Metromover will stay free.
A proposal to add fares to the downtown people mover system — pushed by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan — died on Wednesday after being debated by fellow commissioners in a transportation-related committee.
Resistance to Jordan’s proposal was strong, and it didn’t even make it to a committee vote. Only one other commissioner, Sally Heyman, voiced support for adding fares, and it was clear that all other commissioners present were opposed.
Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, for example, praised the free rides on Metromover for boosting ridership. The Metromover system became free after voters approved a half-percent transit tax in 2002, and it immediately saw a surge of new riders. Ridership is still growing today, and stands at about 10 million passengers annually.
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The transit tax also funds free trolley buses operated by local cities, which Barreiro said are also successful.
“The reason why they’re booming in ridership is they have no fares,” Barreiro said.
Jordan had pushed the fare increase as a fairness issue — arguing Wednesday that affluent Brickell residents get to ride the Metromover for free, while the “working poor” carry the burden of paying $2.25 fares on Metrobus and Metrorail.
“I ride the people mover a lot,” he said. “It’s the restaurant workers, the hotel workers, the students at the colleges, the back office personnel utilizing that system.”
The discussion of Metromover being free — and how successful it is — led to Jordan and Barreiro planning a future meeting to contemplate the possibility of making Metrobus and Metrorail also free of charge. It unclear what the funding source for that would be — Jordan said those details would be addressed in the future meeting with Barreiro.
“I think we could come up with some legislation so that we can do fare-free riding for everyone,” Jordan told reporters after Wednesday’s committee meeting ended.