letter to the editor

Dear Editor:

Years ago a (non-profit) group, FCRP, to which I belong advertised in your paper in order to broadcast the option of utilizing existing rail tracks, now dis-used, for a commuter rail service to include stops in Florida City, Homestead, near Miami Zoo with a branch line out to west Kendall and to the transit hub at MIA – Miami International Airport.

What transportation improvements have been made in south M-D? Officials

approved the addition of “premium lanes” for the Turnpike in south Miami-Dade that would charge an extra fee for use of those lanes in addition to the standard turnpike toll. Only revised legislation rescinded the premium amount.

More recently, Dade County Commissioners approved a “BRT” – bus rapid transit busway plan to modify the existing busway along U. S. Route One at an

estimated cost of $100 million plus to “improve” bus service, less than that to build tracks for Metro-Rail electric trains.

The above ignores a third option: commuter trains for south and southwest Miami-Dade County that would make M-D County part of a truly regional

passenger train service.

Noteworthy is the latest rendering displayed of a M-D BRT stop. It shows buses loading from an “island” platform which requires a special bus design: left-hand doors. That is, the ordinary M-D Transit bus cannot use the newly designed (remodeled) BRT bus stop.

Why is this important?

(1) Ordinary buses cannot utilize BRT lane stops to transfer passengers, especially the elderly.

(2) A special BRT bus fleet may wear out sooner than later.

(3) A special BRT bus in repair may only be replaced by another BRT bus, not from the regular bus fleet.

(4) While initial BRT costs are lower than rail-based transit, a BRT bus's "life" is less than half of a train coach.. Tri-Rail passenger train coaches have operated since 1989. How many thirty-two (32) year old buses operate in the Miami-Dade Transit fleet?

While there is hope for use of existing tracks for commuter trains to west

Kendall it may be short lived. Proposals for the SR 836 tollway extension to south Miami-Dade would pave over portions of the rail right-of-way.

Thank you for your kind attention; comments from transit users in your area are welcomed.

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