North Miami Beach recently improved its trolley service by way of added routes and a tracking app, city officials said.
What was originally a one-route service has now turned into three routes for the retro-looking trolleys. Though the exterior looks like a vintage mode of transportation, each offers Wi-Fi and is equipped with surveillance cameras.
During operating hours, one trolley runs on each line. Driver Jose Verde has been running on Route C since the expansion, which includes high school and university areas.
“Usually this service was used by older people, but now we come to FIU and two other schools so more students are using it to move around,” he said.
The sudden influx of a younger crowd has led to an app being created to improve this transportation service. The app “TSO North Miami Beach,” which launched in May, can be downloaded on the Apple and Android app stores.
“We try to run according to the schedule and don’t make any extra stops so we can be on time to all the stops we make,” he said.
FIU student Sharom Borda often uses public transportation to get to work, and usually relies on the Metrobus.
“I don’t have a car so I rely on buses and now the trolley to come to class and get to my job at the mall,” said Borda. “The app works better than I thought it would, and knowing if it’s going to be on time or not makes my life a lot easier.”
On an average weekday around 250 people use the service on this route, said Verde, but it can sometimes go up to 400. As for the other two routes, according to the NMB-Line Transit Department, about 150 use the service each weekday.
“It can get pretty crowded on certain stops,” he said. “Most of the people get on either the Walmart stop or the malls.”
Although the amount of younger people and students have risen, said Verde, the majority of people are older and use the transportation service to perform daily tasks such as groceries.
North Miami Beach resident Jill Gordon said she uses the trolley because of its proximity and availability.
“The trolley picks me up like three or four minutes away from my house,” she said. “If they added more routes, I think even more people might use it.”