Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez has concluded his nationwide search for a venerable replacement for Roosevelt Bradley by selecting none other than interim director Harpal Kapoor. Harpal Kapoor, who first began working for MDT in 1985, was appointed by Bradly in 2006 as the deputy director of operations.

Although I wished that Alvarez had tapped an outside source to lead the agency, I sincerely hope that Kapoor can begin steer (pun intended) the agency in the right direction. MDT is in dire need of some proper guidance to end the squandering of PTP money which has occurred for the past five years. I have composed a short list of issues we would like to see MDT take up over the next few beginning months of Kapoor’s Tenure (not including the obvious expansion of transit options):
  • Expansion and Improvement of TOD- Transit Oriented Development is critical in such an auto-centric city such as Miami. By placing a greater developmental emphasis on our existing transit line and actively expanding the amenities within easy walking distance of existing stations, our area transit will become more accessible to a greater portion of our population. It is imperative that MDT works together with surrounding developments to ensure safe, easy pedestrian access as well as higher density multi-use projects.
  • System wide Farecards- MDT has to modernize our transit system- Quick. Token machines are outdated and the cash system is primitive. Users must be able to quickly and easily purchase flexible farecards at convenient locations using credit cards. Farecards should be integrated with the surrounding tri-county area transit systems and should facilitate the use of transit for locals, not just visitors.
  • GPS Integration- MDT is currently working to install a system along metrorail which would provide users with upcoming train statuses and times. We need to move this technology along to every station platform, major bus transfer station, and most heavily used bus stops. Nearly every London Municipal stand alerts passengers of the wait time for the next bus, why can’t we? Plus, the new system would allow users to track transit using mobile or hand held devices.
  • Car/Bicycle Sharing Program- This should certainly be higher on the list. We can’t expect citizens to fully abandon car use, that’s unreasonable and absurd. Therefore a reliable and reasonable car sharing program such as Flexcar should be sought to partner with MDT to provide service to the greater Miami area. Flexcar could park cars at every Metrorail station or major transfer facility providing more flexibility for Miami residents. The car program would allow residents who can solely rely on public transit for daily needs to do so, but will provide them with flexibility of regular car use (without the burden of ownership, of course.) A bike rental/sharing program could similarly be instituted along every station, allowing resident and tourist rental of bicycles from electronic stands. The idea here being that MDT needs to expand from a system of buses and trains, it should encompass all forms of local transit. Bike rental facilities could one day be found along the river walk, Museum Park, or Midtown, giving residents greater choices of mobility…
  • Better Transit Facilities/Amenities- Take a ride along the NYC, Boston, or any other major cities subway system and each station will feature a newsstand, coffee shop, or lunch stand. MDT’s stations are barren and hostile by comparison. NYC is currently working on a citywide plan to update and standardize all newsstands and public toilets. MDT needs to work to bring such amenities to our local users. Some cities even feature buses and trains which display news, weather, and transit updates to users on televisions…
Kapoor has suddenly adopted the enormous responsibility of managing the 14th largest transit system in the country. We hope that the enthusiasm and energy he has displayed thus far to Burgess continues and continues to propel our blighted transit agency in new directions. Transit Miami looks forward to working with Mr. Kapoor to provide him with an outside point of view and to continue to spread the voice of transit in Miami-Dade County…

6 Responses to Kapoor in Charge

  1. kingofrance says:

    amen, brother

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  2. Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal says:

    Thanks KOF, I was getting the impression everyone had disappeared already for the holiday…

       0 likes

  3. Anonymous says:

    Government Center already does have a test system when tells when the next south and northbound trains will arrive, but they do need to speed up this process and install those signs in all stations already. Also the ability to access that info from a handheld is a VERY good idea. Heck even just web page access, since most mobile phones can access the internet.

    As much as I would love to see a company like Flexcar in Miami, (I already use the metrorail for work anyway and it would probably lower my overall life expenses of owning a car), this will probably never happen with the rate of accidents and uninsured drivers in this town. Until the police seriously start cracking down on people who can’t even pass a driving test in their own country get licensed and properly insured here, this will probably be the only major metropolitan area that will never get a service like this. There’s a reason Miami has some of the highest rates of auto insurance in the country.

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  4. VXO says:

    Gaaaaaaaaaah, Transit Television Network!

    That system is worthless, and in fact, obnoxious, to the commuter.

    TTN’s system is not updated in realtime. It updates only when the bus passes a wireless access point, or perhaps another bus. When the bus is nearby, you can see a peer to peer wireless LAN beaconing as “route**”, where the last two letters are the city name abbreviated. Orlando’s are routeOR. Yes, you can see if your bus is approaching with NetStumbler.

    Transit Television Network’s displays do show a small bar on the side, showing the current progress along the route, with dots for major locations. They will, however, very frequently be showing TV commercials, which also hijack the bus’s audio announcement system. The bottom pane of the display is also always scrolling text ads that look like my smegging inbox…

    TTN is a PLAGUE that must be stopped from spreading to any more transit systems.

    As an example of how wonderful their commercials are… that “Car Accident Pain Information Hotline” ad runs on TTN. That’s right, you’re going down the road, and suddenly canned sounds of car accidents blast from the speakers…

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  5. Verticus S. Erectus says:

    These are all really great ideas, but who did these enlightened souls have to bribe in Kapoor? You know nothing gets done here unless money changes hands.

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  6. Richard Layman says:

    DC is a major city but subway stations don’t have the amenities you talk about. It’s because of population density and other issues. I don’t know the Miami transit system, but you need ridership to make things like newsstands work. Newsstands in DC on “major” streets like PA Ave. NW have failed because those locations didn’t have substantive pedestrian traffic.

    If the Miami numbers here are accurate, http://www.apta.com/research/stats/ridership/riderep/documents/06q4hr.pdf, don’t count on station-based amenities anytime soon, unless you pay the tenants… how can they make money with so few riders?

       0 likes

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