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Front Page » Transportation » Miami-Dade transit takes worst plunge in use ever

Miami-Dade transit takes worst plunge in use ever

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Written by on December 26, 2017

Miami-Dade transit takes worst plunge in use ever

Miami-Dade’s beleaguered transit system took its worst plunge in use ever in the past fiscal year, new figures reveal.

Ridership among all four transit modes declined a combined 9.6% as almost one in every 10 riders disappeared.

Declines hit across the board, though the drop in bus passengers, the largest single group of transit riders with 58 million yearly trips, was greatest, at 11%,

The figures through Sept. 30 appear in the Department of Transportation and Public Works’ just-released monthly Ridership Technical Report, which as usual provides no analysis. Officials did not issue a formal statement.

But bottom lines by fiscal year show the passenger exit increasing in intensity just as the county is promoting plans for six new legs of mass transit in its multi-billion-dollar Smart plan and shortly after the first new Metrorail train since the system opened in the 1980s was placed into service amid fanfare.

The 9.6% overall use plunge in fiscal 2017 followed declines of 6.9% in 2016, 4.8% in 2015 and 0.6% in 2014. The last ridership gain for the system was 3.2% in 2013.

The plunge in bus use of 11% followed falls of 10% in 2016, 5.8% in 2015 and 2% in 2014. The last gain was 0.7% in 2013.

Metrorail use fell 6.9% after a dip of 2.1% in 2016. Metrorail gained 1.5% in 2015, 2.6% in 2014 and 12.9% in 2013.

Even the free Metromover encircling booming downtown lost 8.3% of riders in 2017. It had gained 3.8% in 2016, 0.2% in 2015, 3.6% in 2014 and 5.2% in 2013.

Total ridership on all legs of the system, including Special Transportation Services for wheelchairs, fell below 90 million last year, to 89.08 million rides. In fiscal 2013 it was 110.7 million rides.

Paradoxically, as transit use has fallen, anxiety about traffic congestion and desire for added transportation options have risen as transportation has become the community’s most vocal concern.

19 Responses to Miami-Dade transit takes worst plunge in use ever

  1. DC Copeland

    December 27, 2017 at 7:38 am

    If they could get the “face” of MDT– it’s bus drivers, etc– to act friendly by greeting riders with a smile and a hello, maybe that might help a bit with boosting ridership. It’s a helluva lot cheaper than upgrading buses and trains.

  2. Julio

    December 27, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    The reason for the plunge is very simple- UBER & LYFT. Its a quick more reliable and affordable way to transport. People are tired of bus driver’s being late, and riding along with the homeless and thugs.

    • santiago

      December 28, 2017 at 10:48 am

      I would agree with you to an extent. I don’t think Uber and Lyft are more affordable than public transit but it was the reason I chose to not renew my car lease…. Keep in mind not everyone is willing to spend over $5-10 per trip in uber rides to get to work everyday. Public transit is like any product in the service industry if your service sucks people will not come back.

      • Grato de Cardenas

        December 29, 2017 at 8:57 am

        Don’t forget to add the geography and physical senseless suburban sprawl ( I don’t care to call it urban sprawl as there is nothing urban about it). When are we going to realize that American cities are not built for mass transit? There is nothing encouraging to take mass transit. Stations are devoid of markets, stores, human activity. Where is the density around mass transit stations? The only density I see is more parking lots and more suburban sprawl in areas without mass transit.

    • B

      December 29, 2017 at 12:15 am

      Not Uber and Lyft in a vacuum, but Uber and Lyft in light of declining transit service and massive cuts at the County level. Seattle has plenty of Ubers and Lyfts and has seen transit and biking increase.

  3. AO

    December 27, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    The reason for the decrease is the low frequencies, slow speeds and bad and declining reliability of transit in Miami. Trains, Buses, Mover are all constantly unreliable.

  4. Marc

    December 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    While the drops have been trending for months now I’m sure Irma had something to do with the historic drop.

  5. Charlotte Greenbarg

    December 28, 2017 at 8:05 am

    We knew it was MetroFail from the get go. See Miami Herald Tropic magazine Sept 1985. John Dorschner.

  6. Joseph Nodarse

    December 28, 2017 at 11:46 am

    I will keep it simple, I agree with Julio. Miami Dade Transit is the worst public transportation system in the country, if not the world. The drivers are rude, late, most can’t speak the proper languages,they go out of their way to make your ride a terrible experience.
    UBER, LYFT and now BrightLine Trains will put Miami Dade Transit out of their misery. It’s a culture within Miami Dade Transit that needs to be fixed to serve such a vibrant tourism market. It’s the most unpleasant experience riding with nasty drivers who are late, lost, can’t give directions, plus the thugs and such make it that much worse. Lastly the buses are outdated, dirty, smelly, people will continue to use UBER, LYFT, etc. Miami Dade, you never seem to amaze me how bad of a city/county you are. Good Luck to BrightLine Trains, hopefully someone will fix the water taxi which also failed. #ONLY IN MIAMI.

    THANKS,

    joe

  7. Oscar

    December 28, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    If you cut back on service, have unreliable schedules, and are frequently plagued with delays — guess what — you’re going to see ridership drop. This drop has more to do with the incompetence of local transit management and the terrible execution of our already limited network than with any systemic shift away from transit.

  8. Charlotte Greenbarg

    December 28, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    I was there when MetroFail passed in the 70s. We told them it would never become popular except amongst the lobbyists and lawyers who needed to get from S Dade to Government Center. Miami Herald Tropic Magazine (John Dorschner) did an expose` in 1985. The fixed rail profiteers can now cease and desist from claiming people want rail.

  9. Vicki

    December 28, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    It’s declining simply because of each counties free trolleys most people would rather ride for free than pay to ride

  10. Richard

    December 28, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    I am concerned that this decline in number of riders will demotivate our politicians even more to fund improvements in our mass transit service, which will result in a vicious cycle plummeting even more the number of people using the service in the near future. What really needs to be done is prioritization of the expansion and construction of the outdated system of public transportation in Miami so the community is more motivated to rely on it.

  11. Ronald A Marini

    December 28, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    The Metrorail service is abysmal. Most of the cars don’t have fully functioning air-conditioning so that by the time you arrive downtown you look like you went swimming in your suit.

    Why new Metrorail cars are sitting in storage by the airport and not being placed in service, doesn’t help resolve this issue.

    Older Metrorail cars also contribute to numerous delays in shutdown on the track, which is also exasperating when you have meetings downtown.

    Let’s face it, the surface is not good and needs to improve dramatically in order to attract ridership.

    I for one would love to be able to use the Metrorail again where the cars fully function and the trains arrive on time every time.

  12. Ronald A Marini

    December 28, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    The Metrorail service is abysmal. Most of the cars don’t have fully functioning air-conditioning, so that by the time you arrive downtown you look like you went swimming in your suit.

    Why the new Metrorail cars are sitting in storage by the airport and not being placed in service, doesn’t help resolve this issue.

    Older Metrorail cars also contribute to numerous delays and shutdown on the track, which is also exasperating when you have meetings downtown.

    Let’s face it, the service is not good and needs to improve dramatically in order to attract ridership back.

    I for one would love to be able to use the Metrorail again where the cars fully function and the trains arrive on time every time.

  13. Jacqueline

    December 28, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    As I have said before, let’s put Uber in charge of our public transportation system, in other words privatize it. A private company would not tolerate our surly drivers and unpleasant inefficient system.

  14. D

    December 29, 2017 at 9:49 am

    All I ever see are criticisms and complaints. People we need to start getting rid of these public official that are ruining our transportation system. We had the best transportation system in the southeast and now its diminishing. This is our community not theirs. Bitching and Complaining isn’t gonna solve anything if its not towards the right people. That’s the problem with Miami, Everyone is for themselves.

  15. Domenico

    January 2, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    This is a topic that, as they say in Italian, “it’s a dog that bites its tail”. If ridership goes down, they cut services. But if services are cut, there would be less riders (becomes unreliable). Services have to be improved no matter how many riders there are. Eventually, when they see it’s reliable, they’ll use it. “Build it and they will come”.

  16. Charlotte Greenbarg

    January 2, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    That’s what they’ve been saying since the 70s. Learn from history. They built it. They didn’t come.

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