Better Bus Project Launched

What is this?

With two out of three trips on transit served by buses in Miami, the continued dismantling of the bus system is alarming and misguided.

Our 5-part series takes a deep dive into the state of our bus system.

Supported by:

  1. Ridership
  2. Service Cuts
  3. Reliability
  4. Route Network
  5. Solutions

You are stuck in traffic —

The bus can't save you.

Source: Miami-Dade County GIS DataBus Lanes marked by Transit Alliance
Thanks: Adam Old

Buses without dedicated lanes are fish without fins — they can't be faster than the current. In Miami, on-street bus lanes are virtually non-existent, trapping buses in the same traffic transit riders sought to avoid.

Only one corridor features dedicated lanes - the South-Dade Transitway. It successfully serves ~ 2.9 million trips/year. However, many corridors match and exceed this ridership, but lack any dedicated lanes.

Which corridors?
  1. — Routes to Miami Beach (via the MacArthur) serve ~ 5.1 million trips/year
  2. — Routes along Flagler St. serve ~ 4 million trips/year
  3. — Routes along Biscayne Blvd. serve ~ 3.1 million trips/year
  4. — Routes along NW 7th Ave serve ~ 2.8 million trips/year

It's a race —

Will the bus win?

Decisions to take transit often come down to travel time. The ways in which we do (or don't) prioritize transit can make or break its competitiveness.

However, the game is sometimes rigged, with buses destined to lose. Here are three examples.

Homestead Dadeland South

18.2 miles

Car on Highway 30 mins

+ Traffic up to 1 hour 30 mins

Bus with Dedicated Lane 1 hour

Bike 1 hour 40 mins

😀 With a dedicated lane, riders are guaranteed a travel time that is competitive against gambling with traffic.

South Beach (Lincoln Road) Government Center

3.8 miles

Car on Highway 16 mins

+ Traffic up to 40 mins

Bus 27 mins

+ Traffic up to 45 mins

Bike 28 mins

🙁 Without dedicated lanes, buses are stuck in the same traffic with cars, providing no travel time incentive.

Downtown Coral Gables Downtown Doral

6.75 miles

Car on Highway 22 mins

+ Traffic up to 1 hour

Bus 59 mins

+ Traffic up to 1 hour 36 mins

Bike 54 mins

😩 When the bus network does not effectively connect two population centers, the differences in travel time are drastic.

Source: Google Maps Rush Hour Travel Times & Traffic Estimates

Routes, routes everywhere —

But where do they really go?

Some of our routes appear to be inspired by modern art moreso than practical design. It is difficult to deduce where they go, and they often take riders on a long roundabout journey.

Below are some of our strangest routes. These are real, official maps.

Route 1

Route 17

Route 32

Route 35

Route 52

Route 246

Route 36

Route 40

One bus rider —

25 bus systems.

Our transportation surtax funds 25 free trolley systems. Each municipality runs a different vehicle and plans its own routes, hours and frequencies.

The adoption of trolleys has created a more fragmented transit system. A clear indicator of that - not a single trolley system can be tracked in real-time in any major transit app (eg. Google Maps, Transit, MDT Bus Tracker.)

Aventura Express Shuttle Bus
265,532 trips/year

Bal Harbour Express Shuttle
11,627 trips/year

Bay Harbor Islands Trolley
7,850 trips/year

Coral Gables Trolley
1,120,774 trips/year

Cutler Bay Town Circulator
52,787 trips/year

City of Doral Trolley
587,045 trips/year

Hialeah Transit Bus System*
261,902 trips/year

City of Homestead Trolley
137,692 trips/year

Town of Medley Trolley
1,078 trips/year

City of Miami Trolley
5,087,070 trips/year

Miami Beach Trolley
2,248,578 trips/year

Miami Gardens Express
83,338 trips/year

Miami Lakes Moover
22,041 trips/year

Miami Shores Shuttle
9,879 trips/year

Miami Springs Free-Bee Shuttle**
21,720 trips/year

City of North Bay Village Mini-Bus
2,600 trips/year

NoMi Express Shuttle
340,359 trips/year

NMB Line Trolley Service Transit
85,593 trips/year

Opa Locka Express Circulator
178,912 trips/year

IBUS - Bus Circulator Service
5,276 trips/year

Pinecrest People Mover
29,875 trips/year

SIB Shuttle
122,158 trips/year

Surfside Shuttle
29,539 trips/year

Sweetwater Trolley
126,487 trips/year

West Miami Community Bus Service
12,750 trips/year

* Hialeah Gardens & Hialeah    ** Miami Springs & Virginia Gardens
Source: Citizen's Independent Transportation Trust; Ridership for FY '16 - '17

Disclaimer: Although the analysis presented by Transit Alliance has been produced from sources believed to be reliable, Transit Alliance makes no warranty or claims as to the accuracy of said data or the resulting analysis. It is often necessary to manually compile and reformat the data for presentation, and determine guidelines and assumptions to appropriately represent trends. We welcome corrections, please e-mail us at help (at)