A few days after we published Leah Westonâ€™s letter lambasting the Miami Trolley service for poor service and planning, the City of Miami responded with their side of the story. See below for the response.
Dear Ms. Weston,
Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your experience with the Miami Trolley. As a new service, the office of transportation is continually working to make the Miami Trolley a more convenient transportation alternative in the City. Please be assured that we are taking your comments into consideration and are working to resolve the problem. In the meantime, we would like to address your concerns with a brief response to your e-mail. Please read below.
1. The Trolley is completely unreliable.
The City of Miami is aware of the issue of inconsistent headways and is working on possible solutions. Traffic congestion, lane closures, and the opening of the Brickell Avenue Bridge impede vehicular traffic thus creating challenges to maintain consistent and reliable headways.
To rectify the issue, the City is working closely with Limousines of South Florida (LSF), the company contracted by the City to operate the trolleys, to resolve this problem. Drivers are required to maintain regular radio contact with the dispatcher to ensure proper spacing. When the trolleys begin to bunch, the drivers of the trailing vehicle are asked to wait at the next stop to establish proper spacing. This is a temporary solution as we hope to resolve the problem by introducing technology into the program as many other transit agencies do. For further information, please refer to the answer to question # 2.
2. Why is there no way to track the trolleyâ€¦?
The City is working to establish GPS-based monitoring of the trolleys in the coming months. This technology will accomplish a number of things: First, City and LSF staff will track trolleys remotely, facilitating the identification and correction of vehicle bunching. Second, the GPS tracking will allow riders to access the trolley website to determine the Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) at their stop.
3. Whoever designed the stops at Brickell Station lacks complete common sense.
The northbound and southbound trolleys overlap at the Brickell Metrorail station but have two separate stops. The ideal situation would be to have both stopping at the same location. The northbound has to stop closer to SW 10th Street to be able to make the turn under the Metrorail. Due to bus bay capacity issues, the City decided to move the southbound stop further south next to the Metromover station. At times, both routes arrive at the same time. We acknowledge that sometimes the southbound trolley stops at the northbound to drop off passengers. This should not happen as it creates confusion to the passengers waiting for their trolley. We will continue to remind the drivers that southbound vehicles must stop ONLY at the southbound location.
In addition, we are working closely with LSF to make use of the LED marquee signs in the front of each vehicle to have them clearly identified as northbound or southbound.
4. Finally, about a month ago, I dropped my work ID on a trolley.
When you contacted the City of Miami, we forwarded your query to LSF. Unfortunately, an LSF employee had destroyed your ID. This was a simple case of human error. We understand that LSF contacted you, and apologized. We also would like to apologize for the inconvenience this incident has caused you.
We appreciate your comments and please do not hesitate on contacting us with comments or concerns.
Carlos Cruz-Casas, P.E.|Assistant Transportation Coordinator
City of Miami - Office of the City Manager/Transportation
During the Congress for the New Urbanismâ€™s annual conference, CNU 20: The New World, held last week in West Palm Beach, I had the opportunity to interview author James Howard Kunstler. Kunstler is the author of The Long Emergency, The Geography of Nowhere, the World Made by Hand novels and is a leading critic and social commentator on the American landscape of suburban sprawl.
Over lunch in downtown West Palmâ€™s new urbanism-inspired development, CityPlace, I pried Jim about bus travel in Florida, nostalgia for transit, the state of our current rail system, his own oil paintings (featured in the slideshow) and more.
Special thanks to Duncan Crary for allowing me to use his audio equipment for the interview. Crary hosts a weekly podcast with Jim called the Kunstlercast, posted each Thursday at Kunstlercast.com.
LISTEN TO THE LATEST TALKING HEADWAYS PODCAST
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