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The Doral Trolley… for all the right reasons.
Doral Trolley System (DTS) official slogan

The City of Doral conducted a local circulator planning and feasibility study under a grant from Miami-Dade County’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The study was brought before council on June 13, 2007 and was approved as a pilot program. On February 1, 2008, the city launched a two-year pilot program. The goal of the Doral Transit System (DTS) is to provide service within the City of Doral, and provide connection to downtown Miami and Miami-Dade County’s north and south communities, which are all reachable via transfer connections with Miami-Dade Transit (MDT).

At inception of the pilot program, DTS ran one trolley bus Monday through Saturday. The first gas-engine trolley began operation on February 1, 2008. The fixed routes operated weekdays with headways of approximately 40 minutes. The weekday lunch route had headways of approximately 20 minutes and Saturday’s route had headways of approximately 70 minutes. Route planning focused on serving major traffic routes since congestion could significantly lower or adversely affect the level of service. This sort of planning helps attract people who may consider using public transit as a mode of transportation. Transit service plays an important role in the economy and in the lives of Doral citizens. DTS is a system that needs to operate efficiently so that it can provide the best possible service to users.

The Trolley Tracker provides visual and real-time specific locations for the trolleys. The Interactive Response System audibly provides the location of the next trolley to a specific stop. Unlike traditional schedules, these systems let the rider know where the trolley is located in real-time and how long it will take to get to a specific stop. The Trolley Tracker is available on the DTS website or through the City of Doral’s “Doral e-Gov” smartphone app. Additionally, DTS offers its riders an interactive voice response service that provides riders with an estimated trolley arrival time. Riders may dial 305-593-6710 and enter the trolley stop number located on the Doral Trolley stop sign.

Implementation Process

The city began this initiative in 2007 by leasing a trolley for $4,916.67 per month. It seated 24 passengers and had room for 10 or more standing passengers. It was wheelchair accessible with room for two wheelchairs. Next, the city utilized the competitively bid Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Agency (TMA) contract to procure the operation and maintenance services. A few months later, the city initiated a two-year pilot local circulator program that provided free trolley service for residents and visitors. In June 2008, GeoSoft USA donated and installed a GPS tracking device for real-time information. Following the success of this program, the city has been expanding and improving trolley service, including adopting the 2010 Doral Transportation Master Plan and acquiring more trolleys for added routes.

The DTS has three routes: Route 1 (Blue Route), Route 2 (Yellow Route), and Route 3 (Green Route). Route 1, the crosstown connector, has been operating with minor variations since the inception of the DTS. Based on the overwhelming demand on Route 1, DTS has extended its service hours. Route 2, the commercial/Metrorail connector, was launched on December 20, 2010. The intent of the route was to provide transit services for commuting workers and for visitors to Doral by providing connection outside of city limits to connect to the MDT Palmetto Metrorail Station, which connects to Downtown Miami and beyond. Route 3, the residential/Metrorail connector, was launched on February 6, 2012 for weekday service. On December 15, 2013, after many requests from the public, the services were expanded to offer Saturday service.

Implementation Funding

The Doral Trolley does not generate any revenue since it is a free service. Since its inception, the city has continuously sought funding sources to aide in the capital cost and the costs for operation and maintenance, which are outsourced to a private contractor. During the initial phase, the pilot program was locally funded. In fiscal year 2013/2014, the operation and maintenance for the city’s eight-trolley fleet cost the city approximately $950,000. In 2013/2014, the trolley was partially funded from the city’s Transportation Fund, which receives an annual share of the People’s Transportation Plan sales tax. The cost per rider was $2.62 and ridership increased by 16% compared to previous years, which resulted in a reduction of 6% in the cost per rider.

Community Benefits

The objective of the DTS is to provide efficient and effective public transportation for residents, linking them to work, shopping, and school locations; providing alternatives to ease commute into the city’s employment areas; complementing MDT service; and positioning the city to respond to future public transportation opportunities that will result from street extensions, transit projects, and the build out of the City Urban Core (i.e. Downtown Doral and Park Square).

The Facts

Quick Facts & Statistics

  • Overall, more than a third (38%) of riders surveyed use the trolley because the trolley is convenient.
  • 30% use it because a car was not available.
  • 18% use it because they cannot drive themselves.
  • More than half of all passengers use the trolley five or more days a week.