I absolutely understand what Daniella was going for here. Traveling is already such a hassle that many times you’d forgo an hour or 2 for convenience sake. Having the idea of going to an Airport to deal with TSA to deal with possible delays and then you gotta go from the airport to the hotel. Its all a hassle but maybe the idea of trains seems simple. It’s low cost, hop on – hop off, and you’re already on the ground so you can just pull up an uber. Being from South Florida I would constantly hear people from the north taking a train from NYC to Boston or just in general in the northeast corridor. I always pictured it being like the Harry Potter train where i would meet cool like minded peers and we can order snacks off the cart that comes around the guy would be nice and tip his hat. I was wrong.
See the one time i went train travel here in Florida was from Orlando to my home in South Florida. What an abysmal time that was. Now to be fair these first few parts took place on a Greyhound bus, but still, If you’re a college aged student without a car looking to travel home, you need a low cost option and this was all part of that experience. Well first off i get to the bus stop, we had to hop on a bus to some random ass city that actually put us further distance from Orlando to South Florida. Next thing you know in this some what spacious bus, this old guy decides to sit next to me. He’s an old built muscular dude with glasses wearing a black tank top and jeans and apparently both knees blown out because he had 2 knee braces on. And not just like the neoprene sleeve knee braces, I’m talking about those metal/abs industrial plastic ones like batman uses after years of kicking ass with absolutely no cartilage in between his joints.
Soon after his quick backstory of how he’s traveling to get double knee surgery, we make it to the actual train stop. Awesome, figured you know what’s probably great about trains is its on a track with no traffic to deal with – Wrong. We didn’t even start the train for 45 minutes because they were waiting for the train ahead of us to move cause apparently there was a station like 10 minutes away and it needed to stop there. 10 minutes south. Why didn’t the bus just drop us off there? I’m not a logistics guy so what ever. Once this thing picks up speed we’re gonna make it down in no time. Got the head phones in, the bionic knee man sat in the middle away from me where air wasn’t blowing as hard, I get comfy. After a cool 2 hours, i wake up and look outside and all i see is a guy in a yellow vest shaking his head. Apparently we hit a deer too, caused one of the engines to fail. One of the engines, you say? This beast of a machine has TWO engines apparently, however, it doesn’t matter because they cant operate independently. Never found out what the point of that was. What i did find out was that it took another hour to unload one engine and attach another. Normally by car it takes roughly 3 and a half hours to go from Orlando to Broward County. This trip took 9 hours lol.
What I’ve come to realize is the discounted cost of traveling via train and bus definitely hampered the money going back into the development of better train and train technology. But It’s still an industry and one, here in Florida, we’re always hearing about get developed more and more to try to connect the major college towns and make them all accessible for regular travel. Brightline was suppose to be a thing where families from down here can shoot up and spend the day at Disney or can train travel to Gainesville to watch UF play Georgia. A way where families can spend money on the infrastructure so we can all make Florida better. My guess is there are a lot of people with warrants out for their arrest, and the people traveling via bus or train definitely travel like this to avoid airport security cause i don’t remember a lick of security at the stations, further more i remember another time i rode the Greyhound home, there was a guy going around the bus asking if anyone wants to join him in the men’s room at the next bus stop to snort some crushed up pills. That experience was actually nice because it was at night and a handful of them got off at the stop and never got back on the bus so it was a pretty peaceful 5 hour bus ride.
I really wish we had the middle ground between car and plane. Realistically if i want to go to Orlando, its 3 and a half hours, gas, etc, but have my car, or flying for like probably under a hundred bucks in 30 minutes but have to get to the airport, either uber everywhere go through security and that whole rigamarole. If i can park my car at a train stop for free, sit on a train for 2 hours while i nap, and get off and can uber where ever I’m going, that would be the sweet spot. But here i thought all these problems happened to trains in Florida when this shit is just train travel all over. If i thought we were 20 years behind, its probably closer to 30 to 35 years behind innovation now seeing that people deal with this shit in the north east as well.