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Front Page » Transportation » All-free Miami-Dade transit is answer, Xavier Suarez says

All-free Miami-Dade transit is answer, Xavier Suarez says

Written by on December 17, 2019
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All-free Miami-Dade transit is answer, Xavier Suarez says

Among attempts to regain riders on Miami-Dade transit, some, like contactless payment and monthly discounts, are here now. Others, like Transit Alliance’s redesign of the Metrobus route network, are near.

But Commissioner Xavier Suarez says one solution gaining steam around the US, at which city trolleys here excel, could add widespread ridership: make it free.

“It is time for Miami-Dade County to come into the 21st Century and provide fare-free public transportation,” Mr. Suarez said in a Dec. 15 press note. “Given the fact that total revenues from buses and Metrorail barely exceed $100 million, which is less than 2% of the operating budget for the county, the time has come to induce the use of mass transit by any and all means.”

Mr. Suarez’s office has asked the county attorney’s office and Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) to draft resolutions calling for studies of how and why Kansas City, MO, and Salt Lake City, UT, proposed fare-free public transit, including expected cost and impacts.

If local lawmakers adopt the resolutions, Mayor Carlos Giménez and TPO Director Aileen Bouclé’s offices would have 90 and 120 days, respectively, to do the studies and report.

Kansas City council members Dec. 5 unanimously asked staff to examine a funding plan for free bus service that Mayor Quinton Lucas told NPR could save residents “$1,500 to $2,000 a year.”

The move would cost the city about $9 million, roughly what it gets yearly from bus fares, CityLab.com reported.

Los Angeles, Denver and Salt Lake City – whose Free Fare Zone runs across 10 square blocks downtown – have looked at such plans.

In a one-year experiment with citywide free transit in Austin, TX, from 1989 to 1990, use rose 88% in seven months but security incidents on transit shot up 143% and the city’s school district said the “program … promoted truancy by enhancing student mobility.”

7 Responses to All-free Miami-Dade transit is answer, Xavier Suarez says

  1. DC Copeland

    December 18, 2019 at 9:27 am

    “Mr. Suarez’s office has asked the county attorney’s office and Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) to draft resolutions calling for studies of how and why Kansas City, MO, and Salt Lake City, UT, proposed fare-free public transit, including expected cost and impacts.” Instead of wasting time and public dollars, why not just pick up the phone and ask them? Maybe they’ll be kind enough to send you an outline on how they did it, at no charge.

  2. roberto pulido

    December 18, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    The reason of the exit from trolleys is that are FREE.

    The Dade County Buses see that as competitor that take out ridership
    and they take out bus then make worst the service because with the thinking that
    30 minutes waiting is good service when was trolley with bus the time
    waiting can be less.

    THE PROBLEM IS COORDINATION.

    With all free they can improve to a better service every 10 minutes.

    Then the ridership will be up. (and the riders save money).

    BUT THE SOLUTION IS USE BUSES NO MORE IMITATION TROLLEYS.

    As I tell before:

    The origen of the trolley
    Was the american consul General LEE who do that business in Havana.
    No air condition. The natural air come from the windows and is pulled up
    to go out with the raised ceiling.
    The seat made from rattan are good to circulate the air.
    And the floor was at level more easy to go in.
    The real Miami Trolley is in the Museum.
    The ELECTRIC BUSES ARE THE REAL SOLUTION IN 2020.
    THEY DIDNT THE TROLLEY TO TAKE ELECTRICITY
    HAVE BATTERY.
    The problem with the imitation is the bad performace.
    IS NOT AT LEVEL TO THE OLD PEOPLE THAT NEED TO USED.
    HAVE NO CAPACITY
    THE ELEVATOR IS NOT WORKING THE CHOFER KNOWS.
    BUT IS NOT QUICKLY REPAIR
    THE SEAT BROKEN DIDNT GO UP. THE AIR CONDITION LEAKING.
    ARE NOT CONNECTED TO SATELLITE NO APP WITH THE TRANSIT
    SYSTEM.
    MORE THAN 30 MINUTES WAITING
    AND SOME HAVE NO OUTSIDE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER TO REPORT
    WHEN DO NOT
    STOP AT THE BUS STOP

  3. TransitDave

    December 19, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Bad Idea

  4. Elizabeth Shepard

    December 23, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Making it free won’t induce many more people to use it as long as it remains a grossly inadequate, unreliable, and unpleasant system.

  5. Bud Legal

    December 30, 2019 at 12:18 am

    I think it’s a splendid idea. Transit quality is likelier to improve through growing ridership (ie political constituency) than through increasing revenue. I think Dade will recoup a lot of value through taxation of the value this measure would add to properties near transit. Stack housing on top of the strip malls along the busway and the metrorail!

  6. TransitDave

    December 31, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    The reason why MD county has such trouble getting metrorail projects funded is that free or reduced Transit has always been a goodie for our elected officials to throw around like candy, meanwhile, the Feds fund transit projects based on farebox recovery rates. There is no free lunch, and there is no “Free” transit.

  7. James B. McKnight

    January 9, 2020 at 8:13 am

    If you want to increase ridership for mass transit, stop constantly building more lanes on roads. If you are going to commit to mass transportation, then do it. Area’s in the city with poor available service improve. Having train service to Kendall and down to Homestead would have a positive impact. I got rid of my car 5 years ago. I take public transportation everywhere. I renew my bus pass monthly. I spend $1,344 a year and monies for Lyft when I’m tired.

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