Metrorail (Miami)

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Metrorail
Miami-Dade County logo since 1985
Metrorail livery circa 2011
A northbound Green Line train arriving at Government Center with Downtown Miami skyscrapers in the background
Overview
Locale Miami-Dade County
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines
Number of stations 23
Daily ridership

113,000 passengers
(02/2014, with Metromover)[1]

31 million passengers
(2013 annual, with Metromover)[2]
Website Metrorail
Operation
Began operation May 20, 1984; 30 years ago (May 20, 1984)
Operator(s) Miami-Dade Transit (MDT)
Train length 4 or 6 car trainsets
Headway 3½ - 5 minutes (rush hour)
Technical
System length 24.4 miles (39.3 km)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Average speed 27 mph (43 km/h) - 31 mph (50 km/h)[3]
Top speed 58 mph (93 km/h)[3]
System map
Metrorail Miami routes (interactive version)

Metrorail, colloquially called the Metro, is the heavy rail rapid transit system of Miami, Florida, United States, serving the Greater Miami area. Metrorail is operated by Miami-Dade Transit (MDT), a departmental agency of Miami-Dade County. Opened in 1984, it is Florida's only rapid transit metro system, and is currently composed of two lines of 23 stations on 24.4 miles (39.3 km) of standard gauge track.

Metrorail serves the urban core of Miami, connecting the urban centers of Miami International Airport, the Civic Center, Downtown Miami, and Brickell with the northern developed neighborhoods of Hialeah and Medley to the northwest, and to suburban The Roads, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, and South Miami, ending at urban Dadeland in Kendall. Metrorail connects to the Metromover in Downtown, which provides metro service to the entirety of Downtown and Brickell. Additionally, it connects to South Florida's commuter rail system at Tri-Rail Station. Together with Metromover, the system has seen steady ridership growth per annum, with an average of 105,500 daily passengers in 2013.

In 2012, Metrorail opened its 23rd station, Miami Central Station, at Miami International Airport (MIA), opening a 16-station newly created Orange Line between the MIA and Dadeland South stations. The new line is expected to increase ridership significantly, adding millions of riders per year,[4] and allowing residents and visitors alike direct access from the MIA to Downtown Miami, and greater connectivity between various modes of transit throughout Miami-Dade County. Central Station provides direct service to Amtrak inter-city rail services, Tri-Rail commuter rail, Greyhound Lines intercity bus, and the Rental Car Center. Miami Central Station is expected to attract 150,000 daily commuters and travelers.[5]

History[edit]

Construction[edit]

Metrorail viaduct under construction at Douglas Road in Coral Gables during the early 1980s
Early photo of a northbound Metro train approaching Brickell

In 1971, a study completed by the Miami Urban Area Transportation Study (MUATS) recommended the construction for a rapid transit system for the county.[6] Having experienced a prolonged post-World War II population boom, metropolitan Dade County's permanent population rose by 35% to nearly 1.3 million residents within a decade, among the fastest population growth rates in the United States.[7] Within a year of the study, county residents approved a $132.5 million ($747 million, adjusted for current inflation) bond dedicated to transit, with additional funding approved by the Florida Legislature for transit which, up until that time, operated solely on fare revenue. In 1976, with preliminary engineering completed for the system, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA, then, the Urban Mass Transit Administration) committed 80% of the costs for the first stage of rapid transit system, with the county and state incurring the remaining cost. In the end the system cost over a billion dollars.[8]

In April 1979, the Interstate Commerce Commission ratified an agreement between the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) and Dade County to transfer the then-FEC right-of-way along US 1 to Miami-Dade Transit, then named the Metro Transit Agency (MTA). Groundbreaking for the system the county commission voted to be named "Metrorail" took place at the site of what would become University Station in June. Construction began in December 1980 with placing of a double-tee guideway girder near the University of Miami. The entire original 21 mi (34 km) line contained 2,704 girders, constructed at a cost of $55,887,830.[9] In June 1983, the first segment of Metrorail, 10 stations from Dadeland South to Overtown (now "Historic Overtown/Lyric Theatre") was completed with the construction of the Miami River Bridge. Revenue operation commenced on May 20, 1984 with 125,000 taking the free first-day service from Pinecrest/Dadeland to Overtown.[10]

Additional segments between Earlington Heights and Okeechobee opened between December 1984 and May 1985. In March 1989, a temporary station was opened to provide a connection to the newly opened Tri-Rail commuter rail line, with the now permanent station officially opening in June. Preliminary engineering for a rapid transit extension to the Palmetto Expressway began in 1996 with Palmetto Station opening in May 2003. As far as operational costs, revenues expected for 2006 were $17.15 million, while expenses budgeted for 2006 were $41.29 million. These historic figures became the last the Miami Dade Transit Authority ever disclosed, and are the figures still displayed on today's Miami-Dade Transit webpage as of January 2012.[8]

With the area having a generally low density and lacking transit-oriented development,[11] the Metrorail was designed as a park and ride system, with the idea being that suburban residents would drive to the stations, then commute the rest of the way into the city. Nearly all of the stations outside of downtown Miami have parking facilities, except Tri-Rail Station. Several have large parking garages, such as Dadeland North and South stations, located at the southern end of the system, which combined have space for over 3,000 cars.[12][13] Earlington Heights, located just northwest of Downtown and adjacent to Interstate 95 and the Airport Expressway, has a large garage that was formerly dedicated to Metrorail riders. However, that is now used by the county due to the station's low ridership,[14] with only 95 vehicle spaces currently available.[15] The successful Dadeland garages are at or over capacity, with two of Metrorail's proposed extensions, the West Kendall Corridor and South Link, intended to help alleviate them.[16] The two northernmost stations, which are located near the Palmetto Expressway, Palmetto and Okeechobee, appeal to Broward County commuters with nearly 2,000 combined spaces.[17][18] Additionally, the proposed North Corridor to the Broward/Miami-Dade county line would have included five park and ride facilities totaling 2,650 spaces.[19] In the late 1990s, the plan was to potentially even continue the Metrorail line into Broward County along 27th Avenue (University Drive), ending at Broward Boulevard near Broward Mall in Plantation.[20]

Ridership growth and transit tax[edit]

The urban area known as Dadeland is a part of unincorporated Kendall that sprouted around the two Dadeland metro stations.

After the initial segment of the single Green Line opened, Metrorail saw less than 10,000 riders per day. This increased to 15,000 after the rest of the line and stations opened in late 1984 and 1985.[21] After running out of money due to cost overruns, the originally planned to be 50 miles (80 km) system consisting of several lines was never completed, and lack of transit-oriented development along the single line led to the system being regarded as a boondoggle. President Ronald Reagan commented that, given the low number of riders, it would have been cheaper to buy them all a limousine than the billion dollar cost of building and subsidizing the system.[22] The federal subsidy was approximately $800 million of the $1.02 billion used to fund the line. Ridership was up to 15,000 after the rest of the line had opened.[21] Ridership continued to grow in the late 1980s, with an edge city-like area known as Dadeland in suburban Kendall growing up around the southern terminus of the line at Dadeland North and Dadeland South stations. Consequently, the southern nine stations from Kendall to Downtown Miami have higher ridership than the northern end.[14] This part of the system also has a higher average speed, having fewer curves and long distances between stations as it follows the congested South Dixie Highway.[16] During the 1990s, ridership growth was relatively stagnant, however, and Metrorail remained the subject of criticism.[23] At this time, ridership was up to about 50,000 per day, about a quarter of the original ridership estimate.[24]

Although the original referendum for a one-cent transit sales tax increase had failed in 1999,[19] a half-cent sales surtax (Charter County Transit System Surtax)[25] increase was passed by a two-to-one margin by Miami-Dade County voters in November 2002,[4] with the intention being for the revenue to go fully towards the funding of new transit lines, including the Metrorail Orange Line, new bus routes, and increased service. Metrorail briefly ran a 24-hour hourly service from 12am to 5am and rush hour peak headways were reduced to 6 minutes, but the idea of the transit tax was sold to voters as being able to fund up to 88.9 miles (143.1 km) of additional Metrorail track by the 2030 long range plan, beginning with a completion of an Orange Line north corridor and east–west line by 2016. As it turned out, Miami-Dade Transit was running a deficit and used some of the tax to close the books, as well as using some to hire new staff, pay rent, and buy furniture for their new headquarters at Historic Overtown/Lyric Theatre Station. By the late 2000s recession, it was realized that only the 2.4-mile (3.9 km) AirportLink of the Orange Line would be funded, and after service cuts in 2008, Metrorail was running fewer trains than before the tax was passed.[26] In response to all this, The Miami Herald published a comprehensive exposé titled "Taken For A Ride, How the transit tax went off track", detailing all of the promises that were not kept as well as what money was misspent and how.[16] Despite the service cuts, due to the rise in energy prices and ever-increasing congestion, as well as a significant amount of residential development in the downtown area, ridership continued to grow during the 2000s, averaging well over 60,000 weekday riders throughout 2011.[14][27] However, this is still short of the 1985 estimate of 75,000 daily riders that were expected by the end of that year.[21] The transit tax also funded improvements to the adjoining Metromover system, including removal of the 25 cent fare, with the idea that higher ridership on the system would lead to higher Metrorail ridership, as well as the realization that the cost of fare collection exceeded fare revenue.[10]

Recent history[edit]

As of December 2011, new signs were installed in all stations. They were updated from the old all-green color to a neutral grey to allow for both lines to be shown on them.
Public input meeting poster showing rendering of future Metrorail replacement vehicles

Construction on Metrorail's 23rd station, Miami Central Station at Miami International Airport, began in May 2009; service began on July 28, 2012.[28][29] A new Orange Line was launched, which runs from the airport and merges with the Green Line at Earlington Heights Station, where the two run concurrently to Dadeland South Station. At the new Miami Central Station, the Orange Line connects with the new MIA Mover which runs directly into the central terminal of the airport. Miami International Airport has over 35 million annual passengers is the county's largest employer.[30] Thus the Orange Line is believed to create a significant increase in Metrorail ridership.[31] The new Miami Central Station is expected to eventually attract 7,500 daily passengers to Metrorail. The project was completed on time and under budget.[32]

In addition to private development, several joint-development affordable housing projects have recently been constructed along the Metrorail line with the intent of increasing ridership through transit-oriented development. These projects include Santa Clara apartments, Brownsville Transit Village,[33] and The Beacon, which is located near Historic Overtown/Lyric Theater Station in Downtown Miami. The headquarters of Miami-Dade Transit, also located next to Historic Overtown/Lyric Theater Station, is known as the Overtown Transit Village. Brownsville Transit Village, opening in March 2012, was visited by the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Lisa P. Jackson, on January 5, 2012 to tour the 490-unit development, which will save an estimated five million gallons of water and $50,000 annually in utility bills due to environmentally sustainable plumbing fixtures.[34]

Train and track information[edit]

Inside a Metrorail car
Metrorail
to West Palm Beach (Tri-Rail)
and New York City (Amtrak)
     Palmetto
Florida 826.svg
Florida 826
Palmetto Expressway
Golden Glades
     Okeechobee
Opa-locka
     Hialeah
     Tri-Rail Tri-Rail
     Northside
     Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza
Hialeah Marketoriginally Miami Airport
     Brownsville
Miami River
Airport interchange      Miami Central Station
Amtrak Tri-Rail
Planned Connections
Miami River
Florida 112.svg
Florida 112
Airport Expressway
         Earlington Heights
Florida 112.svg
Florida 112
Airport Expressway
         Allapattah
         Santa Clara
         Civic Center
I-395.svg
I-395
Dolphin Expressway
         Culmer
I-95.svg I-95
         Historic Overtown/Lyric Theatre
         Government Center
Miami River
         Brickell
I-95.svg I-95
         Vizcaya
         Coconut Grove
         Douglas Road
         University
         South Miami
         Dadeland North
Florida 878.svg
Florida 878
Snapper Creek Expressway
         Dadeland South

Tri-Rail and Amtrak lines
Mover to Miami International Airport
transfer to Metromover
transfer to South Miami-Dade Busway

Metrorail runs from the northwest in Medley through Hialeah, into the city of Miami, the downtown area, through Coral Gables and South Miami, and ending in southwest Miami-Dade at Dadeland Mall. There are 23 accessible Metrorail stations, one about every 1.25 miles (or 1.9 kilometers). Metrorail connects to the Metromover system at Government Center and Brickell stations and to South Florida's Tri-Rail suburban commuter rail system at the Tri-Rail Station (see below).

Trains are stored at the Lehman Yard just west of Okeechobee Station.[35] The yard houses 136 cars built by the Budd Company;[36] Miami-Dade's rail cars were among the last orders Budd filled before shuttering its railcar manufacturing business. The cars are identical to those used on the Baltimore Metro (save for the modifications made to Baltimore's cars during their refurbishment in 2005), as the two systems were built at the same time, and the two agencies were able to save money by sharing a single order. Trains draw power from an electric third rail. The cars are 75 feet (23 m) long, 10 feet (3.0 m) wide and have a top design speed of over 70 mph (110 km/h). Each car can hold up to 166 passengers (76 seated, 90 standing).[37]

The Miami-Dade County Government was working with the Citizens Independent Transportation Trust (CITT) to receive money from the half-penny sur-tax approved by voters in 2002 in order to purchase new Metrorail cars. MDT had originally planned to refurbish the existing Metrorail cars with the money instead of replacing them as promised.[38] However, it was found that the fleet had never been maintained properly, and in 2008, a cost-benefit analysis found that, based on the current fleet's condition, a refurbishment would cost just as much as it would to buy new cars, if not more so.[25] The following year, Miami-Dade issued an RFP for new cars to replace their existing fleet, at a cost no greater than $2.419 million per car.[39] Proposals from three railcar manufacturers were reviewed, with only two of which meeting the price requirements, these being from Italy-based AnsaldoBreda and Ithaca, New York-based CAF-USA, an American branch of the Spain-based CAF Industries Inc. CAF's bid was slightly higher than that of AnsaldoBreda, and thus Miami-Dade began awarding the contract to the latter. However, the contract was stalled when CAF filed suit against the transit authority, claiming that their selection of AnsladoBreda was due to the fact that the builder was willing to open a local factory in Miami-Dade County to assemble the vehicles. This violation could render the deal ineligible for federal funding.[36] After reevaluating the bids from the builders, without taking local geographic preference into account, Miami-Dade reaffirmed its selection of AnsaldoBreda,[40] and in November 2012, approved the $313 million purchase of 136 new Metrorail cars from the latter.[41] Miami-Dade issued the notice to proceed the following month, with the cars expected to be delivered starting in 2015 with the final cars delivered in 2017.[42]

The cars are operated in 2-car units, and joined up to form 4-car trains, which is the normal train length. After completion of the AirportLink in 2012, Metrorail increased its service once again, with peak headways of three and a half[35] to five[43] minutes on the shared portion of the line from Dadeland South to Earlington Heights.[35][43]

Along the Metrorail system, the tracks are mostly elevated. The three sections that are not are under I-95 between Vizcaya and Brickell stations, under I-95 just east of Culmer station, and the northern end of the line from just east of the Palmetto Expressway heading west into the Palmetto station and tail track. In each of these cases, the tracks ride on ground level for a brief amount of time.

The platform at each Metrorail station is long enough to accommodate six-car-long trains; the Dadeland North, Earlington Heights, and Government Center station platforms are long enough to accommodate eight-car-long trains. In-service trains are usually either four or six cars long; in the evening it is not uncommon for Miami-Dade Transit to link two out-of-service trains together before returning them to Lehman Yard.

AirportLink[edit]

The AirportLink guideway to Miami International Airport
Main article: AirportLink (Miami)

In May 2009, Miami-Dade County broke ground on the AirportLink Metrorail Extension Project, a 2.4-mile extension of Metrorail that runs from the existing Earlington Heights station to the Miami Intermodal Center (MIC), now completed next to Miami International Airport (MIA).[32] The original Metrorail line was initially planned to be built to the airport, but due to political pressure and lobbying was instead directed to its current alignment around the airport and to Hialeah.[44]

Opened on July 28, 2012, the AirportLink is considered the centerpiece of the People's Transportation Plan (PTP), approved by Miami-Dade voters in 2002. The bulk of the funding for the $506 million project will come from the PTP half-penny tax, with the Florida Department of Transportation contributing $101.3 million.[32]

The AirportLink provides a reliable transit connection to the airport for the millions of residents, visitors and employees who travel to and from MIA every year. With this project, Miami-Dade County joins the many major metropolitan areas around the world with rapid transit connections to their airports. In June 2011, when the Metrorail portion of the project was 81% complete, the project end date was slated as April 29, 2012.[45] As of January 2012, the AirportLink track work was 100% complete, the substations have been electrified and load testing with two-car trains has commenced.[46]

The final phase of the Miami Central Station project, which will serve Tri-Rail and Amtrak with a station located next to the Metrorail station, began construction in September 2011 and is expected to open in 2013.[47][needs update]

Fares and services[edit]

Average Weekday Passengers
(Green and Orange lines only)
Year Ridership
1984 16,000 [48]
1985 20,000 +20.0%
1995 50,400 +60.3%
1996 48,100 -4.6%
1997 47,300 -1.6%
1998 44,871 -5.2%
1999 46,774 +4.2%
2000 47,256 +1.0%
2001 46,664 -1.3%
2002 47,064 +0.9%
2003 51,248 +8.9%
2004 55,294 +7.9%
2005 59,700 +8.0%
2006 58,358 -2.2%
2007 59,708 +2.3%
2008 63,710 +6.7%
2009 59,992 −6.2%
2010 59,900 0.0%
2011 62,559 +4.4%
2012 69,100 +10.5%
2013 72,700 +5.2%
A busy bike and ride rack at Brickell station, some stations have bike lockers; bicycles are also allowed on the trains[49]

As of October 1, 2013, the current standard fare on Metrorail is $2.25 and reduced fare is $1.10. A standard monthly pass costs $112.50 and $56.25 for reduced fare. The monthly Easy Cards are sold at over 50 sales outlets. Reduced fares are available only to Medicare recipients, people with disabilities, and Miami-Dade students in grades 1 through 12. ticket vending machines (TVMs) that sell Easy Cards and Easy Tickets are found in all rail stations. All Miami-Dade senior citizens aged 65 years and older and with Social Security benefits, and veterans residing in Miami-Dade and earning less than $22,000 annually ride free with the reduced fare monthly Easy Card.[50] All of the stations except the five in the downtown area and Tri-Rail station have dedicated parking available. Parking costs $4.50 per day or $11.50 for a monthly pass.[51]

On July 16, 2008, Miami-Dade Transit announced that it would be replacing all fare collection methods with the Easy Card system by late 2009. The system replaces the old cash and token-based system with one that automatically deducts fares at Metrorail fare gates from a reloadable card.[52][53][54] The final station to start fare gate installation was Government Center on August 2, 2009. Since the system launch on October 1, 2009, all passengers using Metrorail must use either an Easy Card or Easy Ticket to enter stations.[55] For almost the full first year of use, the Easy Card ticket vending machines allowed anyone to purchase thousands of dollars worth of Easy Cards by credit card without entering a PIN or billing zip code, which led to credit card thieves putting high dollar values on Easy Cards and selling them at a discounted rate for cash. Miami-Dade Transit initially mitigated this issue by limiting credit card transactions to three per day and a value limit of $112, and later by requiring zip code verification for all cards.[56]

From 2009 to 2011, free wi-fi was added to Metrorail and Metromover cars and stations, as well as certain Metrobus routes, with all Metrorail cars now having it.[57]

Starting July 28, 2012, Metrorail increased service along shared Green and Orange Line stations from Dadeland South to Earlington Heights Stations. Along this stretch of shared track, trains arrive every 5 minutes during peak hours, every 7 minutes during mid-day hours, and every 15 minutes late nights and on weekends. At stations with only one service, trains arrive every 10 minutes during weekday rush hours, every 15 minutes at midday, and every 15–30 minutes after 6 p.m. until midnight with weekend service running every 30 minutes. Metrorail runs from 5 a.m. until midnight seven days a week.[58] For a brief period from 2003 to April 2004 there was 24-hour service supported by the transit tax; between midnight and 5 a.m. trains arrived every 60 minutes.

A limited-stop bus route, Route 500 Midnight Owl, operates hourly between 12:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. trip between Dadeland South and Government Center Metrorail stations. This bus service replaces the 24-hour Metrorail service cancelled due to a lack of ridership.

Construction on the first segment of the Orange Line, Metrorail's AirportLink[59] began in May 2009; service to Miami International Airport began in the summer of 2012.

MetroPath[edit]

The recently completed MetroPath bridge over the entrance to the Snapper Creek Expressway
The new Metro-Path extension running along the track guideway near Dadeland South station.

Beneath the Metrorail guideway from Brickell station to Dadeland South station, along the former Florida East Coast Railway right-of-way, there is a nearly contiguous 10.5 mi (17 km) bicycle and pedestrian trail known as the MetroPath (M-Path) which was built in 1984 along with the metro system. It is popular among cyclists, some of whom use it to commute to and from downtown, as well as runners.[60] In late 2011, the MetroPath was extended and a 200 ft (61 m) bridge was added over the freeway style entrance to the Snapper Creek Expressway (S.R. 878) near Dadeland North station to complete the M-Path[61] with the exception of a few small breaks at major road crossings such as near the north end at Coral Way (SW 13 Street) in Brickell and the Douglas Road area around Bird Road in Coral Gables. Beyond Dadeland South, the M-Path connects with the 20.5 mi (33 km) South Dade Rail Trail, which runs along the South Dade rapid transit busway, also former FEC right of way, all the way to Florida City.[62] Together, the two paths form a continuous 31 mi (50 km) off-road trail for pedestrians and cyclists.[63] Both trails are part of the ambitious East Coast Greenway project. Many additional improvement projects are planned over the coming years as part of the Metropath Master Plan created in 2007, such as repaving, widening, and enhancing crosswalks at major intersections.[64]

Stations[edit]

Varying transit modes operating simultaneously at Government Center
Green Line train arriving at Tri-Rail Station
Miami Central Station under construction in June 2011
New Airport Station as of early 2012
Signs announce the nearly completed Orange Line in late 2011

Metrorail currently operates 23 stations, and combined with the Metromover in Downtown Miami and Brickell, the entire Metro system operates 43 stations. Metrorail stations are located at about a mile (one and a half kilometer) apart along the line, and Metromover stations are located at approximately every two blocks in the greater Downtown area.

Current stations[edit]

Travel times provided are approximate for travel to and from Government Center in Downtown.[65][66]

Station Lines Time to Downtown Connections Opened Average weekday passengers
(02/2014)[67]
Palmetto      Feature parking.svg 31 min Metrobus: 87 May 30, 2003 1,572
Okeechobee      Feature parking.svg 26 min Metrobus: 73, 267 Ludlam Limited May 19, 1985 1,518
Hialeah      Feature parking.svg 23 min Metrobus: 29, 37, 54, 112/L, 135 May 19, 1985 1,822
Tri-Rail      21 min Metrobus: 42, 112/L
Tri-Rail
Amtrak: Silver Meteor and Silver Star
June 5, 1989 1,656
Northside      Feature parking.svg 19 min Metrobus: 12, 21, 32, 79 Max, 112/L May 18, 1985 1,768
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Plaza      Feature parking.svg 16 min Metrobus: 27, 62, 297 27th Avenue Orange Line Max May 19, 1985 1,611
Brownsville      Feature parking.svg 14 min Metrobus: 27, 46 Liberty City Connection, 54, 254 Brownsville Circulator May 19, 1985 1,180
Miami Central Station (Airport)      Feature parking.svg 16 min Metrobus: 7, 37, 42, 57, 110/J,297 Avenue Orange Line Max, 150 Miami Beach Airport Flyer, 238 East-West Connection
Rental Car Center
MIA Mover (to airport terminals)
Amtrak: Silver Meteor and Silver Star (2013)
Tri-Rail (2013)
July 28, 2012 1,557
Earlington Heights          Feature parking.svg 11 min Metrobus: 17, 22, 95,Express December 17, 1984 1,934
Allapattah          Feature parking.svg 9 min Metrobus: 12, 21, 36, 110/J, 246 Night Owl December 17, 1984 2,352
Santa Clara          Feature parking.svg 7 min Metrobus: 12, 21, 32, 113/M, 246 Night Owl December 17, 1984 990
Civic Center          6 min Metrobus: 12, 21, 32, 113/M, 246 Night Owl,95 Express December 17, 1984 6,404
Culmer          4 min Metrobus: 77, 211 Overtown Circulator, 277 NW 7 Av Max, Marlins Shuttle December 17, 1984 1,690
Historic Overtown/Lyric Theatre          2 min Metrobus: 2, 7, 95 Dade-Broward Express, 211 Overtown Circulator, 243 Seaport Connection May 20, 1984 2,013
Government Center          0 min Metromover: Downtown, Omni, and Brickell Loops
Metrobus: 2, 3, 7, 9, 11, 21, 51 Flagler MAX, 77, 93 Biscayne Max, 95 Dade-Broward Express, 103/C, 119/S, 120 Beach MAX, 207 Little Havana Connection, 208 Little Havana Connection, 246 Night Owl, 277 NW 7 Ave Max, 500 Midnight Owl
Broward County Transit: 95X (to: Pembroke Pines, Sheridan Street, Broward Boulevard and Miramar Town Center)
May 20, 1984 13,196
Brickell          2 min Metromover: Brickell Loop
Metrobus: 6, 8, 24, 48, 102/B, 207 Little Havana Connection, 208 Little Havana Connection, 500 Midnight Owl
May 20, 1984 6,077
Vizcaya          Feature parking.svg 5 min Metrobus: 12, 17, 24, 500 Midnight Owl May 20, 1984 1,690
Coconut Grove          Feature parking.svg 7 min Metrobus: 6, 22, 27, 249 Coconut Grove Circulator, 500 Midnight Owl May 20, 1984 2,215
Douglas Road          Free parking 9 min Metrobus: 37, 40, 42, 48, 136, 249 Coconut Grove Circulator, 500 Midnight Owl
Coral Gables Trolley
May 20, 1984 4,595
University          Free parking 12 min Metrobus: 48, 56, 500 Midnight Owl May 20, 1984 2,633
South Miami          Free parking 14 min Metrobus: 37, 57, 72, 500 Midnight Owl May 20, 1984 3,939
Dadeland North          Free parking 16 min Metrobus: 52, 87, 88, 104, 204 Killian KAT, 272 Sunset KAT, 288 Kendall Cruiser, 500 Midnight Owl May 20, 1984 7,420
Dadeland South          Free parking 18 min South Miami-Dade Busway
Metrobus: 31 Busway Local, 34 Busway Flyer, 38 Busway MAX, 52, 73, 136, 252 Coral Reef Max, 287 Saga Bay Max, 500 Midnight Owl
May 20, 1984 8,272

Proposed expansions[edit]

The unused east-west platform at Government Center station, built in 1984 with the existing system, but never completed.

From the beginning, the Metrorail was designed and envisioned to have more lines than the current two line system; however, the federally subsidized cost of the original line ended up over budget at $1.02 billion,[8] after which ridership was much lower than expected. The proposed lines included:[16]

  • The 13.6 mi (21.9 km) Biscayne/Northeast Corridor following U.S. Route 1 (Biscayne Boulevard) from Government Center up to the Broward/Miami-Dade county line in Aventura.
  • The 9.5 mi (15.3 km) North Corridor up NW 27 Avenue to the county line.
  • The South Link, a 21 mi (34 km) extension of the Green Line from Dadeland South to Florida City.
  • The 15 mi (24 km) (West) Kendall Corridor down Kendall Drive from Dadeland North station west to West Kendall and north to the FIU main campus.

It was not until the half-penny transit tax was passed in 2002 that any serious expansion plans were again considered, with the North Corridor and East–West lines, both dubbed the "Orange Line," assuming the highest priority, while the possibility of 88.9 miles (143.1 km) of additional rail if all the extensions were built by 2030, was touted. However, after budget deficits, other uses of the tax revenue, and a downgrade of the North Corridor's funding priority to medium-low by the federal government, after 10 years only the 2.4 mile AirportLink and Orange Line remained promised and realized.

The credibility of Miami-Dade Transit and the County as a whole, including the validity of their ridership estimates and revenue forecasts, has been a significant impediment to their qualifications for funding under the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) approval.[19] In 2011, Miami-Dade Transit underwent a serious federal investigation and takeover by the FTA in which it was forced to open its books over suspicions of money mismanagement.[68] The Agency threatened to cease its funding used to cover operational costs, which would have meant significant cuts in service; however, they took the funding under their strict control to prevent this from happening.[69]

The South Link expansion, which was intended to replace the South Miami-Dade Busway, a bus rapid transit that opened in segments on February 3, 1997 and in April 2005,[70] has plans for a widened right of way, elevated crossings at major intersections, as well as the possibility of building one additional Metrorail station at SW 104 Street to alleviate traffic and parking in Dadeland.[16] Since 2009, the Metropolitan Planning Organization has proposed that the busway be opened to regular vehicle traffic by adding a SunPass toll system with the profits going towards busway improvements.[71]

Passenger ridership[edit]

Metrorail cars in their old livery
Passengers at Government Center
With the growth of Miami, Miami-Dade Transit ridership has increased to an all-time high.
Year Annual passengers
(with Metromover)[72]
Average weekday passengers
(with Metromover)
1995 18,614,000 63,100
1996 18,092,400 60,100
1997 18,098,900 60,800
1998 17,363,800 58,140
1999 17,839,100 60,654
2000 18,280,100 61,639
2001 18,629,800 63,514
2002 19,103,800 63,508
2003 21,297,400 76,769
2004 24,673,900 83,486
2005 25,538,500 88,173
2006 25,777,600 85,400
2007 26,510,800 87,767
2008 27,799,600 90,392
2009 25,778,200 85,875
2010 25,559,400 87,075
2011 27,515,100 92,334
2012 28,498,500 104,000
2013 30,531,100* 105,500*

* Record highs

Passenger ridership records[edit]

Date Passengers Remarks
20 May 1984 150,000 Inaugural day[73]
24 June 2013 117,000 Miami Heat parade[74]
1 January 1991 101,000 New Year's Day

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ridership Technical Report". Miami-Dade County. March 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  2. ^ http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Documents/2013-q4-ridership-APTA.pdf
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  4. ^ a b "AirportLink". Miami-Dade County. 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  5. ^ "Zero Void ® Monostrand System Stabilizes Modern Transportation Hub at Miami Airport". DYWIDAG-Systems International. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  6. ^ "History 1970s". Miami-Dade County. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
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  10. ^ a b Holle, Gena. "Two of a Kind: Miami's Metrorail & Metromover". Community Transportation Association. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  11. ^ Gale, Kevin (24 August 2011). "Tri Rail privatization studied as way to add FEC commuter service". South Florida Business Journal. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
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  16. ^ a b c d e "Taken For A Ride". The Miami Herald. June 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
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  20. ^ Bradberry, Angela (February 19, 1996). "Metrorail Plan Would Link Broward, Dade". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  21. ^ a b c "Reagan Off Target On Metrorail". Sun Sentinel. March 6, 1985. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
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  23. ^ Frame, Clifford (March 16, 1998). "Bullet Train Lessons In Past Rail Projects". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  24. ^ Weaver, Jay; Schuster, Karla (July 17, 1999). "Penny-tax Ruling May Cost Billions". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
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  30. ^ "Metrorail AirportLink". MICdot.com. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
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  36. ^ a b Brannigan, Martha; Chardy, Alfonso (November 29, 2011). "Feds: Miami-Dade broke rules in choosing new Metrorail trains". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  37. ^ Scott M. Kozel (October 13, 2002). "Baltimore Metro Subway". Roads to the Future. Retrieved June 28, 2002. 
  38. ^ "Community Image Advisory Board". Miami-Dade County. March 26, 2008. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  39. ^ http://exmiami.org/threads/miami-metrorail-new-vehicle-replacement.260/
  40. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (October 15, 2012). "Contract for new Metrorail cars moves forward". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  41. ^ Mazzei, Patricia; Rabin, Charles (November 8, 2012). "Miami-Dade commissioners approve new Metrorail cars". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  42. ^ "System Projects". Miami Dade County. July 19, 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-06. 
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  51. ^ "Metrorail Parking". Miami-Dade County. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  52. ^ "Miami-Dade Transit unveils EASY Card and Google Transit Trip Planner". Miami-Dade County. July 14, 2008. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  53. ^ "Easy Does It!". Miami-Dade County. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  54. ^ "What is the Easy Card?". Miami-Dade County. January 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  55. ^ "EASY Card". Miami-Dade County. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  56. ^ "I Team: Dade’s Easy Card Becomes Easy Fraud". WFOR-TV. September 14, 2010. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  57. ^ "Miami-Dade Metro Transit Commuters To Get Free Wi-Fi". WFOR-TV. February 23, 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  58. ^ "Hours of Operation". Miami-Dade County. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  59. ^ Bryant, Chuck (December 4, 2008). "The Asphalt Metro-Path That Runs Under The Metrorail". Run the Planet. Retrieved 2012-01-11. 
  60. ^ "M-Path Extension Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail". Florida Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  61. ^ "South Dade Trail". TrailLink.com. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  62. ^ Garcia, Tony (January 4, 2012). "Cyclists to celebrate closing M-Path’s Dadeland Gap". Transit Miami. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  63. ^ "Metrorail M-Path Master Plan". Miami-Dade County MPO. July 2007. Retrieved 2012-05-08. 
  64. ^ "Route 500 Midnight Owl". Miami-Dade County. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  65. ^ "Route 500 Midnight Owl (printable map)". Miami-Dade County. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
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  67. ^ Martha Brannigan and Alfonso Chardy (July 7, 2011). "Miami-Dade to weigh $100M loan for ailing Transit Agency". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2012-01-16. [dead link]
  68. ^ Martha Brannigan, Alfonso Chardy and Matthew Haggman (May 10, 2011). "Miami-Dade transit agency eyes service cuts as feds hold back money". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2012-01-16. [dead link]
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  71. ^ http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Pages/RidershipArchives.aspx
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  73. ^ "History 1990s". Miami-Dade County. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Miami Metrorail at Wikimedia Commons