Not all Miami Metrorail stations are created equal. Some are busy whilst others are always empty. Government Center may be crowded during rush hour, whereas other stations, such as Vizcaya, are virtually always empty.
Which stations really are the busiest and how has the Metrorail system evolved in the past five years? The city’s inner city neighborhoods have experienced much touted construction and population growth in the past few years. I was curious to see how this growth had affected the way people travel on the Metro.
For avid Metro riders, it is common knowledge that the stations south of Civic Center are much busier than the stations to the north. Population density, jobs, nearby attractions and urban planning all factor into why some stations are busier than others. Stations north of Civic Center are mostly in low density residential neighborhoods or dead industrial zones. Stations south of Civic Center are within major employment centers, shopping areas and/or dense residential neighborhoods.
Using ridership data from 2007 and 2012 we can calculate the average number of daily weekday passengers for each station in the Metro system. This allows us to compare how the Metro system has changed in the past five years and which stations have seen the highest growth in passengers since 2007.
Busiest Metro stations in 2012:
- Government Center – 11,139 daily passengers
- Dadeland South – 6,979
- Dadeland North – 6,377
- Civic Center – 5,956
- Brickell – 4,402
Busiest Metro stations in 2007:
- Government Center – 9,978 daily passengers
- Dadeland South – 6,185
- Dadeland North – 6,150
- Civic Center – 5,880
- South Miami – 3,607
The system’s busiest stations did not change much. The stations’ rankings makes sense as each is either within a major employment center (Government Center, Brickell and Civic Center) or a park-and-ride station (Dadeland stations) for said employment centers. Located in the heart of Downtown Miami, Government Center is the busiest in the system by far and will continue to be jam packed during rush hour. The only change here was Brickell Station, which rose to 5th place from 7th place in 2007. This can be attributed to Brickell’s massive population growth since the mid-2000s.
Emptiest Metro stations in 2012:
- Santa Clara – 768 daily passengers
- Brownsville – 959
- Palmetto – 1,279
- Culmer – 1,332
- Vizcaya – 1,338
Emptiest Metro stations in 2007:
- Santa Clara – 789 daily passengers
- Overtown – 984
- Brownsville – 1,025
- Okeechobee – 1,086
- Culmer – 1,182
Unfortunately, the Metro continues to experience a plethora of low rider stations. Although there were slightly more riders in 2012 in the system’s emptiest stations, these numbers are still extremely low. I mean, can you imagine just 768 passengers in a whole day at Santa Clara Station? There’s more students in a freshmen Introductory Biology course at FIU!
Fastest growing stations since 2007:
Overtown and Brickell stations experienced the fastest growth in the past five years. Both stations are within the “greater Downtown area.” Both are also the next station on the Green and Orange lines in either direction from the system’s busiest station- Government Center. Numerous apartment towers have been built in Brickell since 2007, and many more are still under construction.
Although Downtown has experienced population growth, the area around the Overtown station hasn’t, which makes its 84% growth quite remarkable. The opening of the Miami-Dade Transit headquarters next to the Overtown station may be attributed to this growth.
Douglas Road and Coconut Grove have always been popular stations and continued to see growth. Okeechobee came in third place. Okeechobee Station serves entirely as a park-and-ride station, identical to the extremely popular Dadeland North/South stations. Okeechobee’s growth may be attributed to a growing number of Downtown workers from Northwest Miami-Dade commuting via Metrorail.