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Another Word for MetroFAIL & TriFAIL:  A Disaster!


By Seth H. Bramson

When the idea of a rail rapid transit “system” for then-Dade County was originally conceived the county was divided up into about eight “Public Involvement Districts” and I was elected President of the Miami Beach District.  At the time I was—at least it appeared that way—the only person in the Beach group pushing (or fighting) for rail rapid transit.  As noted in the previous columns, and unfortunately, a know-nothing by the name of John Dyer and his knew even less cohort, Alan Wulkan, became Director and Assistant Director of and for Miami-Dade Transit.

The only thing that Dyer knew how to do, having come from a totally non-transit related background, was to file federal grant applications and Wulkan, as stated, knew less.  Besides the fact that, in their own minds, and like a certain guy in D. C., they knew everything there was to know about rail transit, in truth they knew little about anything.  In truth and fact, the only people involved in the entire organization who did know about rail transit operations (besides this writer) were Rand Preston, the chief engineer, who Dyre fired because he knew so much more than Dyer did, and my long-time friend, the late Wayne Whisler, who worked for the Seaboard and then the merged Seaboard Coast Line Railroad, and who was not only a decent guy but a dedicated railroad buff. Wayne, incidentally, was President of the Hialeah Public Involvement District.

Eventually, I became the official (but unpaid) public spokesperson for Miami-Dade Transit and not only was it my job to fend off the attacks by the know-nothings who wanted only more polluting, environmentally disastrous, fossil-fuel wasting, noisy and ecologically horrific stinkmobiles, with their rarely pleasant drivers, but, also, to debate Richard Friedman, who headed a group named STOP (Stop Transit Over People).  As it turned out, I beat Friedman’s brains out with truth and facts in every debate, but neither Dyer nor Wulkan showed any appreciation at all.

When the discussion came to the table regarding raising the fares (again) I not only opposed said raise but promised them that if they would cut the fares in half, from $2.00 to $1.00, we would not only gain national publicity but we would absolutely triple the ridership.  Ever try talking to the wind?  I then proposed something that would have saved “the county” (we the people, the taxpayers) multi-millions of dollars.  While, yes, we did need the large buses for workdays, we should be, I told them, buying 24 and 32 seat buses for low-ridership routes, nights and weekends.  I could have gotten a better response from a closet door than I did from those dumbkopfs.

But now, “X” number of years later, here we are with two entities, MetroFAIL and TriFAIL, neither of which have any public credibility.  In fact, I am not only tempted to say (write) but I will say (write) less than none.  So, dear readers, next visit I will tell you what neither of them has done and what each could have done, both to build said public credibility as well as ridership.  We’ll see you in a few days with apologies for my absence from Mr. Berkwitt’s wonderful website Ringside Report for the last few weeks and a mea culpa to go along with that:

Simply put, overwhelmed.  Between classes five days a week at Barry, my Nova Southeastern University Lifelong Learning Institute classes, and my winter-season Road Scholar (the entity that was formerly known as “Elderhostel”) classes, along with serving as President of both the Miami Memorabilia Collectors Club and now the Greater North Miami Historical Society, plus giving a number of talks to local groups and organizations, the time has raced by like a (but not sure if I should use the term) cyclone, hurricane or whirlwind leaving me with no time for the really important stuff, such as writing for Mr. Berkwitt, working on several books simultaneously and buying and selling on eBay.

The problem, of course, is that this damn having to make a living stuff is starting to interfere with what’s really important, like spending time writing for Ringside Report and being with you.  I will work hard to make up for it!  Be—and stay—well, all, and back with you soon.

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