New trolley routes draw big numbers in Miami
Written by John Charles Robbins on August 9, 2016
When Miami city commissioners return from the August break Sept. 8, they will again take up the idea of expanding the city’s popular trolley service city-wide.
And they are bound to be buoyed by impressive ridership numbers on the city’s newest routes for its free trolley service.
The city launched trolley service in Little Havana, Coconut Grove and Wynwood on March 1.
Collin Worth, a transportation analyst with the city’s Capital Improvements and Transportation Program, provided Miami Today with ridership tallies that show steady growth on the new routes.
The new trolleys added more than 53,000 riders to the city’s monthly overall ridership for March. In February, city trolleys carried 311,056 riders. When the numbers were tallied for March, the new routes coupled with other increases in ridership totaled 407,851.
Of the three new routes, the service through Little Havana is by far the most popular, followed by Coconut Grove and Wynwood, based on monthly ridership counts for March-June.
The Little Havana route saw 40,585 riders in March, 55,796 in April, 64,184 in May and 71,754 in June.
The Wynwood trolley attracted 3,593 riders in March, 5,126 in April, 5,847 in May and 5,888 riders in June.
The only slight drop in ridership was experienced on the Coconut Grove route between May and June; however a new connection with neighboring Coral Gables may grow those numbers going forward.
In March the Grove trolley service handled 9,692 riders, 14,857 in April, 15,847 in May, and 14,430 in June, according to city officials.
It was May 2015 when commissioners directed the launch of three new routes within six months. It took more than nine months for the changes to be implemented.
Commissioners began pushing the administration in January, and by mid-February the city manager promised the three additional routes would begin March 1.
The additions to the rubber-tired fleet were about 10 smaller cut-away vans, to be used on a temporary basis until the vendor can manufacture the full-sized trolleys.