Has the Orange Line improved Metro service?

new miami metrorail map

The new Metro system with the inauguration of the Orange Line.

old miami metrorail map

The old Miami Metrorail system that operated until July 28, 2012.

There’s no doubting the immense benefit Metrorail service to Miami International Airport provides to Miamians and visitors to the city. The Orange Line that inaugurated with the opening of the Miami Airport/Central Station was tooted as the line that would double service frequencies to all stations south of Brownsville Station, doubling service from what was previously serviced by only the Green Line. But what exactly changed with the opening of the Orange Line and has it really improved service for all Metro passengers?

Let’s compare the system’s busiest station- Government Center, that is now served by both lines, with one of the system’s least used, Hialeah Station, which is still served by just the Green Line.

Government Center Station:

Old service, before the Orange Line:

  • 1 line of service: Green Line
  • 90 daily weekday southbound trains
  • 92 daily weekday northbound trains
  • Weekday service from 5:19 to 00:21
  • Trains ran with 4-6 cars off-peak: 664-996 passenger capacity per train. 6 cars during rush hour: 996 passengers capacity. (Each car holds up to 166 passengers).
  • Peak frequency (6-9:00, 15:30-18:00): A train every 7.5 minutes in 2010, changed to every 10 minutes in 2011.
  • Off-peak day frequency (9-15:30): Every 15 minutes
  • Evening frequency (19:30-00:30): Every 30 minutes
  • Weekend frequency: Every 30 minutes

New service, after the Orange Line:

  • 2 lines of service: Green and Orange lines
  • 161 daily weekday southbound trains
  • 165 daily weekday northbound trains
  • Weekday service from 5:19 to 00:23
  • Trains run with 4 cars: 664 passenger capacity per train. (Each car holds up to 166 passengers).
  • Peak frequency (6-9:00, 15:30-18:00): A train every 5 minutes
  • Off-peak day frequency (9-15:30): Every 7.5 minutes
  • Evening frequency (19:30-00:30): Every 15 minutes
  • Weekend frequency: Every 15 minutes

Overall: Service at Government Center, and all stations from Earlington Heights to Dadeland South have improved service with the new Orange Line. These are also the stations with the highest ridership in the system. Win, win.

Hialeah Station:

Before the Orange Line:

  • 1 line of service: Green Line
  • 90 daily weekday southbound trains
  • 92 daily weekday northbound trains
  • Weekday service from 5:10 to 00:40
  • Trains ran with 4-6 cars off-peak: 664-996 passenger capacity per train. 6 cars during rush hour: 996 passengers capacity. (Each car holds up to 166 passengers).
  • Peak frequency (6-9:00, 15:30-18:00): A train every 7.5 minutes in 2010, changed to every 10 minutes in 2011.
  • Off-peak day frequency (9-15:30): Every 15 minutes
  • Evening frequency (19:30-00:30): Every 30 minutes
  • Weekend frequency: Every 30 minutes

After the Orange Line:

  • 1 line of service: Green Line
  • 81 daily weekday southbound trains
  • 89 daily weekday northbound trains
  • Weekday service from 5:08 to 00:40
  • Trains run with 4 cars: 664 passenger capacity per train. (Each car holds up to 166 passengers).
  • Peak frequency (6-9:00, 15:30-18:00): Every 10 minutes
  • Off-peak day frequency (9-15:30): Every 15 minutes
  • Evening frequency (19:30-00:30): Every 30 minutes
  • Weekend frequency: Every 30 minutes

Overall: Service at Hialeah Station, and all stations north of Earlington Heights have the same frequencies as before, however, with slightly less daily trains. The Orange Line hasn’t improved the daily commutes of these riders. Although service frequencies of 30 minutes is too high for a heavy rail system like Metrorail, the low ridership in these stations doesn’t warrant more service.

In conclusion, the Orange Line has improved service for the majority of Metro riders. The vast majority of Metro riders board and disembark at stations from Earlington Heights to Dadeland South, so new service levels brought about from the Orange Line are in line to help those that use it the most. Greater frequencies provides better reliability and better service. This in turn will increase ridership by encouraging others to ride Metrorail. Good job, Miami-Dade Transit!

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