Miami’s public transportation needs major improvements

Nearly all of the major metropolitan cities in the United States and even in the world have some form of efficient public transportation. However, some cities remain virtually inept in that area. Unfortunately, the University of Miami happens to be located in the heart of one of those inept cities.

Think for a moment: do you know anyone who rides the Metrorail to get around town? How about anyone who takes the bus regularly? It seems that, for the majority of University of Miami students, the answers to these questions would be a definite “no.” Even if you are lucky enough to find someone who does ride the bus, they will most likely tell of the impractical amount of time that it takes to arrive at any destination.

Although it may seem commonplace to students who have been here for a few years, it is indeed very odd that the public transportation in Miami is virtually non-existent. After all, our city is not all that different from a city like Boston. But if you ask almost any student at a Boston university how to get around, they will undoubtedly tell you about the train system known as “The T.”

Also, very few people would disagree that there is a serious traffic problem in Miami. Where else does rush hour start at 2 p.m. (arguably at 1:30 p.m.) and last until 7 p.m.? Where else does a yellow light mean “speed up,” and a red light mean that four more cars can go? The problem is that many motorists feel they must break the traffic laws or be stuck to wait forever behind red lights and green arrows that last just long enough for about a car and a half to get through.

Such reckless driving habits create serious safety hazards on the road. And what’s more, the pollution that this vast sea of cars creates is tremendous. So why hasn’t the city of Miami begun to clean up this nightmare?

As of now, there is no answer to this question. Despite the possible economic, environmental, health and safety benefits, Miami still has yet to implement a serious plan to improve public transportation. Without such a plan there remains no real incentive for citizens or students to seek out alternate methods of transportation other than their cars.

However, the city is not the only guilty party. The University of Miami shares some of the blame in this orgy of gas consumption, traffic jams, accidents and heavy pollution. If, like most universities, we did not allow freshmen to have cars, there would surely be an increase in car-pooling and in the use of public transportation. And that does not even mention the tremendously beneficial repercussions that such a policy would have on campus parking and campus involvement. Indeed, if freshmen had no way of getting off campus, they would have to start caring about what happened on campus.

But relax, freshmen. Before that happens, the city of Miami needs to make the first move. There must be an effort on the part of our officials to address the problem and implement plans to correct it in the shortest amount of time possible. To use the cliche, they must build it if they want us to come.