The City of Doral launched a direct trolley route between Doral and Florida International University (FIU) to coincide with the start of the FIU 2018 Fall Semester. The City’s COMPLIMENTARY Doral-FIU Trolley Route will operate Monday-Friday, 6:00 AM-11:00 PM, via two (2) trolleys with a frequency of approximately 30-minutes. The City aims to provide a dependable transportation alternative to get to FIU, giving students, faculty, and staff a more affordable and convenient way to travel to and from campus.
The idea for a direct trolley route between Doral and FIU was first envisioned during a meeting between Doral Councilwoman Christi Fraga and FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg September 23rd, 2014. The subsequent “idea to implementation process” included an FIU Trolley Route Expansion Study that was partially funded by a $28,000 grant from the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO). The study estimated that the route would have 137,000 trips per year in ridership, thus reducing traffic congestion and dependence on motor vehicle use between Doral and FIU, particularly along NW 107thAvenue. On November 8th, 2017, the Doral City Council unanimously approved the new route’s implementation (Resolution No. 17-206).
“We expect exceptional results from the Doral-FIU Trolley Route. Since 2014, I have been committed to bringing the route to fruition receiving unwavering support from Doral’s Council, the City’s administration, and FIU throughout the process. The route is an “out-of-box” solution envisioned primarily to address traffic. It will provide an alternative form of transportation for almost 5,000 FIU students, faculty, and staff that reside in our City and travel to FIU on an on-going basis. It will also help to reduce both transportation costs and dependence on motor vehicles for residents that use the route, and for Doral families, who will no longer need to incur the expense of dedicating a car to send a college-bound young adult to FIU,” said Councilwoman Fraga.
The Doral-FIU Trolley Route carried a $200,000 City of Doral FY 17-18 capital investment for one (1) trolley. Developer CC Doral II LLC/Doral 4200 Holdings, LLC donated the second trolley for the route. These costs, however, will now be less than was originally anticipated thanks to the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) Governing Board’s initiative to identify projects that advance elements of the SMART Plan. Because the Doral-FIU Trolley Route will provide connectivity to the proposed SMART Plan’s East-West Corridor, will have a duration of at least up to three (3) years, and since Doral has a commitment to continue the project thereafter, on June 21st, 2018, the TPO Governing Board approved the Doral-FIU Trolley Route as a Smart Plan Demonstration Project. The approval means that the TPO will seek federal and/or state funds to be allocated for up to fifty-percent (50%- $260,000) of its total operation and maintenance costs ($520,000) for three (3) years. The TPO grant will also allow Doral and FIU to gather actual ridership data going-forward, which will be used to seek continued funding at both the local and the state level for the route’s on-going operations and maintenance.
Doral students at FIU voiced their approval for the route think it is a great opportunity. Sophia Rodriguez, a Senior at FIU who is a graduate of Ronald W. Reagan/Doral High School and a Hospitality Major, said: “Finding parking at FIU is horrible, the traffic getting here is also quite terrible. I am so excited. I have been waiting for it since I was a freshman here and have attended all the meetings, my mom currently drives me to school so she will also be extremely happy. I plan to start using it right away.” Alondra Hernandez another Ronald W. Reagan/Doral High School graduate and currently a Junior at FIU studying Political Science, said, “I do not really own a car of my own, I currently share a car with my family, owning a car is expensive. Honestly, a free trolley is a great way to get to class, I am pretty sure that I will take it every single day.”
The direct trolley route between Doral and FIU will service the FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus via NW 109thAvenue to service Parking Garage 6 and the Engineering Campus along 107thAvenue, as well as Ronald W. Reagan/Doral High School, Miami International Mall, and the 109 Tower apartments in Sweetwater. As with all Doral Trolleys, the ones on this route are equipped with free Wi-Fi and bicycle racks.