Transportation’s Future, Part 3: Le Jeune Road hints at conflict ahead

One Miami Dade bus route, the 42, clearly illustrates the difficulties ahead for county transportation planners and citizens in adapting to the new plan.

Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

The route traverses Le Jeune Road from Coral Gables to Opa-locka, carrying between 700 and 800 riders a day. It does not appear on the Better Bus Network’s draft map, so if the plan is approved, riders will have to, in most cases, get a half-mile east to 37th Avenue, where the 37 bus mostly runs. 

This graph shows the overall low ridership of route 42, in comparison to route 37. This data is part of what Transit Alliance uses to determine which routes should be cut. Data from Miami-Dade County.

Data from the county’s ridership reports show that route 37 has weekly ridership above 3,000 passengers versus less than 1000 on route 42.

Marcela Mazur, a security guard in Coral Gables, commutes using the 42. The Miami Beach resident has considered several alternate transit alternatives, like trolleys and rideshare services if it is discontinued. Otherwise, she might take another bus and walk to finish her commute to her job at a condominium development called Merrick Manor.

“They cannot take away the buses and leave the people taking Uber, because Uber used to be good, but now it’s become too expensive,” Mazur said.

Merrick Manor is located about a half mile away from the Douglas Road Metrorail station, the nearest bus stop for route 37. The Coral Gables Trolley is a closer alternative but Mazur said that it stops too frequently.  

“I [may have to] take the 37, and after that, walk or take Uber. Like 10 blocks or 15 blocks,” she said. “Because the trolley takes forever.”

She said that the county should put in free trolleys wherever bus routes are eliminated.

But she also feels that the Coral Gables Trolley would be an insufficient replacement for the 42 because — at least for now — it doesn’t stop at places like the airport bus station. Also, the  capacity is far less than a bus.

Rosalva Quintero used to ride the 42 bus from her house in Flagami to the Douglas Road Metrorail station, where she would then board route 48 to Coconut Grove. She said that this route was replaced by a trolley that runs infrequently.

“What are they going to put on Le Jeune Road?” she said. “I hope they don’t take the 42 away.” 

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Le Jeune as one word.

Juan Minera Jr. is a senior at Florida International University from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is studying journalism and plans on pursuing a career as a writer in Miami.