A reporter's journey: Riding the bus from Port Orange to Daytona Beach
With the talk of shopping carts being strewn across Port Orange, I was curious about who was using them. I contacted my friend, Tori Inglett, a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, who relies on public transportation to get groceries and supplies. I was on a mission to see what it was like to use the bus.
You have to study the schedule to make sure the right bus was coming at the right time and going to the right place. We got to the bus stop 10 minutes early on a sunny and crisp Wednesday, Dec. 14. Tori said it was important to get there early — and to have exact change. For $3.75, you can have an all-day pass that will take you anywhere throughout the city.
Tori had strong opinions about bus stops. There were no places to sit to wait for the bus. She remembered a time up until 2015 when benches were put by the stops, which made it easier on passengers. Because one sometimes had to wait in all types of weather — extreme heat, cold, wind, and rain, she thought there should be shelters with roofs to protect people, especially at key locations such as hospitals, certain stores, and areas where the elderly were in high numbers. Tori thought that if benches were brought back to the bus stops, it would eliminate the shopping cart problem because she thought people used carts to sit on while waiting for the bus.
Bus 4 came to take us to the Transfer Station in Daytona. I got on, fumbling with my money, at which time Tori patiently explained to the bus driver, "It's her first time."
The driver smiled, I was initiated, and off we went to find our seat.
Heading toward the rear, we climbed three mini steps to double seats. Big windows let us see all the sights along Ridgewood Road. I kept my eye out for other bus stops along the way to see what they looked like. Most were like the ones we had, with a cement curb, and a single pole with a sign. In South Daytona and Daytona Beach, trash cans were put next to the bus stop signs. There was no food or drink permitted on the bus, so the trash containers offered an easy way to discard trash.
The bus had a clean, blue decor with matching, padded, comfortable seats. To the front of the bus on the right side, the seats folded up so that wheel chairs or scooters for disabled riders would be secured. By the door was a ramp that folded out to allow wheel chairs to be rolled right onto the bus. Individuals with walkers, shopping carts and scooters were easily accommodated. The bus driver vigilant and kind to his passengers.
As we continued on our journey, the bus filled up. I met Carol Barksdale, who was returning to Holly Hill from the Port Orange Big Lots store. She liked shopping at the Port Orange store because it was better organized, easier to get around in, and had more selections than the other one. She had her own cart that she brought that looked much like a shopping cart, only smaller. She had no hardship with getting her supplies to her place because her son met her at the steps and took her groceries, one bag at a time, up to her apartment.
The bus pulled into the transfer terminal along side the rest of the fleet. The terminal was loaded with people, steel benches, trash cans, and signs identifying various destinations throughout the city and beyond. At one end of the terminal, shopping carts were piled up in one area. A city worker informed me that the homeless leave them there.
Tori and I walked the rest of the way to downtown Daytona, but had we wanted, we could have transferred to a bus that would take us to the center of town. Lunch was delicious and too short before we needed to be back at the station for our trip home. We had to hustle to make the bus before it left the dock. It was a good thing those seats were comfortable! I huffed and puffed my way back.
During the entire trip, I kept my eyes open for wayward shopping carts tilted on their sides. I did not see any on this trip.
Finally, we arrived across the street from where we started. My bus trip had come to an end. I felt quite cosmopolitan. All I needed was a good latte and a copy of Rick Steve's Europe to round out the day.