I was just strolling through Miami-Dade Transit’s spiffy new website.  I like the new website design, its easy to navigate and unoffensive, but unfortunately, it can’t tell me anything I want to hear.   It can’t tell me when a bus will arrive at a given location (like a gps bus tracker common in other cities) and it can’t give me good news about transit expansion in Dade county. The site redesign is like many things Miami: all flash, no substance. Repackaging something doesn’t change what it says.

I have to give the site credit: it provides you with a wealth of information/studies/reports. Lots of good plans with budgets that don’t support the planning with funding.

I decided to explore a little, and I came across all sorts of great info. I stumbled on the Citizens Independent Codependent Transportation Trust pages (which still look like the old MDT pages by the way). After a  little more  sleuthing I come up with this gem:

http://www.miamidade.gov/citt/library/review_ptp_surtax_revenue.pdf

Are you kidding me. You spent $1.4 BILLION dollars and all we have to show for system expansion six years later are some buses and 2.5 miles of (half-built but quickly going up) heavy rail??

It is no wonder that the federal government doesn’t want to give us any transit money - we are irresponsible with what we have. Looking through the December 2009 PTP audit also reveals that $200 million of the above amount went to cities (as part of their share) and over $100 million went to Public Works contracts (read: fixing traffic signals and repaving/expanding lanes).

On the plus side we have a central transit hub: the Miami Intermodal Center, or MIC. At least we connected the Metrorail to the airport (that’s what we tell ourselves anyway - to make up for the punishing price tag).

Now we have to connect the people to the Metrorail.

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7 Responses to MDT’s New Website ‘Design': Repackaging Doesn’t Change Message

  1. Miamian says:

    You forgot the swanky “new, futuristic, modern” metromover cars and metrorail cars that look the same. Oh and how about all those bus benches in the middle of sdiewalks everywhere that make walking an adventure sport. Or sidewalks to no where in the name of transit improvements to bus shelters. Those were all funded by PTP. Not to mention the general operating costs including desks, chairs, and office supplies for the new transit village building. GOOD JOB MIAMI-DADE!

    I will give credit for the easy card, new gates at stations, and kiosks to let you know when the next train comes and web info.

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  2. Tony Garcia says:

    Miamian - Good points. I try not to mention the metromover cars ’cause it makes my ulcer act up. As far as I’m concerned, MDT owes the surtax Trust a bunch of money for projects funded by surtax dollars that were spent illegally because they fall outside of the scope of the ballot language approved by voters.

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  3. M says:

    Unfortunately Tony, you are not alone. Discussing Miami-Dade Transit expenditures seem to cause many people’s ulcers to act up. Perhaps that is one of our problems. A realistic discussion of the 1/2 cent sales tax disaster is exactly what this community needs. People already know a ton of money was wasted, but putting actual figures to actual examples should get citizens angry enough to assign blame and hold people responsible. I would also venture to guess that some of that money had to go toward public relations…putting a good spin on the new MetroMover cars and redesigning the website.

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  4. Tony Garcia says:

    I agree.
    lately Commissioners and agency representatives (from MDT to FDOT) are more likely to sugarcoat the current dismal state of affairs, than to acknowledge that nothing has been done yet to stop what was being done incorrectly in the first place. this “ignore a problem and hope hope it gets better” philosophy is silly.
    on more than one occasion during the last “people’s transportation summit” Barbara Jordon was moved to speak against people ‘harping’ on the FAILURE of the ptp, suggesting that the it was time to ‘get over it’. Sorry, but we won’t get over it until something substantive starts to get done to improve access to premium transit. duh

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  5. pod says:

    As an avid transit user since 2002, well, not quite avid sometimes, but I live and work in roughly the same neighborhood, so I ditched my car, and use the bus system pretty much exclusively. A lot was promised in 2002, most of which hasn’t been delivered. We have some newer buses, newer metromover cars, and finally a farecard system.

    There are good things:

    - The EASY card (took long enough, most transit systems have had cards for a decade, minimum)

    - Metromover is free. That’s handy.

    - Some routes like the Airport Flyer are of a certain utility.

    - Finally building more Metrorail lines.

    Bad things:

    - Service cuts. We’re at the same route mileage we were in 2002. Late night buses are almost nonexistent again. You know there’s issues when the few late-night buses are at overflow capacity.

    - The new line to the airport takes the scenic route. To get from the airport to South Beach, for example, you’ll have to take the new line to Earlington Heights, get on the old Metrorail, go south to Government Center, and get on a Metrobus. Faster to take the Airport Flyer or pay $40 for a cab.

    - Buses are rarely on schedule. Early, late, sometimes they don’t even show.

    Instead of a shiny new website, I’d like to see stuff like the bus locator (at least on major routes) or the Nextbus system installed at major stops, for one.

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  6. […] MDT's New Website 'Design': Repackaging Doesn't Change Message … Tags: are-more, commissioners, current, current-dismal, done-incorrectly, fdot, first, […]

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  7. Prem says:

    Since you bring it up Tony,
    Alvarez promised at the Transit Summit that tracking for when buses would arrive at a stop would be implemented in Miami Dade County. So far I haven’t heard anything of the sort, which makes me think he was lying.
    Even my source inside MDT hasn’t heard a peep about such a thing, but I remember him having said it because I clapped and cheered when he mentioned it.

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