Volume 4, Number 4 - October 29, 2013

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Halina Rachelson

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Transit Fare Increase Could Be For The Better

By Halina Rachelson

As of the Oct. 1, Miami-Dade Transit has raised its price from $2.00 to $2.25, which is not a drastic increase if you only take the train occasionally, as most Miamiams do. Then again, considering how inefficiently Miami Dade Transit (MDT) operates compared to other transit systems available in the world, people should be curious as to why the fare is going up. 

Shortly before writing this, I rode the Chicago Transit Authority train, which charges a dollar more than Miami does. The price is understandable, though, because Chicago’s train and bus service is much more useful, efficient, and worthwhile.

Miami Dade Transit has made notable changes in its service in the last year, with the introduction of revamped hybrid buses and a new Orange line metrorail to the airport. Nevertheless, with higher prices, we should expect better service. An automated intercom person, for example, should be integrated so that riders will clearly hear the stops or transfer information. 

Higher prices might be the only way to help MDT service a metropolis as expansive as ours. According to Miami-Dade Transit, this is their first price increase in five years and serves to “defray operational costs.” Frequent transit users should expect physical improvements and even those who use their cars must see the benefits in increased funding for an extensive transit system. 

MDT should make more visible improvements by, among other things, fighting against a lucrative scheme that could turn the US 1 bus lane into a Miami-Dade Expressway Authority toll road or by adding a light rail on the MacArthur Causeway to make commutes between Miami Beach and Downtown more convenient.

The fare increase will pose an inconvenience for regular riders with low incomes. This includes people who are not eligible to hold Golden or Patriot Passports as well as students carrying Easy Cards. Golden Passports are only offered to the elderly while Patriot Passports are limited to veterans earning under $22,000 annually.

Despite the price increase, taking the Metrobus and Metrorail is still much more affordable than owning a car, for which one must pay the costs of insurance, repairs, and gasoline.

Using transit is also safer than driving and its external costs on the environment and one’s personal health are less severe. Nevertheless, the price increase will definitely affect students, especially those without a car who travel to and from Wolfson Campus or to and from Jackson Memorial Hospital, for example. 

Regular riders will notice that the one-month pass is no longer $100 but $112.50. 

While some frequent riders might “grind their teeth” in frustration, as one student who uses the metro to commute to and from Wolfson Campus daily described to me, if it helps save time and will make transit operations more efficient, than the price increase will be well worth it. Time is money, after all.

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