Miami politicians don't ride the long bus

Miami-Dade bus 88

Okay, i'm not saying they commute by bus at all (doubtful), nor am i necessarily implying that they take the short bus (of course not), but the one thing of which i'm 100% sure is that they don't use the Miami-Dade bus route 72.

Let me explain. One of the most important stops for bus 72 is the South Miami Metrorail stop, the transfer point for inbound commuters heading downtown. The route that the 72 takes to get to its bay at the station is a most hair-pullingly, circuitous thing. The kicker is that it's completely unnecessary, and this is why i started with such a click-baity generalization: surely nobody who has to set foot on this bus gave the greenlight to this plan!

Here's a map of the station under scrutiny, taken from this view of Open Street Map.

Openstreetmap of the South Miami bus and metrorail station

Morning inbound commuters are traveling east on Southwest 72nd Street, as artistically indicated by an arrow. The bus comes to the end of its line at the point underlined with red. Apart from the parking garage, fire station, and the overhead metrorail lines, the half-block with the station is open and either paved or covered in grass. How do you think the 72 bus reaches its bay?

Here's the Google Street View of the intersection at the lower left, looking toward the metrorail station and the bus bays.

Scuttlebut has it (okay, so it was actually a bus driver) that, once upon a time, when bus 72 arrived at the station, it would make a left turn onto Southwest 59th Place, and then immediately right into the bus depot, pull into its bay, and stop to drop off the passengers so they could hop on the incoming metrorail train. Simple and efficient, right? It can leave the station on its return trip by continuing on through to the exit at the northeast corner. It sure makes sense.

What does the arrival of bus 72 look like actually? I will tell you...

It makes a left turn onto Southwest 59th Place, after waiting at the light on 72nd Street (a major street). It trundles north to the traffic light at Southwest 70th Street, turns right, and proceeds east to the intersection with US1, probably the most traffic-choked surface street during rush hour. It waits for the light, turns right onto US1, travels the length of the station, and finally makes another right turn into the station itself. In other words, it completely circles the station, like an enormous, ungainly dog trying to settle down for a nap. At this point, not only is the bus out of diesel, but everyone has missed the train.

This jaunt around the station requires an additional two stops and almost 1/2 mile of extra travel. Depending on traffic conditions and light timing, it can delay riders for as much as five minutes. And it does it every single trip it makes, 29 times each weekday. Even with a very conservative mileage estimate of 10 miles/gallon, that comes out to more than an extra gallon of gas a day, nevermind the lost time and wear and tear on the brakes, transmission, and passenger nerves.

You might think that the bus driver's story is merely a rumor, and that some obscure property or zoning law is standing in the way of this thing making sense and not wasting thousands of dollars a year in public resources and private time. You might think it's just one of the myriad little red tape issues that puzzle us.

You might think that, until you see this Google Earth image from 2004!

Historical Google Earth satellite image of South Miami metrorail stop
Google Earth satellite image of the South Miami Metrorail station taken January, 2004

So my question for the responsible parties, in amazingly sardonic tones (if you don't know me, you will have to take my word for it): Why is there no longer a bus entrance to South Miami metrorail station from Southwest 59th Place? Why was it removed, along with the trees, and converted to a couple pedestrian pathways and sunbaked dust-grass? Why are you wasting so much time and money and creating ill will for the Miami bus system?