A 21-mile long elevated railway serving commuters in the Miami-Dade County, FL area. Metrorail's trains are air conditioned, and zoom above the cityscape at about 65 miles per hour. Ample parking is present at most stations, allowing Metrorail to be used as a convenient park and ride service in and out of downtown.

Metrorail serves the following stations, from south to north:

Further information on Metrorail, including station locations and schedules, can be found at the Miami-Dade Transit Agency website, http://co.miami-dade.fl.us/transit

In November 2002, the Metrorail and Miami public transit system will be undergoing a major overhaul and much-needed expansion. The funding will come from a 1/2 cent increase in the sales tax for Miami-Dade county, as well as federal matching funds.

Expansion plans include a much-needed East-West corridor line, which would follow and bypass State Route 836, which as VXO said, is painfully slow almost all the time. This route would include stops at Miami International Airport, and in the West-Dade area, where it would connect to another proposed north-south line paralleling 117th Avenue serving the Kendall suburb.

Another proposed line would extend from downtown, up Biscayne Boulevard to the Broward County line, serving the Design District, Little Haiti, Miami Lakes, and other neighborhoods previously reachable only by bus or private vehicles.

The most exciting proposed line is the Baylink project, which would connect Downtown Miami with Miami Beach. Miami Beach suffers from severe traffic and parking problems, and this would alleviate such issues, as well as diversifying their somewhat insular economy and population.

Additional expansions include a rail line to the southern sections of the county reaching as far as Homestead, as well as proposed short-haul lines connecting neighborhoods to MIA. Bus expansion is on the board, too, with the current plan being to double the current fleet of 635 buses, adding new routes, and increasing the frequency and service hours of current routes.

The effects of this plan are already there, with the automated Metromover service now being free, and the Metrorail scheduled to begin 24 hour service in June of 2003.

The expansion is due to be finished by 2010 or so, with each phase costing a few hundred million to a few billion dollars, depending on the type of technology used, rights-of-way purchases, and so forth.

Updates July 2003

Certain Metrobus lines, the Metrorail, and the Metromover inner loop are running 24/7 now. The bus lines I can think of off the top of my head are the 3 going up from Dowtown to Aventura via Biscayne Boulevard, the S line going up Collins Avenue on South Beach to Aventura, the L line going up Collins from South Beach, and then striking out west along 79th Street, and a few other lines here and there...check http://www.co.miami-dade.fl.us/transit for the list. It's actually handy, I've used the bus lines at 3 or 4 in the morning on a weeknight, and there seems to be a decent amount of ridership. It's mostly graveyard shift workers, crackheads, whores, and other charachters, but they've all paid their buck twenty five, so it's revenue nonetheless. The Baylink project is causing a right bit of controversy on South Beach. The "official" excuse is that the construction will cause undue traffic issues, and 'destroy' the look of South Beach. The "real" excuse seems to be that the residents don't want "undesirables" coming over the causeway en masse. The proposals are up for a vote in September, I will fill in the results.

Updates December 31st 2003

A rail link from MLK Station to the Broward County line is moving forward at a rapid clip...rights of ways need to be purchased, but the neighborhoods along that line are mostly industrial, vacant lots, or impoverished, so that is a minor challenge. I see this line being completed before the controversial Baylink line comes to fruition.

Baylink has entered into the final Environmental Impact Statement/Preliminary Engineering Phase of Study. The designated mode of transit is a streetcar, unfortunately this will be subject to normal vehicular traffic, and is not much more practical than a bus.

Newer buses are coming online, and the 24 hour lines seem to be here to stay, with some routes actually being quite busy in the late night hours.

Updates May 12th 2004

The Metrorail's experiment with 24-hour operation has come to an end. Citing low ridership, the train runs only from 5 AM till 1 AM for now. However, a few people depended on it at that hour, so the Transit Authority put a new bus route into operation, the "Midnight Owl" (Route 500), which follows the Metrorail alignment...the logic being it is cheaper to run a few diesel-powered minibuses rather than a full fledged heavy rail line. The bus is a bit slower, but it beats the alternative, and the Midnight Owl intersects most of the other 24 hour routes at some point. The TA stated that 24 hour service could be reinstated for future rail lines, such as the beleagured Baylink.

The Baylink is still in bureaucratic hell. Other lines are encountering much less public and government hassle, most being in the Enviromental Impact planning phase.

Current project status can be traced at : http://www.miamidade.gov/trafficrelief/home.asp

A Miami Herald investigation in January 2005 found that Miami-Dade Transit cannot afford to build, operate and maintain two-thirds of the Metrorail corridors promised to voters when they approved a half-cent sales tax in 2002, including the expansion of metro rail towards Florida City. According to this investigation in 2002 the county failed to inform the voters that there were fewer prospects for federal money than forecast; however a recent report after the County revised their plans and issued a long term transportation plan shows that improvements planned throughout Miami-Dade County -- may come up more than $200 million short in state and federal matching funds over the next 30 years. The Miami Herald investigation also reveled that an existing deficit was not discussed during the campaign and declining fare revenues were to be blamed. Circumstances have drastically changed since Miami Herald published the report according to Miami Transit June 2005 ridership is showing an increase over June 2004, from 8.2 million to 8.3 million boardings. Parking at all of its bus park and ride lots also went up right after the first big spike in gas prices in August. Overall, the system has enjoyed a 25.6% ridership increase in the last three years, following the adoption of a half-percent sales surtax dedicated to transportation improvements. In May of 2005 ten of the 13 commissioners approved raising Metrobus and Metromover prices from $1.25 to $1.50. Reduced fares, available to Medicare recipients, disabled people and Miami-Dade students, will rise from 60 cents to 75 cents. The increases, which took effect in May 2005, are expected to add about $25.4 million revenue through 2006 to operate the transit system.

 

There have also been reports of mismanagement and safety concerns, it was reported earlier this year that some Miami-Dade County transit drivers are working dozens of hours of overtime each week, more than doubling their pay, but raising questions about safety.

 

There are only three continuous roadway facilities in the South Miami-Dade region (Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike, US 1, Krome Avenue), according to a report published by the Miami-Dade County titled "South Link, Purpose and Need" South Dade (for the purpose of the report South Dade is Miami Dade County south of Kendall drive) has 14 bus routes representing 1 bus route per 37,000 persons. These 14 routes put 30 buses per hour into service, which equates to 1 bus per 14,000 persons. The report suggests that poor coverage and frequency does not encourage people to ride with public transportation (thus more cars on the road). To compound this on April 18th the County Commission is going to take up the issue of changing the Urban Development Boundaries (UDB). If thousands of more houses are build South of Cutler Bay and if major places of employment are north of Cutler Bay, US1 and the turnpike will be gridlocked. United Citizens for South Link has therefore extended its support to The Urban Environment League of Greater Miami, who is fighting to keep the UDB from being changed.

 

 

Of all the transportation corridors the South Corridor is the largest. Population wise it is the fastest growing. Overall population growth in Miami Dade County between the years 2000 and 2030 is expected to be about 34%. The population growth in South Dade during the same period will be about 83%. South Dade pays much of the ½ cent tax (total of $169 million per year) is financing the northern and east-west projects that are already underway. While projects are going ahead in other areas, metrorail extension to South Miami-Dade will be considered for financing in the year 2016 and may start by 2030. South Dade would never have approved the ½ penny tax had they known that they would be paying for Broward residents to have the convenience of catching the train to work in Miami or to go to Miami International Airport and South Dade residents will have to wait till the year 2030 and beyond for the same convenience.

 

 

A new political action committee (PAC) has been formed and registered with the County, United Citizens for South Link (UCSL) to support and advocate the earlier completion of public transportation projects, including the promised Metrorail project along US1 from Dadeland South metrorail station to Florida City.

 

UCSL website: http://metrorailsouth.com

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