JACKSONVILLE! The sleeping giant of Florida, the states largest city (anyway you count it). Larger then Buffalo, Atlanta or St. Louis, 3RD largest City on the East Coast...Has FREE TRANSIT.
Jacksonville has a downtown network of 3 Faux Trolley - bus routes. Affectionately known locally as PCT TROLLEYS (for: Potato-Chip-Truck), they don't win any prizes for looks but they're free.
The Jacksonville Transit Blog has interviewed the JTA boss, Mr. Mike Blaylock, and knows he wishes to make the entire system fare-free. The drawback is funding at the State and Municipal level, with a Conservative mayor that is now planning to raid the fixed transit funding for a few more lane miles of highway at our international port.
Blaylock is in a catch 22 position, being between job security and mass transit and the mayor and severely restricted and/or expensive transit.
The battle lines have been drawn ad God knows, it's as much along the lines of "fare-free" as it is "transit free." It will be interesting to see if the local monorail system (The Jacksonville Skyway) and more of the bus system go fare free, they very well might.
That being said, there is an equal chance that Blaylock has to walk home from his job, de-throned by Neanderthals at the top. But Mike should know, he'd be the hero of Transit Systems all over the nation. I can't think of a finer way to move up and OUT!
- Robert Mann