Trolley system set to nearly double fleet
Written by Nina Lincoff on February 12, 2014
After five years in service, Doral’s Trolley system is getting ready to expand. Later this year, the city expects to nearly double its fleet of blue, gold and white trolleys from five to eight.
“The demand has grown every year tremendously,” said Jose Olivo, public works director for the city. Enough people are using the trolley to warrant the city’s purchase of three additional trolleys, to be put into action sometime this April.
Since the free transportation option was launched Feb. 1, 2008, the city has seen ridership grow dramatically. Between October 2008 and September 2009, ridership was just above 70,000, but between October 2012 and September 2013, it more than quadrupled to nearly 313,000. Peak ridership is typically during rush hour, Mr. Olivo said.
Today, the trolleys service three routes: Route 1, the Northwest-Southeast Connector; Route 2, the Commercial-Metrorail Connector; and Route 3, the Residential Metrorail connector. Each route has a slightly different schedule on weekdays, although all are closed Sundays. Route 1 and 3 run Saturdays as well.
Moving forward, the city is working to connect all of its transportation options from trolleys to bikes to the Metrorail.
“Connectivity is the focus. We’ve made a lot of headway with all of our three master plans. We’re at a point where all three plans are cohesive enough and working together,” Mr. Olivo said.
Currently the three trolley routes circle Doral. Route 1 is the most trafficked. “It’s sort of our east-west connector route, running all the way from the northwest side to the southeast. That’s the one that is doing a lot of use now,” Mr. Olivo said.
Route 3, which started rolling in late 2011, has caught on quickly and has surpassed Route 2 in use, most likely due to its connection to the Metrorail station on 74th Street, he said. Route Two also connects to Metrorail, and while it routinely meets the city’s target of 10 passengers per hour on average, it lags behind the other two routes.
Once the Downtown Doral redevelopment is complete over the next two years, however, Route 2 should pick up, he said.
While the trolley system is here to stay, that doesn’t mean it’s exempt from growing pains every once in a while.
“We’re constantly changing operations because there are some variables, like when we realize that more people are riding the trolley at night than the afternoon, maybe there’s a need to extend the schedule one more hour,” Mr. Olivo said.
The city’s next public workshop on transit mobility will be from 6 to 8 tonight (2/13) at the City of Doral Government Center, 8401 NW 53rd Terrace, in the first floor multipurpose room.
At the meeting, the city is to present its three ongoing transportation projects – the trolley system, a bike master plan and the overall transportation master plan – as well as its hopes for connectivity.
“We have aggressive plans,” Mr. Olivo said, “and a lot of what we’ve done thus far has been very positive.”