2012 was a good year for transit in Miami. Metrorail and Metromover broke records, recording their highest annual passenger counts ever. The Orange Line was opened. Metrorail service frequency was doubled at the system’s busiest stations and overall growth was seen in all modes of transit in the city.
Highlights of 2012:
- Orange Line is inaugurated, doubling service frequency in the system’s busiest stations
- Miami Airport Metrorail station inaugurated in July, bringing Metro service to the airport for the first time
- New signs and maps are installed throughout Metrorail stations. This is the first time signage is updated since the system’s inauguration in 1984.
- Metrorail records its highest passenger ridership counts ever in November 2012: 71,800 passengers.
- Metromover records its highest passenger ridership counts ever in March 2012: 32,400 passengers.
- All transit modes saw ridership growth over 2011.
- Brownsville Transit Village, a 500 unit residential project, opened next to Brownsville Station
- Metromover stations were retrofitted with new escalators, ceilings, and entryways.
- Construction begins on the NW 7th Avenue Transit Village in Liberty City.
Comparing 2011 figures with 2012, we see growth in all modes.
- Metrobus grew 1.7% from 245,358 average daily passengers in 2011 to 249,650 in 2012.
- Metromover grew 0.6% from 29,775 average daily passengers in 2011 to 29,942 in 2012.
- Metrorail grew 4.8% from 62,559 average daily passengers in 2011 to 65,542 in 2012.
- Tri-Rail grew 3.15% over 2011 with 13,400 average daily passengers in 2012.
Some problems still exist. Miami-Dade Transit still has yet to look realistically towards the future. MDT has no plans for any Metrorail or Metromover extensions. Without any real goals for real transit extensions, Miami’s transit woes will only get worse. MDT needs to look at expanding Metrorail, even if it is in the form of light rail.
After having been cut in January 2011, Tri-Rail service to Miami Airport is still discontinued, forcing passengers the inconvenience of multiple transfers via Hialeah Market Station. Although this should be rectified by the end of 2013 when the Miami Central Station opens, it is a huge inconvenience, adding more time to an already long commute. Speaking of Tri-Rail, when are we going to get service on the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC)? All Aboard Florida, the intercity passenger rail system planned to connect Orlando to Miami, plans to use this same FEC line. Now is the time for Tri-Rail to jump on board and start commuter rail service straight to Downtown Miami. We can’t miss this great opportunity, now that all eyes are on the FEC.
Overall, 2012 was a great year for Miami transit. With the economy improving and jobs returning to our main job center, Downtown/Brickell, ridership has grown on all modes. This should continue in 2013 as the Orange Line continues to make commuting on Metrorail easier and faster, making it a more viable option. Although Metromover had modest growth, its growth has been constant, which is a sign of the fast growing residential population in Downtown. With the opening of the Central Station at the end of this year, Tri-Rail will also see ridership spike.