By: Sharon Aron Baron
Why don’t more people use public transportation in Tamarac? Unlike other major cities, the public transportation system in Broward County is not the preferred method of getting around. We’d rather drive in our cars to get from place to place.
But what about those residents who don’t own a car? According to Broward County Transit’s Comprehensive Operation Analysis, which was shared at last night’s Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization Community Involvement Roundtable (CIR) Meeting, 43 percent of the bus riders polled do not own a car and use the bus as their mode of transportation and 60% use the bus for work.
Jonathan Roberson, Senior Planner at Broward County Transit says that one of their objectives is to grow ridership and revenue. I understand BCT is working with limited funding, however, the first step that needs to be taken is to make our bus system more desirable. Not only does this include faster transit times and shorter waits at the bus stops, but by making our bus stops a safer, more dignified experience.
Routes 57 and 55 are the Tamarac bus routes that travel east and west from Nob Hill to the Woodlands. I have only seen one or two bus stops that are covered. There are several with benches, however, most of the stops along this long run have no shelters, benches and lighting. Route 18 that goes North and South on University Drive has these same issues in Tamarac.
During our frequent rainy days, this is an awful experience for the riders who must stand outside getting wet. Each bus is scheduled every 30 minutes for routes 57 and 55 so waiting for a bus in Tamarac is an outright degrading experience for our citizens.
Just look at the bus stop at the front entrance of the Woodlands; it consists of a single yellow pole. There is no shelter, bench or lighting. I’ve seen our residents, country club employees, and workers standing out there getting drenched on rainy days. After daylight savings, it becomes a safety hazard as they have to wait in the dark.
The bus stops are set so close to the road that on rainy days those riders have to stand far away from roadways in order not to be sprayed with water. To add insult to injury, on September 25, the Broward County Commission voted to increase fares 25 cents by year’s end.
Here’s the kicker: Look North on University Drive to the City of Coral Springs. They have installed beautiful green covered shelters with benches and garbage cans. Here is an excerpt from Coral Springs State of the City:
This initiative increases mobility by providing a safer, more comfortable public transportation experience. The Bus Shelter Installation program is complete for 2009, with more than 42 shelters now in place citywide. Broward County Transit will be coordinating the purchase and installation of 16 additional shelters in 2010.
I spoke to Commissioner Roy Gold who is not only pleased with the enhanced aesthetic appearance that resulted from the new bus shelters, but is happy the citizens in Coral Springs now have shelters that can shield them from the from the elements while waiting for the bus.
According to Rich Michaud, Director of Public Works for the City of Coral Springs, Broward County Transit provides the shelter at no cost to the city as long as they maintain them. What does maintenance consist of? He says, they are very low maintenance and only require the garbage be picked up. Coral Springs also doesn’t allow advertising which keeps the bus shelters looking nice. He adds that the city is expecting another 26 shelters in the near future.
So I ask Broward County Transit, our Mayor and Commissioners: When will we be getting all our bus shelters? Our citizen deserves to be treated with dignity no matter if they own a car or if they have to take the bus.
- Sharon Aron Baron created the Woodlands Tamarac in 2010 for original News for the community. In 2011 she went on to create Tamarac Talk, in 2012, Coral Springs Talk and 2017, Parkland Talk.