I’m in a cab from the Orlando airport to my hotel. I was supposed to be on the Mears airport shuttle… two hours ago… but apparently the challenge of taking a list of prepaid reservations, and calculating how many buses you’ll need to take people to places, is too much for them. So after 90 minutes of waiting around, and watching the dispatchers try to conjure more shuttles out of thin air and deal with an ever-increasing crowd, I threw in the towel, and headed for the cab line.
I don’t know what is responsible for it, but airport shuttle services seem to display all the problems you can imagine with captive markets. Once they have your money, they seem have very little incentive to actually get you where you want to go in a reasonable amount of time; Mears seemed to just not know how to get enough shuttles, as they were borrowing cabs (which I saw were actually owned by the Mears transportation group, so it was kind of all in the family). But this is not a problem specific to this company: I’ve had mediocre to bad experiences in all kinds of cities. Nonetheless, this seemed extreme.
Florida, meanwhile, has that unstable, holographic feel that I always have when I go to Arizona: that this is a place where you people probably really shouldn’t live, and may not be inhabitable in another 50 years. Maybe there’s something in the air after the housing crash– it’s a kind of post-speculative prick in the bubble of reality. But flying over the state, it looked to me like most of the place was kind of semi-liquid, as if earth existed here in a state of matter unknown anywhere else in the U.S. While Arizona felt so dry as to be unable to sustain human life (especially millions of air-conditioned retirees, college students, and porn stars), Florida feels like it could just melt back into the Gulf.
Of course, living in the Bay Area as I do, I’m not being critical of the place, so much as recognizing another unstable but over-designed environment. Should make for an interesting couple days….