Imagine the kind of reaction we’d see if I-95 and Florida’s Turnpike were to be closed in the Tri-County area on weekends, holidays, late nights, and you could only drive on them a handful of times during weekdays. Sound crazy? This is what Tri-Rail is facing.

While we all stand to lose tremendously from the proposed Tri-Rail service cuts, it may not be entirely clear who stands to lose the most. I’ve outlined below the stakeholders who should be fighting tooth and nail to save Tri-Rail:

-> Commuters traveling north-south in all three counties: Of course this is a no-brainer, but it has to be mentioned. Tri-Rail is currently averaging 14,000-15,000 weekday boardings, which translates to maybe 6,500 round-trips and roughly 1,500 one-way trips. Cuts in service would alienate these thousands of commuters, not to mention stifle anticipated future growth. As gas prices continue to rise (forever), more and more people would switch to commuter rail at current service levels. The service cuts could compromise this, forcing commuters to suffer in traffic congestion and definitely in the wallet.

-> Airport users of FLL: This is probably the second most popular use of Tri-Rail other than commuting to work. Tri-Rail provides great service to FLL. I use it almost every time I fly (what can I say, FLL has great deals to NYC and Philly) and I save a ton of money on airport parking and don’t have to worry about paying off friends to drive 40 miles round trip…twice. Also, let’s not forget about the thousands of employees at FLL (and MIA for that matter), that could use Tri-Rail to get to work. Airports are major employment centers — they should be served by reliable transit.

-> The City of Miami Beach and its’ residents: As it currently stands, tourists flying into oft-cheaper FLL en route to Miami Beach can use Tri-Rail instead of renting a car. This saves tourists money, which will be spent on the Beach. More importantly, it means less traffic congestion on South Beach. Given the current levels of congestion there and forecasts for increases in the future, Beach residents and officials should be doing whatever they can to keep cars out, which means supporting Tri-Rail.

-> Anyone who commutes on I-95 or Florida’s Turnpike: That’s right — if you drive north-south on I-95 or Florida’s Turnpike to and from work each weekday, you definitely stand to lose big with Tri-Rail service cuts. The Tri-County area continues its explosive population growth, which means those traffic jams you face everyday are only going to get worse. Tri-Rail is currently averaging between 14,000-15,000 weekday boardings, and ridership continues to grow. This offsets the effect of population growth on north-south highway congestion. If a significant number of these 6,000 people or so decided to abandon poor service on Tri-Rail and get behind the wheel, you’d notice your daily commute sucking even more.

-> Low-income households that rely on Tri-Rail: Believe it or not people with low-incomes have a right to travel between counties in the metro area. It just so happens that it’s likely weekends and holidays that they would be most likely to make this travel, whether it’s to see family, friends, or just for travel. Eliminating this service would frankly be discriminatory.

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7 Responses to Who Stands to Lose the Most from Tri-Rail Service Cuts?

  1. Kidbass says:

    I completely support Tri-Rail, I’ve barely used it but I think all the key points you explained give it away.

  2. Franklin says:

    I support Tri-Rail and have used it a few times. I think we need to be realistic about who it serves.

    It certainly doesn’t benefit anyone on Miami Beach. If a tourist (or resident) flew into FLL, they would have to take a bus to Tri-Rail, Tri-Rail to the Metrorail (or the L-bus, if they are going to mid/north Miami Beach, 1hr; either way, same station, 30 minutes), the Metrorail to Government Center (25 minutes). There, they would have to walk down three escalators, go outside, and wander three blocks south to the bus depot to wait for the S. On a good day, it only takes 30 minutes to get to 5th and Alton. Who is going to do that? Who can even figure out how to do that? Is the $10-$15 you would save from taking a shuttle worth 2+ hours?

  3. Ryan Sharp says:

    Franklin,

    You’ve got a point that using transit to go from FLL to South Beach should be a lot more seamless. However, I used to live on the Beach and flew out of FLL using transit (including Tri-Rail) all the time. It did take a while sometimes, but I saved boatloads of $$ from not paying parking fees. For a tourist, I would think saving $75/day for renting a car you’ll barely use would be worth it. A three day stay will set you back at least $200 dollars, so a $10 round trip on Tri-Rail would save you big.

    The question of whether the average Joe would even know how to get to SoBe via transit is a valid concern.

  4. Steven says:

    The last time I took TriRail, there was a very large group of people who got on the train at the Ft Lauderdale station and transfered to Metrorail to get to their hotel on South Beach. While I agree with you that its not the best way to go, it is definately done by people.

  5. CL Jahn says:

    I’m a frequent TriRail rider, and I see people using the service to get to BOTH airports - FLL and MIA.

    I’ve posted about my savings on my blog, and they are not a trifle.

    And yes, Franklin, I have sat next to tourists on the train reviewing bus schedules to get to the Beach. I see that at least once a week. They are usually shocked by how pathetic public transportation in Miami really is.

  6. fll airport says:

    [...] you could only drive on them a handful of times during weekdays. Sound crazy? This is what Tri-Raihttp://www.transitmiami.com/2008/05/08/who-stands-to-lose-the-most-from-tri-rail-service-cuts/Executive Jet Charters Launches New Website PRWeb via Yahoo! News Executive Jet Charters implements [...]

  7. I’ve used Tri-Rail from Fort Lauderdale Airport, but before the doubletracking was completed.

    Instead of the proposed service cuts, one-stop time-transfer shuttle (bus) service between South Beach, Miami Airport Tri-Rail station and Miami International Airport should be initiated. The time-transfer service should be revolve around departing and arriving trains at Miami Airport Tri-Rail station. Initiating that service, in my opinion, that would greatly fuel ridership on Tri-Rail.

    Please update me on what has occurred with regard to the service cut proposal.

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