Key West Transit Takes Step Towards Future With August Public Hearings

By Chris Hamilton, July 30, 2020

On May 20th we brought you the story Shhh… Key West Transit Has Quietly Changed Their Routes upon their return May 16 from a Covid shutdown. The City is now holding mandated public hearings on those changes on August 12th and 26th via Zoom. Prior to their Covid shutdown of the system, the City’s Key West Transit operated four City Routes, the Red, Orange, Green and Blue routes, the Duval Loop and the Lower Keys Shuttle. They consolidated the four City Routes into two simpler North and South routes. That’s the change.

These Are the Old Routes

We’ve long advocated for an end to these rambling, confusing, seemingly aimless routes with their terrible frequency to be replaced by a simplified, more direct and more frequent transit system.

The Promise of a Better Future

The City’s recently adopted (October, 2019) Key West Transit 10-Year Transit Development Pla (TDP) is an ambitious, progressive step in that direction. The TDP promised a system of “Loops” (Duval, Old Town, Midtown, New Town, Stock Island) that were connected by a few simple “Connector” routes (Airport, North (Roosevelt), KWIC (Stock Island) and the Lower Keys Shuttle). All the routes are to run on 15-20 minute frequencies and look like this:

For more background and information on the future of Key West Transit please read our story Reimagining Key West Transit, May 10, 2020 by Roger McVeigh.

What We’re Getting Today

Though they haven’t said it in any public documents, it seems as though the changes instituted on May 16 are the beginnings of implementation of the 10-Year Plan of Loops and Connectors. The North Route, in fact looks like the “North Connector” Route and the South Route looks like the “Airport Connector” Route in the TDP. If so that’s a good thing. What we’d like to know is what is the timetable for the other Loops and Connectors. What’s awful about this interim system is the frequency. It’s the same as before, with the bus coming every 80 to 90 minutes. We hope they’ll quickly rectify this to entice more users to the system. Here’s the current routes that are part of the public hearing:

We don’t see any changes on the Lower Key Shuttle as there still seems to be 10 trips in to Key West each day and 10 trips out.

Questions for the Public Hearing

If we get the chance to ask questions, here’s what we’d like to know:

  • When will the frequencies increase on the new North and South Routes?
  • When will the frequencies increase on the Lower Keys Shuttle?
  • When will the new Loop routes be instituted?
  • Is the City looking at making transit for the City routes free? If not are they developing programs for employers to provide free transit to their employees?
  • Is Key West Transit going to put up map and schedule information on the City routes and Lower Keys Shuttle like is done on the Duval Loop?
  • When is Key West Transit going to upgrade its outdated website and institute a marketing program?

We applaud Key West Transit for moving forward with their long-term plan and we hope it get’s implemented sooner than later.

Here’s a Handy Web Page to Bookmark Bus Routes in Key West

Friends of Car-Free Key West Getting Around Key West Guide – Bus

Chris Hamilton
Chris Hamilton

A native of the District of Columbia, where for a couple decades+ he led the nationally renown Commuter Services unit for Arlington County, VA’s DOT, Chris has lived in Key West since 2015. He lives car-free downtown and works and volunteers for a couple non-profits.

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