Saturday, May 23, 2009

What is With Miami's Love Affair with Buses? By Geniusofdespair

Let’s just give up on rail altogether and stop dangling it like a carrot to voters. Face it reader: Everybody else is not going to take the train and leave the road clear for you! In today’s Miami Herald ( Tri-Rail budget would cut daily runs, end service in 2011) they talk about the county reducing its share to tri-rail by about 3 million dollars. This would put us in jeopardy with the feds. Yvette Taylor, of the FTA said if there are Tri-Rail service cuts they may demand a return of $256 million for double tracking. In the same article it says OUR crappy Miami Dade Transit, with Broward, will launch the first full-fledged regional bus service between Miami and Broward. So we are cutting funding to rail and launching a NEW bus program?

We are so sprawled out that we don’t have enough density to get matching funds for rail according to County Manager Burgess. So why don’t we take rail off our plate once and for all? A half ass rail system that doesn’t run regularly and goes nowhere is not going to be used. In New York I take the Long Island Railroad everywhere and the subway. Here, I have been on a bus once when I got stranded and have never taken the train, ever. Buses get caught in traffic, what is the point of taking buses?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mostly all larger cities have mass transit that includes trains. Cars and buses do not efficiently move people in and out of city centers. Miami and South Florida have few or no alternates to cars and buses. With the reduction of TriRail and no expansion of Metrorail, gridlock and parking woes will only increase. The politicians squandered the Miami Dade transit tax and the state legislature seems to be killing any other mass transit possibilities. The quality of life in the South Florida area will degrade and future economic growth will be inhibited. This pattern of politicians not working for the interests of the community is too predictable.

Steve said...

"Mostly all larger cities have mass transit that includes trains"

Guess what? Miami isn't a larger city. It is EXACTLY the 42nd largest city in the country. We think of it as a big city, but it really isn't nearly as large as it plays in people's minds around the world. El Paso is nearly 50% larger and Jacksonville is even larger than that.

Miami is part of the 7th largest metropolitan areas but that metro area spans all the way from Homestead to Pompano and doesn't lend itself to the needed population density to support a commuter rail system.

Finally, within the Miami metro area, there are many centers of commerce or none at all. There is no clear cut commuting pattern the way the a Chicago or New York City has. This again is something that works against the rigid infrastructure of train systems.

WOOF said...

Ft. Lauderdale and Miami airports,two places that a large groups of people work at and many others use.
Poorly served.

sparky said...

The problem isn't the density--the problem is that the places people want to go aren't aligned with rail. It's a bit like the situation on Long Island: the LIRR is the most-used commuter railroad in the US but you can't get anywhere on LI, only in and out of NYC.

Imagine if Tri-Rail ran from Homestead to downtown, for example. I'd certainly use it. As it is, I can't even get to it. Why it wasn't expanded south to at least Dadeland is beyond me.

At some point things will change, because it will be cost-efficient for people to locate near the rails again. Unfortunately by that time we'll have to pay all over again to start it up again. We could be dumber but it's getting tough to see how.

Geniusofdespair said...

Why don't you take the metro rail? And why doesn't the tri rail link up to the metro rail...

Anonymous said...

TriRail does link to MetroRail at the Hialeah Station. There are plenty of people that use both to commute between Palm Beach / Broward and Dade County. The record of unreliability of TriRail has historically hurt ridership, but the folks I know that use it generally love it. When gasoline prices spiked, so did the number of riders on TriRail and I bet there were many converts who stayed with it after prices dropped. For all the knocks against MetroRail, it beats the crap out of driving if you live south and work downtown. And that also goes for the US-1 Busway.

Anonymous said...

What Miami needs is an integrated rail system that allows you to go more than just north and south. It would also help if the rail actually went to places people go frequently--I dunno like the airport...or south beach...or any beach for that matter...but that would require comprehensive planning and raising and spending money pursuant to a (gasp!) budget.