Miami-Dade Transit plans fare hike
By Lou Ortiz
A 25-cent fare increase for Miami-Dade transit riders is scheduled for 2014, along with a 2-cent increase in the county gas tax to help support the bus and rail system.
The Transit Department "projects a 25-cent increase in the base fare [from its current level of $2 to $2.25] in 2014, with another 25-cent increase levied in 2018 and in 2021," according to the draft of the Transit Development Plan, which covers fiscal years 2013 to 2022.
"These programmed fare increases which occur every four years is determined by the policies approved by the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners," the document says.
The Transit Department also anticipates that the increase in the gasoline tax "will be approved, levied, and collected for" the agency's use in 2014, the plan says. The gas tax is expected to generate $13 million a year.
The plan also includes capital improvement projects wrapping up this fiscal year, along with long-term proposals.
The public can comment on the transit proposals through Aug. 31.
"Miami-Dade Transit plans to finalize the Transit Development Plan in early September 2012 after the public comment period is over," said Irene D. Ferradaz, the department's public information officer.
Ms. Ferradaz said the document is scheduled to go before the Regional Transportation Commission Oct. 15, and to the county commission around Nov. 8.
The plan shows that the transit agency is beefing up bus service along the North Corridor and East-West Corridor, where rail extensions have been placed on hold because of county inability to finance or maintain them.
"Recommendations were made for the implementation of incremental transit improvements in the form of enhanced bus service along these corridors; with the Northwest 27th Avenue Enhanced Bus, and the SR 836 Express Enhanced Bus," the plan says.
"These projects will increase mobility while continuing to build the ridership for a future Bus Rapid Transit and possibly heavy rail project for these corridors in the future," according to the plan.
The department is pursing incremental improvements along the Northwest 27th Avenue corridor by providing 13 miles of enhanced limited-stop bus service, from the Miami Intermodal Center at Miami International Airport to Northwest 215th Street.
The deadline to complete phase one, with 10-minute peak/20-minute mid-day trips, is set for this summer with nine new diesel/electric hybrid buses, two existing fleet buses and WiFi.
Phase two, with 10-minute peak/20-minute mid-day runs, is scheduled for completion in 2016. It is to include 11 new diesel/electric hybrid buses, WiFi and an "end-of-the-line-park-and-ride/bus terminal station at Northwest 27th [Avenue] and Northwest 215th Street," the plan says. The project, at an estimated cost of $27 million, is funded.
Similar plans are in the works for the East-West Corridor, with the SR-836 Express Enhanced Bus; providing 13 miles of service from Southwest Eighth Street/Southwest 147th Avenue to the Miami Intermodal Center.
The first phase is funded and expected to begin this year. It consists trips every 15 minutes using the existing buses. Phase two is anticipated for 2016 with trips every 10 minutes, 11 new diesel/electric hybrid buses and an end-of-the-line-park-and-ride/bus terminal station at Southwest Eighth Street and Southwest 147th Avenue.
The transit plan also proposes spending $4,712,010 in fiscal 2012-13 to replace the public address systems on Metrorail and Metromover, among other system maintenance.
Aside from upgrades, the plan through 2020 proposes new bus routes, some of which are responses to citizen requests. They include:
nService along Northwest Seventh Avenue between downtown Miami and the park-and-ride lot at the Golden Glades Interchange. It's anticipated to begin in 2015.
nService between the Miami-Dade/Broward line (Northwest 215th Street and Northwest 27th Avenue) and downtown Miami via the Turnpike and I-95. It's anticipated to begin in 2016.
nService between the proposed Florida Department of Transportation park-and-ride lot at I-75 and Miami Gardens Drive Interchange to the Palmetto Metrorail Station via SR 826. It's anticipated to begin in 2022.
nService along Flagler Street from downtown Miami to West Miami-Dade County. The service is to connect the new Marlins ballpark as well as serve the Government Center Metrorail Station. It is anticipated to begin in 2018.
nService between the Fort Lauderdale Tri-Rail station in Broward County, at Broward Boulevard, and the Civic Center Metrorail Station in Miami-Dade via I-95. It's anticipated to begin in 2014.
nService between the Sheridan Street Tri-Rail station in Broward County and the Civic Center Metrorail Station in Miami-Dade via I-95 It's anticipated to begin in 2014.
nService along Coral Way between downtown Miami and Southwest 14th Avenue. It is anticipated to begin in 2013.
nService along 37th Avenue connecting the Miami Intermodal Center on the north and the Douglas Road Metrorail on the south. It is anticipated to begin in 2020.
nService along Biscayne Boulevard and US 1 from downtown Miami to Aventura Mall. It is anticipated to begin in 2014.
With all the rail and bus activity, the Transit Department has included the development of 15 regional transit hubs.
"The current bus system generally operates on a modified grid pattern to provide feeder services to Metrorail and Metromover stations," the plan says. "Under the modified grid, bus routes will continue to serve their respective corridors and Metrorail stations, but will also provide connections to various routes within the general service area at a single location or transit hub."
"Passenger amenities are planned for these locations to provide transit riders the ability to purchase transit passes, obtain schedule information, shelters with weather protection and benches," the plan says.
The transit hubs locations include downtown Miami, Aventura Mall, West Dade, Florida City Busway at Southwest 344th Street, Golden Glades Multimodal Terminal and Palmetto Intermodal Center.
To comment on the transportation plan, go to: http://www.miamidade.gov/transit/home.asp
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