environmental impact of the batteries, what do we do when they reach their useful life? So all those things are stuff that we really have to take in consideration because we want to be good stewards of an environment and we want to use the newer technology that is available to us. But we want to move at the right pace, not too fast, and not too slow. I think that’s indicative of the transit mantra.”

Overall, transit is moving along in Key West. 

Delostrinos said, “It’s indicative of the hard work that the men and women of this department are doing and really all the support that we get from the other city departments because it’s a true team effort. This is our community, we believe in it. We live here and so anytime that we could provide a good service is really what we’re striving for.”

Key West Transit is always looking for drivers. 

Delostrinos said, “It’s always a constant thing. There’s such a great need for the qualified commercial driver’s license folks, the CDL folks, but I think we’re holding our own. We have a great team and a great team environment. We’re trying to give competitive pay, that type of thing. I think that it’s definitely a call to service when you come to work here for the city of Key West, but I think it’s just so rewarding. I think that the folks that we have here see that as well.”