Letter to the editor: the MDC transportation barrier

Of the nearly 2.8 million residents of Miami-Dade County, there are over 300,000 daily users of Miami Dade Public Transportation (MDT). The MDT website boasts features like “the Metrobus fleet that runs approximately 28.9 million miles through most areas of Miami-Dade County; the electrically-powered, elevated, 25-mile rapid transit Metrorail system; the 4.4-mile elevated Metromover; and the paratransit service (Special Transportation Service) that meets the needs of the disabled.”

However, frequent riders of public transportation in Miami can attest that the current system is lacking. The most pressing issues with MDT is the lack of reach it has. The Metrorail only goes as far south as the Dadeland area, as north as 79th street in Hialeah, and as west as Doral. If you live in Pinecrest or farther south, there’s the busway, meant to replace the incomplete Metrorail system. Otherwise, the rest of Miami is left to rely on an inconsistent bus system. In Miami, if you do not have a driver’s license or do not own a car, you are essentially cut off from the rest of city when you are outside of MDT’s small reach. Arguably Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing options exist, but their exorbitant fees put an economic burden on civilians.

Without access to transportation, many people in Miami are cut off from the opportunities the city has to offer. As a previous resident of Homestead, getting to MAST every morning required sometimes waking up at 4:45 am to get on a school bus to be taken to the Dadeland North Metrorail station. In addition to educational barriers, those without reliable transportation also face fewer job opportunities and are bereft of the cultural enrichment that Miami has to offer. What also should be considered is that there is a significant environmental impact of diesel from the buses and cars that people drive instead of using public transportation. Without an efficient public transportation system in effect, Miami-Dade County is hurting its residents on all levels.