Miami-Dade Transit announced Monday the addition of 43 60-foot, diesel-electric buses to its existing metrobus fleet. Transit director Alice Bravo says the initial purchase of this fleet is close to $40 million, which means each bus costs over $900,000.
This addition comes on the heels of a Miami Herald investigation into mass transit in the county, published last week. It featured passengers’ complaints about bus schedules and overcrowding.
“Nothing’s more frustrating than you’re waiting for the bus and the bus comes and it’s full. So providing these higher-capacity buses on those routes helps us make sure we can give everybody a ride to their destination,” Bravo says.
More than half of the newly acquired buses have been servicing the South Miami-Dade Busway, which has high passenger volume, since Sept. 18. There are other routes MDT is working on that also have a high amount of passengers, including Route 393 Biscayne Max, Route 27 and Route 297 27th Ave Orange Max.
“We’re modifying these routes and the schedule time to help improve the reliability and also eventually we’ll do that to all our routes,” says Bravo.
The articulated buses carry up to 100 passengers and have access to wi-fi inside. The new fleet also comes equipped with a tracking device that syncs with the Miami-Dade Transit Tracker mobile app.
“People can see in real time where is the bus, so they’re not waiting and wondering did they miss the bus or when is the bus coming,” says Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava.
Levine Cava also says she hears complaints regarding the cleanliness of the buses. “There’s food on the bus, insects, sometimes the buses have leaked,” she says.
Bravo says MDT is improving the cleanliness of existing buses. “We are working to clean many more times a day than we were before, where they are getting midday cleanings and also they are getting deep cleanings several times a week.”
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez says old buses are expected to be cleaned along with the new ones.
Gimenez says the county’s plan is to continue to buy additional new buses. “Not all of them are going to be this large because, frankly, we don’t need all of them to be this large,” Gimenez says. “We need different kinds of buses to service different routes depending on how many passengers they have, etc. So this is a great addition to our fleet.”