Updated
Jul 29th, 2019
First Posted
Jul 11th, 2013

A Ride on the Sun Trolley

I had to pick up my car in the area around E17th and Andrews, and rather than taking a cab or an uber (or accepting a free ride over from the shop), I decided to take the trolley.

Now in the summer in Fort Lauderdale the last thing you want is to have to wait outside for a trolley for 15 minutes (they supposedly run every 15-20 minutes on no set schedule); so checking out the accuracy of their app was the first step. You can track the trolleys on your desktop or on your phone; I can see SE 3rd from my office window so I could see when the trolley went by and compare it to the location on the app to see the lag. Obviously the app is going to be *some* time behind where the trolley actually is.

So when the app said it was near where I could see; I started watching. I saw the trolley zip by and it looked like the app was about 1/4 mile behind. Not bad. So I'd be able to head down when the trolley was about 1/2 mile away and not have to wait very long.

When I checked the website I noticed they had an Airport route, something I proposed many years ago when they were talking about running the dopey Wave project to the airport. I tried to check out the route, only to encounter this:

Leave it to the city of Fort Lauderdale to cancel the only useful route; no reason given. When I checked out the rules; I saw something that might have contributed to the failure of the Airport link.

No Luggage. Great. Let's go to the airport with no luggage. What are we going to do there? Watch the planes? Grab lunch at one of the great Airport restaurants?

Also there are no drinks or food, so don't think about bringing a water bottle with you on your "journey" in the 95 degree heat. I get that they don't want people eating a burrito on the trolley, but no beverages?

OK, well I didn't have luggage and I wasn't going to have to wait long for the trolley, so no problem for me. The trolleys don't have designated stops; the instructions say you can just wave down the trolley and it will stop to pick up up. Here''s the exact text from the web site:

Boarding the Sun Trolley is just like hailing a cab. As long as you are standing in a safe location along any of the Sun Trolley’s seven routes, just wave to the driver signaling that you would like to board. When you’re ready to get off, just let the driver know where along the route you would like to be dropped off.

There's a bus stop at the corner of SE 3rd and Las Olas; what could be safer than a bus stop? So I set up and waited. Maybe a minute after getting there I saw the trolley right away.

As soon as it started to cross Las Olas I started waving. Two arms, full flapping. But the Trolley didn't slow down. It wizzed by me; I started yelling "Stop, Stop". It finally stopped 30 yards past me.

As I got on the woman driver scolded me in some sort of ghetto dialect unfamiliar to me; I'm not sure what I did wrong. Considering that there was 1 person on the bus I'm not sure what the hurry was.

No seat belts on the trolley. If the trolley crashes; everyone dies.

The "other" passenger got off at the hospital, and another lady got on. It didn't even stop at the courthouse.

I got off at SE 17th and Andrews; I'm somewhat surprised that she let me off.

Conclusion

Now that the Wave Streetcar is off the table, there's an opportunity to use the money saved to put together a sensible, tourist-friendly transportation system; but the City is too busy eliminating lanes and building bike paths to do anything that makes sense. Imagine the pull of the city if tourists could come here without having to rent a car or worry about expensive transportation from the airport. Get off your plane, onto a bus or trolly which takes you to your hotel at the beach. And then be able to get anywhere with free or cheap transportation? Cancun has this; busses that goes back and forth along the "hotel zone" and you can take it just about anywhere for less than a dollar.

But no, there's no airport link or sensible routes. Why is there no US 1 route that circles from the beach to the Galleria to Las Olas to SE 17th? To get to the Galleria from Las Olas, you have to take a trolley to the beach and then another trolley to the Galleria. An all day project. How do I get to Total Wine from Las Olas? Take a trolley to the beach and then another one to SE 17th. An hour ride to go 2 miles.

And then there's the biggest joke of all:

As of December 7, 2018, the Beach Link is operating with a new schedule, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

So if you're staying at the beach you can't go to dinner on Las Olas; and if you want to drink and not drive, the trolley isn't available in the evening. It's a total joke.

A total waste of taxpayer dollars brought to you by the corrupt people running the City of Fort Lauderdale. Either corrupt or incredibly stupid. One or the other.

Sun Sentinel Conspiracy Theory: Posted 7/13/13

I recently uncovered a lot of BS surrounding the infamous Sun Trolley, some of which was mentioned in a recent article about The Wave Streetcar project. Another tidbit of interest arose in a "Reader" letter published by the Sun Sentinel. It creates a bit of curiosity on my part; it raises the question: "Is the Sun-Sentinel a party to the propaganda, or do they just have editors that are lazy morons?" Those are about the only 2 possibilities.

The "Letter" was a rebuttal to an article written by Mike Mayo that was critical of The Wave project, in which Mayo cited the anemic ridership on the Courthouse link, which has a route similar to the proposed $142 Million Streetcar route.

The letter was authored by Alfonso Quiton, who purported to be a "resident of Fort Lauderdale". But the irony is, there's a dude by the same name who is listed as the Operations and IT coordinator for Sun Trolley! Coincidence? Highly unlikely.

In the letter, he says that he "checked with the Sun Trolley staff", clearly posing as a non-staffer himself. This, my friends, is outright lying.

The letter was from April 10, and checking the wayback machine, Mr Quiton was listed at the same post in February. So it's not like they hired him for his good deed.

Adding insult to injury, another post referring to the letter appears on the Sun Trolley wordpress blog, which might very well be run by Quiton if he's the IT coordinator. How special.

You can view the article here. You'd better hurry, because a bunch of articles disappeared after our Wave article was posted, including this one:

thank goodness for Google's cache! The Sun Sentinel seems to let other shill letters remain on their website, such as this one, while apparently scrubbing negative ones. There are currently no remaining Letters criticizing The Wave on their web site.

So the questions remain. How did Alfonso Quiton's shill "rebuttal" get published? Any monkey with a keyboard could find out that he's involved with Sun Trolley, so they either didn't bother, or they knew who he was but published the letter anyway. And why do they allow shills from the city to have their views appear on their web site ad infinitum, but scrub opposing views? Do they allow opposing views to appear for only a few weeks, or are they personally removed by someone who disagrees with them?

The media is supposed to protect the public by exposing government propaganda; they're not supposed to partner with the propagandists and provide them with a platform. That's how things work in places like Venezuela and China; not in the USA.

The public would much rather read an expose about how the City is trying to hoodwink them then they would some shill from a city planner; but maybe that's why fewer and fewer people read newspapers; they don't seem interested in doing what newspapers are supposed to do.

Comment Policy Add Comment
Alan
Reply
"The media...That's how things work in places like Venezuela and China; not in the USA."

You need to correct that statement and include the good ol' US of A. Lazy journalism and microphone holders posing as investigative reporters are du jour for at least a decade here. Fact checking and unbiased reporting are mostly things from a bygone era. Most of the public could care less as long as the can still happily text to their heart's content while doing 65 on I-595!
Randolph
Reply
Does the Orlando, I mean Ft Lauderdale Sentinel even have Local Reporters these days?

It's a ghost of its former self.
Administrator
Reply
They have bloggers. Not really reporters.
Debbie
Reply
All of the people pumping up the Trolley are employees or involved in The Wave project. They have some sort of campaign going on Tripadvisor. The have more reviews on TA than they have ridership!

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