Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Miami Dade County Transit route adjustments

I wrote an article for the local website TransitMiami, but I'm reposting it her
This link below is the document[s] I read to prepare this article.

http://www.miamidade.gov/govaction/legistarfiles/Matters/Y2009/092748.pdf

On or some time after December 13, 2009 Miami Dade Transit will be adjusting 36 routes, and adding two new ones.

These changes are what MDT calls SERI, Service Efficiency and Restructuring Initiative. The idea, as laid out in a Nov. 3 memorandum to the County Commission, is to: reduce cost, duplication, and underutilized service.

On paper the recommendations sound interesting. The memorandum (and other documents included) estimates 17,500 additional daily bus-to-bus transfers. To reduce the fiscal burden this would put upon the ridership, MDT will eliminate any cost associated with transfers within 3 hours of the initial leg of a trip.

While there is much more of interest in these changes (and promises made as part of these changes, such as “an aggressive SERI implementation plan” which includes but is not limited to the outrageous first bullet: disseminating information through marketing campaign, do they know Dec 13th is a month away? Quite aggressiveindeed !) I would like to focus on how the services changes will affect riders, specifically the Collins Ave/Miami Beach transit corridor, which has at least five rout adjustments.

Various busses currently enter the Beach and then run either up or down the remainder of its span. The G, H, and J bus will now no longer do this. They will enter Miami Beach, and shortly thereafter reverse back to whence they came. The K bus will be eliminated.
The bus drivers I’ve spoken with so far are a bit nervous about these changes because they put the burden of transferring on ANYONE who enters the Beach on these busses and isn’t going to their respective end-points. However, the S route will still run all the way down the Beach, but more importantly the Beach Max, which stops where the G, H, and J will end, will double its frequency!
This is precisely the sort of compensating service necessary to ensure that the aforementioned route changes don’t impose a large burden on riders. It isn’t a perfect compromise, as the Beach Max will still have limited stops on the Beach, but those riding there for work will most likely be well served by these changes.

I invite others to look at the proposed changes and share with us ways they see things falling out. I hope MDT takes advantage of the constant data-set the new Easy card system provides to often reassess their decisions and strive to offer better service in a very poorly served county.

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