Riding Metromover is a bargain. It's absolutely free.
Well, county commissioners are toying with the idea of adding a $1 charge to the service, that's if they ever get around to it.
Commissioners Barbara Jordan and Sally Heyman introduced the idea in September, and the motion was approved on its first reading. But it's now in the Transportation and Aviation Committee, and the Next Miami points out that last month not enough commissioners showed up for the committee meeting, so a vote was never taken.
Metromover has been free for more than a decade, but it wasn't always that way.
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When the service opened in 1987, riders had to pay a 25-cent fare. However, commissioners soon realized it cost almost as much to collect the fare as the service was making. Eventually, in 2002, the county pushed to make Metromover free. This was coincidentally around the time Miami-Dade was trying to pass the half-cent sales tax to fund public transportation. Commissioners figured that free Metromover rides might increase ridership of Metrorail.
However, installing equipment to collect fares would cost anywhere from $2.4 million to $9 million. It would then cost $525,000 a year to maintain operation. County estimates show fare collection could generate $1.8 million to $2.7 million. Any profits would go to funding other transportation projects, including free rides for the elderly.
Of course, Metromover is no longer the only free transportation option in downtown. The City of Miami's trolley system covers similar areas and extends all the way to midtown.