So how does UTA compare to the Miami-Dade transit system? So far UTA has not been able to win a victory against another transit system, but will today be the day? Read on and find out...
First of all fares, etc: Currently the Miami system has a lower fare since it is $1.50 while the UTA is $1.60. However, in at UTA you get a free transfer but in Miami you have to pay $.50 for a transfer and you can only use it once.
In addition UTA does offer a day pass (even if it is too hard to get), but there is no day pass in Miami. Miami does have their visitor's pass which is good for a week and is a good value which is something that UTA may want to look at.
While Miami may have a lower fare, you have to pay $75.00 for a Miami Dade monthly pass compared to a pass price of $53.50 at the UTA.
When it comes to fares UTA wins by decision.
Information and Ease of Use: Miami Dade does win as it does have a counter at the Miami airport (ok, no one was present there but it had schedules) however, only one Miami Dade bus had timetables on it and none of the train stations had any although there was racks for them. Miami did do bus changes a week and a half before I arrived but one thing that you can say about UTA is that when the changes take place there is timetables available on the buses and at other locations.
When it comes to ease of use we have a draw. Neither system has timed transfers and transfers are not really considered on either system.
Drivers: OK we have a huge win for UTA. Whatever you think about UTA, it does have one of the best group of drivers of any system I have ridden. Yeah there is the jerk every now and again but overall UTA has good drivers. Meanwhile I only encountered one somewhat helpful driver and all the rest were down right bad. Miami-Dade should be ashamed at the way their drivers treat their customers.
Bus Stop Signs: One thing that Miami-Dade does well is having a route map at every bus stop (at least every bus stop I was at). The map also shows the frequency of the route but does not have times. Meanwhile UTA has information at some stops which includes the times the buses should be at the stop but do not include route maps. So this one is a wash however I will note that when I was at the South Dade MetroRail station I had no idea when my next bus would arrive. Since there was no timetables available I had no idea when the next bus would come since all the sign said was the route ran every 40-minutes during the day, 20-minute rush hour. Apparently I just missed a bus because I had to wait 35-minutes. If I knew the wait would be that long I would have caught another bus route since I was looking for a restaurant.
Buses/Rail: Once again we have a win for UTA. The Miami buses are done up to stop vandalism. The buses are done in dark colors on the inside, have hard anti-vadalism seats and are generally not a pleasure to be in. Meanwhile UTA does have better quality seats in their buses plus a better color scheme.
Meanwhile it is a wash for the Miami MetroRail since they do have cushioned seats on their rail vehicles.
One thing that lowers Miami-Dade is the amount of graffiti present around the system. They seem to not deal with it at all, just leave it up. So after years the system looks dingy and dirty and not very impressive to visitors or choice riders.
So who was the winner?
UTA!!! Yes UTA has pulled off a victory that was well deserved. UTA is clearly a better transit system to ride. In this case the UTA does most things better that Miami. Can UTA learn some things from the Miami system? Of course, you can always learn from others but I doubt that anyone from UTA that went to Railvolution took the time to learn about Miami-Dade.
So who will UTA be up against next? Well, I can't tell you now but will bring it to you when I have an opportunity to check a system out.