MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s wheels up for Miami’s new Trolley Service which launched a trial run Thursday for the new trolley system that includes a route to the new Marlins Ballpark in Little Havana.
The week-long trial, featuring four brand new trolleys, gives the City a chance to clean up any glitches before the formal launch next week.
“It enhances, for residents, their ability to get around and for the business community within the city and it improves the ability of those customers to get to them,” explained Miami’s Capital Improvement Director Albert Sosa.
Once formally launched, the service will run approximately every 15 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
The trolley’s route is a figure eight beginning in front of Jackson Memorial Hospital, looping through the Miami Marlins Little Havana stadium and down NW 4th Street before making its way back to the starting point.
Major destinations along this route include:
- Civic Center Metrorail Station
- University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
- Ryder Trauma Center
- Miami Dade College Medical Campus
- Lindsey Hopkins Technical Education Center
- University of Miami Life Sciences Park
- Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
- Jackson Memorial Hospital
- University of Miami Biomedical Research Institute
- Sylvester Cancer Center
- VA Hospital
- University of Miami Hospital
- Marlins Stadium
The $30 million trolley system will operate without charging riders a fee for at least the first year.
“We feel that offering it as a free service is the best way for our residents and our visitors to really enjoy the city,” said Sosa.
The funding for this service does not affect the city’s general fund. The $30-million bottom line comes from several funding sources, including $14 million in half-cent surtax funds, $4.1 million from federal stimulus money, and $1.5 million from the Florida Department of Transportation. Miami collects about $2 million a year in surtax money.
The city is paying Limousine of South Florida $2 million a year to run the trolley system. The company also runs trolleys in 20 other cities, including Coral Gables, Hollywood and Doral. Miami paid $5.6 million for the trolleys.
For anyone planning on going to a Marlins game at the new stadium should remember that the 5,700 spaces in the four new garages are reserved for season ticket holders and VIPs. Everyone else will either have to take the new trolley service or park on the front lawns of nearby homes just like the old Orange Bowl days.
In late Spring, the City of Miami will expand the trolley service to include an additional route along Brickell Drive and Biscayne Boulevard serving the Downtown area, plus a loop connecting the Health District and Overtown.
In early 2013, the City anticipates expanding the service further to include a loop along NW 20th Street from NW 27th Avenue to the Omni area and another along Coral Way from SW 37 Avenue to Brickell Drive.
For maps and additional information please visit www.miamitrolley.com.