Metrorail trains should arrive at stations in five-minute intervals, known as “headways.”
But that’s not necessarily the case, says Marta Viciedo, a founder of The Transit Alliance, a local advocacy group. The organization is now holding the county accountable with a real-time solution: an online Metrorail tracker.
“No more than five-minute wait time between trains during peak hours is something that we should be aspiring to and we should have an easy way to determine whether we’re reaching that goal or not,” Viciedo says.
The alliance launched an online transit audit that tracks the time between trains arriving at the Government Center station. The tracker uses open data from the county to calculate late trains.
Viciedo says the alliance began working on the tracker last November in response to budget shortfalls. According to The Miami Herald, this year’s budget would have allocated money to restore the original five-minute headways, but that may not happen until the summer.
The transit audit also serves as activism, Viciedo says.
“Information is power,” she adds. “The more you know, the more you can advocate. We have to do better to fuel engagement for all of our residents.”
On Wednesday, 43 of 96 scheduled trains were on time while 84 trains arrived earlier or later than the expected five-minute headway. The tracker also marked 12 “ghost trains,” those scheduled to run but never did.
Trains at peak morning times were between 16 and 21 minutes late, taking into account the five-minute headways.
Overall, in the past five days, 285 trains have been on-time and 686 have been late. Another 101 were ghost trains.