Ride what? Yes, today’s blog is about the bus. When was the last time you rode a bus? Have you ever ridden a bus in Jacksonville? (Shuttles to the Jaguar’s games don’t count).
For me, the answer to this last question was “no”, and perhaps this is why I waited so long to complete the Public Transportation series. But faced with a 6-hour wait in Baymeadows while my car was being detailed, I decided to catch a bus headed to town.
A couple things I learned on this adventure:
- Fares are $1.50, and exact change is required
- A bus can get you just about anywhere in Jacksonville
- The trip was comfortable and convenient
- SENIORS RIDE FREE!
So, next time you’re thinking about driving the car, consider checking out the bus options. Information is available at the Jacksonville Transportation Authority website. More about my visit to town in a future article.
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority Trolleys offer flexibility in getting around Downtown, Riverside and the Beaches. Fares are $1.50
The Riverside Trolley route runs from downtown Jacksonville to Riverside and back. Stops include Hemming Plaza, Jacksonville Landing, Memorial Park, and Riverside Park.
The Beaches Trolley runs North and South along A1A from Atlantic Beach to Ponte Vedra. Stops include Atlantic Village, Hugenot Park, Jacksonville Beach City Hall, South Beach Parkway Shopping Center, and South Beach Regional Shopping Center.
The Jacksonville Water Taxi offers a fun and scenic ride across the St Johns River, stopping at 5 points of interest along the North bank and South bank Riverwalk – Jacksonville Landing, Friendship Park, the Crowne Plaza, the Wyndham and Municipal Marina.
Catch a Planetarium show at the MOSH Museum, then ride across the river for a smoothie at An Apple a Day in the Landing!
Cost: Adults – $3.00, Children and Seniors – $2:00 Info at jaxwatertaxi.com
The St. Johns River Ferry is a daily ferry service between Fort George Island and Mayport Village. If you are driving along A1A, taking the ferry across the St. Johns River will save you 24 miles over driving across the Dames Point Bridge.
Did you know the ferry has been operating since 1874? There are not too many ferries left in the USA, and we are fortunate to have one right here. Taking the ferry is a great way to begin an outing to one of the Talbot Island State Parks or to the town of Fernandina.
Not only are there awesome views, but if you are fortunate, you may have the opportunity to meet BJ, one of the ferry’s most popular employees. After loading all the cars on board, BJ personally greats the passengers, posing for pictures and brightening everyone’s day with his joy and humor. When the couple near me asked him to take their picture and then kissed, he exclaimed loudly: “Hey, wait a minute, this isn’t the love boat, you know”! Then, as we approached Mayport, BJ ran to tie up the ferry and direct cars off before loading a new group on.
If you go: The ferry operates approximately every half hour. Fares at the time of this writing are $5 for cars, $3 for cyclists, and $1 for pedestrians. More information at the St Johns River Ferry website.
The JTA Skyway has been one of the biggest points of contention in Jacksonville. First opened in 1989, with a final extension in 2000, it has won awards for its design and is regarded as state-of-the-art. Critics refer to it as the “$200 million ride to nowhere”.
The 2.5 mile elevated monorail is one of the nation’s 3 downtown fully automated people moving systems; the other 2 systems are in Miami and Detroit. Terminals are located at Kings Avenue on the Southside, the Convention Center on the West, and Florida State College of Jacksonville to the North. Each train can have 2 – 6 cars and travels up to 35 miles per hour.
Have you ever ridden the Skyway? It is now FREE! Just park your car near a station, hop on and ride!
My conclusion after a first trip: If there were ever a commuter transit system to Union Station, then the Skyway Express could serve as a link for people traveling downtown. For today, it was a pleasant ride to nowhere with an opportunity to see Hemming Park from above.