A Metrorail train at Government Center
Dadeland South (south)
|Daily ridership||67,000 |
|Opened||May 20, 1984|
|Character||Elevated and at-grade|
|Rolling stock||136 Budd cars|
|Line length||22.4 miles (36.0 km)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 81⁄2 in)|
|Operating speed||66 miles per hour (106 km/h)|
Currently operating on a 22.4 miles of rail line, it is Florida's sole metro system. Running from Medley in northwest Miami-Dade to Kendall in southern Miami-Dade, Metrorail is one of only two heavy rail rapid transit systems in the Southeastern United States (the other system being MARTA in Atlanta).
In 1971, a study completed by the Miami Urban Area Transportation Study (MUATS) recommended the construction for a rapid transit system for the county; having experienced a prolonged post-World War II population boom, Dade County's permanent population rose by 35% to nearly 1.7 million residents within a decade. Within a year of the study, county residents approved a $132.5 million ($689 million, adjusted for current inflation) bond dedicated to transit, with additional funding approved by the Florida Legislature for transit which, up until that time, operated solely on fare revenue. In 1976, with preliminary engineering completed for the system, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA, then, the Urban Mass Transit Administration) committed 80% of the costs for the first stage of rapid transit system, with the county and state incurring the remaining cost.
In April 1979, the Interstate Commerce Commission ratified an agreement between the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) and Dade County to transfer the then-FEC right-of-way along US 1 to Miami-Dade Transit, then named the Metro Transit Agency (MTA), with groundbreaking for the system the county commission voted to be named "Metrorail" taking place at the site of what would become University Station in June. Construction began in December 1980 with placing of a double-tee guideway girder near the University of Miami. In June 1983, the first segment of Metrorail from Dadeland South to Overtown (now "Historic Overtown/Lyric Theatre") was completed with the construction of the Miami River bridge, with free first-day service from Pinecrest to Overtown commencing May 20, 1984 with over 125,000 riders.
Additional segments opened subsequently in December 1984 to Earlington Heights Station and to Okeechobee Station in May 1985. In March 1989, temporary station was opened to provide a connection to the newly-opened Tri-Rail commuter rail line, with the station officially opening in June of that year. Preliminary engineering for a rapid transit extension to the Palmetto Expressway began in 1996 with Palmetto Station opening in May 2003.
The current standard fare on Metrorail is $2.00 and reduced fare is $1.00. A standard monthly pass costs $100 and $50 for reduced fare. The monthly EASY Cards are sold at over 50 sales outlets. Reduced fares are available only to Medicare recipients, people with disabilities, and Miami-Dade students in grades 1-12. Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) that sell EASY Cards and EASY Tickets are found in all rail stations. All Miami-Dade senior citizens aged 65 years and older and with Social Security benefits, and Veterans residing in Miami-Dade and earning less than $22,000 annually ride free with the reduced fare monthly EASY Card.
On July 16, 2008, Miami-Dade Transit announced that it would be replacing all fare collection methods with the EASY Card system by late 2009. The system replaces the old cash-/token-based system with one that makes riding transit easier than ever by automatically deducting fares at Metrorail fare gates from a reloadable card. The final station to start fare gate installation was Government Center on August 2, 2009 . Since the system launch on October 1, 2009, all passengers utilizing Metrorail must use either an EASY Card or EASY Ticket to enter stations.
Metrorail runs regularly from 5 a.m. until midnight seven days a week. Trains arrive every 8 minutes during weekday rush hours, every 15 minutes at midday, and every 15–30 minutes after 6 p.m. until midnight. Weekend service runs every 30 minutes until midnight. For a brief period from 2003 to April 2004 there was 24-hour service; between midnight and 5 a.m., trains arrived every 60 minutes.
A limited-stop bus route, Route 500 Midnight Owl, operates hourly between 12:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. trip between Dadeland South and Government Center Metrorail stations. This bus service replaces the 24-hour Metrorail service cancelled due to a lack of ridership.
Metrorail runs from the northwest in Medley through Hialeah, into the city of Miami, the downtown area, through Coral Gables and South Miami, and ending in southwest Miami-Dade at Dadeland Mall. There are 22 accessible Metrorail stations, one about every 1.25 miles (or 1.9 kilometers). Metrorail connects to the Metromover system at Government Center and Brickell stations and to South Florida's Tri-Rail suburban system at the Tri-Rail Station (see below).
Trains are stored at the Palmetto Yard just west of Okeechobee Station. The yard houses 136 cars built by the Budd Company; Miami-Dade's subway cars were among the last orders Budd filled before shuttering its railcar manufacturing business. The cars are identical to those used on the Baltimore Metro (save for the modifications made to Baltimore's cars during their refurbishment in 2005), as the two systems were built at the same time, and the two agencies were able to save money by sharing a single order.
Along the Metrorail system, the tracks are mostly elevated. Three sections are not: under I-95 between Vizcaya and Brickell stations, under I-95 just east of Culmer station, and from just east of the Palmetto Expressway heading west into the Palmetto station and tail track. In each of these cases, the tracks ride on ground level for a brief amount of time.
The platform at each Metrorail station is long enough to accommodate six-car-long trains; the Dadeland North and Government Center station platforms are long enough to accommodate eight-car-long trains. In-service trains are usually either four or six cars long; in the evening it is not uncommon for Miami-Dade Transit to link two out-of-service trains together before returning them to Palmetto Yard.
By 2020, when Metrorail's Orange Line is scheduled for completion, the Metrorail network will serve Miami International Airport, Florida International University and LandShark Stadium (see The Orange Line). Long-term plans exist to extend the system so it serves more of Coral Gables, as well as entering western Kendall, and Aventura. These plans have been put into indefinite hold as crucial federal funding for such projects has been revoked for the time being.
|Number||Station||Time||Opened||Average weekday ridership
|1||Palmetto||29 min||May 30, 2003||1,293||Metrobus: 87|
|2||Okeechobee||26 min||May 19, 1985||1,426||Metrobus: 73|
|3||Hialeah||23 min||May 19, 1985||1,634||Metrobus: 29, 37, 54, L|
|4||Tri-Rail||22 min||June 5, 1989||1,648||Tri-Rail
Metrobus: 42, L
|5||Northside||20 min||May 18, 1985||1,667||Metrobus: 12, 21, 32, 79 St Max (79), L, 221|
|6||Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Plaza||19 min||May 19, 1985||1,343||Metrobus: 27, 62, 27 Av Max (97)|
|7||Brownsville||14 min||May 19, 1985||873||Metrobus: 27, Liberty City Connnection (46), 54, Brownsville Connection (254)|
|8||Earlington Heights||13 min||December 17, 1984||1,279||Metrobus: 17, 22, 95x, East-West Connection (238), Airport-Beach Flyer (Route 150)|
|9||Allapattah||12 min||December 17, 1984||1,843||Metrobus: 12, 21, 36, J, Night Owl (246)|
|10||Santa Clara||7 min||December 17, 1984||694||Metrobus: 12, 21, 32, M, Night Owl (246)|
|11||Civic Center||6 min||December 17, 1984||6,312||Metrobus: 12, 32, 95x, M, Night Owl (246)|
|12||Culmer||4 min||December 17, 1984||1,261||Metrobus: 77, NW 7 Av Max (277), Overtown Circulator (211)|
|13||Historic Overtown/Lyric Theatre||< 1 min||May 20, 1984||1,309||Metrobus: 2, 7, 95x, Overtown Circulator (211), Seaport Connection (243)|
|14||Government Center||0 min||May 20, 1984||11,097||Metromover: Downtown, Omni, and Brickell Loops
Metrobus: 2, 3, 7, 9, 11, 16, 21, 24, 77, 95x, e95, C, S, Flagler MAX (51), Biscayne MAX (93), Beach MAX (120), Little Havana Circulator (207), Little Havana Circulator (208), Night Owl (246), NW 7 Av MAX (277), Midnight Owl (500)
|15||Brickell||1 min||May 20, 1984||3,633||Metromover: Brickell Loop
Metrobus: 6, 8, 48, B, Brickell Key Shuttle (248)
|16||Vizcaya||5 min||May 20, 1984||1,302||Metrobus: 12, 17, 24|
|17||Coconut Grove||8 min||May 20, 1984||1,752||Metrobus: 6, 22, 27, 42 (weekdays only), Coconut Grove Circulator (249)|
|18||Douglas Road||10 min||May 20, 1984||3,731||Metrobus: 37, 40, 42, 48, 65, J, Coral Way MAX (224), Coconut Grove Ciruclator (249)
Coral Gables Trolley
|19||University||13 min||May 20, 1984||1,976||Metrobus: 48, 56, Midnight Owl (500)|
|20||South Miami||15 min||May 20, 1984||3,225||Metrobus: 37, 52, 57, 72|
|21||Dadeland North||19 min||May 20, 1984||6,346||Metrobus: 1, 87, 88, 104, Bird Road MAX (240), Kendall KAT (288), Killian KAT (204), Sunset KAT (272)|
|22||Dadeland South||20 min||May 20, 1984||6,643||South Miami-Dade Busway
Metrobus: 1, 52, 65, 73, 136, Busway Flyer (34), Busway Local (31), Busway MAX (38), Coral Reef MAX (252), Saga Bay MAX (287), Midnight Owl (500)
|Number||Station||Time||Opened||Average weekday ridership
|23||Miami Central Station
|N/A||Miami Intermodal Center: Rental Car Center