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Front Page » Top Stories » New trolley routes draw big numbers in Miami

New trolley routes draw big numbers in Miami

Written by on August 9, 2016
New trolley routes draw big numbers in Miami

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.

4 Responses to New trolley routes draw big numbers in Miami

  1. Steve Wright

    August 10, 2016 at 10:40 am

    I’m a big fan of trolleys. Fixed and rubber tire transit can take away the crushing expense of owning one or more cars from working families.
    Sadly, most models used locally place wheelchair user spaces over the back tires — the bumpiest part of the ride by far. Why you would place folks with sore joints on the most painful location of the vehicle is beyond me. Also, the wheelchair user seats in the rear are directly under the overhead air conditioning units. This means my wife, on her way to work dressed in her finest, has had clothing ruined by the dirty drippings from AC units. Hopefully, our well-meaning elected and appointed officials could avoid making wheelchair users the modern day Rosa Parks of public transit…ie, welcome aboard but only sit in the back in the most uncomfortable space, littered with AC drippings.

  2. Irwin Seltzer

    August 11, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Granting that increased public transportation of any kind is a very positive thing for Miami, I’m still having trouble reconciling a fare oriented Metrobus / Metrorail system with a free service. Aren’t some transit dollars being siphoned off the paid system making the cost per rider height and reducing funds needed to improve infrastructure and service?

  3. Mario

    August 13, 2016 at 11:54 am

    It would be interesting to see if metro bus passenger numbers are down on the Miami trolley routes. Maybe trolley numbers are up because it’s free and Metro bus numbers are down because it’s not free.

  4. B

    August 14, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    Irwin, I believe the trolleys are funded at least in part from the half penny transit sales tax, and the rest by the City. There isn’t much the City can do beyond running trolleys without running in to the County bureaucracy. Just getting permission to extend the Grove trolley across US1 to connect with Coral Gables took a huge effort! Indeed, a joint Miami/Miami Beach cross Causeway trolley–Bayside, Midtown and Wynwood to South Beach Lincoln Road–would probably double the ridership, especially when the County’s service is inadequate on weekday nights and weekend afternoon/evenings, but the County won’t allow it. Believe it or nor, right now there is NO direct transit connection from Wynwood to Miami Beach, and the Midtown service (Route J) only goes to 41 ST not to South Beach.