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Front Page » Transportation » Upgrades seek to stem 8% bus use drop

Upgrades seek to stem 8% bus use drop

Written by on August 4, 2015
Upgrades seek to stem 8% bus use drop

County bus ridership is falling rapidly, a trend Miami-Dade Transit officials say they plan to reverse by making the system clean, safe and reliable.

In May, weekday and weekend Metrobus boardings totaled 5,874,383, down 8.2% from May 2014.

This drop tracks national trends, said Karla Damian, Miami-Dade Transit public information officer. The American Public Transportation Association’s transit ridership report for the first quarter of 2015 shows that total bus ridership dipped 1.78% nationwide.

In our world-class city the transportation system must be dependable for all, said Alice Bravo, county transit director. “It’s a quality of life issue so we want to make sure we provide a high livability for the community,” she told Miami Today this week.

To that end, she said her department will analyze bus service and take remedial measures, including sending surveys to learn why people aren’t riding, streamlining routes, focusing on maintenance and possibly adding shelters and sidewalks.

Additionally, Ms. Bravo cited new buses en route. The system received 35 in December and is to get 43 more in a few months. State and federal grants helped upgrade the fleet.

“At the end of the day, the only way to eliminate traffic congestion is for people to use public transportation,” she said. “We have a great bus system and it could work for a lot of people.”

It’s possible, she said, some residents don’t know about it. “I’d like to get some testimonials out there so others can hear about those who use the bus, have been able to get rid of their cars and are seeing substantial savings.”

County bus ridership has fallen for a number of reasons, Ms. Bravo said, including people using new free trolley options that cities and towns are offering.

5 Responses to Upgrades seek to stem 8% bus use drop

  1. DC Copeland

    August 5, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if the only thing needed to get more people riding buses was a change in attitude instead of a change in buses? You know, instead of spending millions on new buses, the only thing needed was getting bus drivers to smile, to be helpful instead of surly.

  2. B

    August 5, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    The best short-term thing to do is get real time bus tracking up ASAP (translation: NOW!!!) and replace the 70% of busses which are beyond their useful life spans. 43 busses is not quite 70% of the fleet…. This needs to take 1 year, not 10!

    Then, get most of those busses in dedicated BUS/Taxi/Emergency LANES. This needs to be done in 2-5 years, not 10-20. No matter how nice and reliable the busses are, nobody will leave their car behind if the bus just gets stuck in the same traffic. AND it makes stops. AND you have to walk too. The point of a mass transit system is to avoid the traffic in the first place and save time and frustration.

    Finally, the long term goal should be to have RAIL on all long-haul regional corridors, and use busses mainly to fill in the gaps.

    • gotchaMIAMI

      August 6, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      All great points that fall on deaf ears of our sleazy politicians. They would rather line their pockets to make Marlins Park happen but can care less about the more important things the community needs.

  3. orlando

    August 6, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Could cheap gas also be part of the reason for the drop in ridership? I remember a couple years ago I actually tried the metro and the bicycle-metro option, but when gas prices started to drop there went my incentive to inconvenience myself through public transport. Unless my cost of driving became prohibiting, more than likely I will continue adding to the density of the streets in Miami. Hate to say this myself as a driver but, will someone ever propose to artificially increase (tax) gas prices? If I was guaranteed that the extra revenue would be used strictly to improve transportation in the city (e.g. fixing streets, improving bus/rail services) I’d consider voting my convenience out of existence. We humans are kind of funny that way. We don’t give up convenience for intangibles such as environmental or other greater good without a tangible reward or a comparable reduction in personal pain.

  4. Chris Hogan

    August 8, 2015 at 4:27 pm