Months after Florida fully reopened, many riders are wondering when they will get their pre-pandemic service back.
Author: Kevin Amézaga
Published On: Friday, July 30, 2021 | 09:00 AM
In March of 2020, the world changed. COVID impacted the lives of billions, and our three million Miami-Dade residents felt its effects as well. For transit riders however, the effect was felt much stronger.
That march, Miami-Dade Transit saw its worst cuts in its history. Service was cut back, capacities were reduced, and many were left stranded all while trying to keep the County's lights on as essential workers braving the pandemic to provide our community with the services we need. While many aspects of normal life have returned—fares are back, most workers are back in the office, and capacity restrictions were lifted—but for many transit riders, they're left asking one thing: "Where's my bus?"
Florida Fully Reopens, Transit Not So Much
Florida fully reopened months ago now with the Governor rescinding all local COVID orders and lifting all restrictions due to the pandemic. While masks are still required on all public-facing transportation (planes, trains, transit), largely we are living in a post-COVID transportation world. Automobile traffic is back in most of the County. Restaurants and retail are open to full capacity and posting record sales, especially with Miami's tourism boom. However, for most of these workers, transit remains elusive—especially after dark.
Most Miami commuters hold one truth to be self evident: traffic is back. Automobiles are back to congesting Miami-Dade roads causing hours of delay on the commutes of hundreds of thousands of Miamians every day. Despite the back-to-the-office policies of most employers, Miami hasn't reinstituted key routes that get people out of their cars and also allow transit-dependent Miamians to see their city, even after the workday.
Demand Without Supply
The County's highest-ridership routes: the 120 and S (119) still remain suspended after midnight. In fact, it's difficult to find any public transportation that runs after midnight. For many service workers whose shifts end well into the twilight hours, public transportation is no longer an option. For these people, their options are to drive or use the county's GONIGHTLY program which subsidizes rides on participating rideshare apps. While this program was a good way to bridge the gap during COVID, the County is largely wasting valuable transit funds to subsidize rideshare costs while the price of rideshare has spiked significantly due to demand and labor shortages, and other transit routes still don't even run.
Many peak-hour express routes that mainly serve commuters also remain suspended. Popular routes in Southwest Miami-Dade like the 204 and 288 are still suspended regardless of the peak demand on our roads that has for months begun to choke those communities again. These routes previously served thousands of riders a day and now put those riders back in their cars—adding to congestion.
Transit Cuts, Despite Adequate Funding & Demand
Miami-Dade's budget has stabilized, but our transit service is nowhere near pre-pandemic service for most Miami-Dade residents. For many commuters who chose to use transit before, their service is still cut.
So where's your bus? I'm not sure MDT has an answer for you.