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In Miami Transit Debate, BRT Gets The Bum Rap

May 9, 2016 by Sean McCaughan
BRT in Cleveland. Photo via Flickr/Wyliepoon

BRT in Cleveland. Photo via Flickr/Wyliepoon

Trying to unsnarl hellish traffic in South Miami-Dade, as well as the rest of the county, almost nobody wants buses, reports the Miami Herald. Yet, according to its advocates Bus Rapid Transit is a viable and much less expensive alternative if done right. And the South Dade Busway, which is the closest Dade County gets to Bus Rapid Transit, is seriously not done right. The New Tropic has a nice summary of what constitutes good BRT, but think of things like dedicated bus lanes, right of way for buses so they don’t have to stop at traffic lights, raised ‘stations’ for quicker embarking and debarking, prepaid fares, and other ways to make the bus experience more efficient, and well, more ‘rail-like.’

County transit planners are trying to upgrade the South Dade Busway to true BRT, but encountering major opposition from practically everyone down there, a population that feels burned by broken promises for rail. “Unless you’re talking about light rail, don’t bother coming to South Dade talking about bigger buses,” said Kionne McGhee, the state representative who led the charge against the county bus improvements. “There’s not a single pastor, a single mayor, a single city council member who is asking for bus. They’re all asking for rail.” And they don’t want a single thing built for BRT that cannot be reused for light rail in the future.

Have you taken true BRT somewhere? What did you think of it? Would it work for Miami? Leave your replies in the comments below.

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