*DISCLAIMER - Please note that NO PUBLIC FUNDS were used in this event. This was a "thank you" where the politicians reached into their own pockets - not yours - to fund this event.
South Miami-Dade Transit Way/Metrorail commuters received a dose of holiday cheer when Santa (Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn), Mrs. Claus (Cutler Bay Mayor Peggy Bell), and a very busy and hardworking mass transit Elf (Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava) boarded the Transit Way sleigh (each at their own expense*) to spread holiday cheer by greeting commuters and handing out gift cards to thank them for using mass transit to relieve congestion and save time from sitting in rush hour traffic.
Palmetto Bay Councilman David Singer joined the team to provide song and holiday music to get commuters in the spirit of the season.
This event was reported in the Miami Herald, Metrorail commuters surprised by politicians masquerading as holiday characters, by Howard Cohen
The goal of this special holiday ride was to promote the ease and speed of the 20-mile Transit Way/Park and Ride which runs along U.S. 1 from Florida City to the Dadeland South Station.
“South Dade is experiencing rapid growth and increased traffic congestion so mass transit has become more crucial than ever to the South Corridor,” says Miami-Dade District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava. “Many residents living in Florida City, Homestead, Cutler Bay, and Palmetto Bay need to be made aware of the Park and Ride/Transit Way that will get them out of the stress of rush hour traffic and downtown with ease and speed. Miami-Dade County just introduced a brand new train with more to be added in the coming months. Improvements to the overall system are necessary and key to increasing ridership and getting cars off our congested streets.”
“I ride the Transit Way from Palmetto Bay at 152nd Street to the Dadeland South Station every time I get the opportunity,” says Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn. “I post pictures on social media of the traffic on U.S. 1 while I sit on the train in safety and comfort and arrive less stressed than if I were trying to drive downtown. Commissioner Cava, Mayor Bell, and I have been long-time proponents of mass transit to South Dade. We encourage everyone fed up with traffic to give it a try.”
This event was our way of thanking those who use public transportation.
*No public monies were used in this event. The gift cards were not even donated - they were purchased. Mayor Peggy Bell, Council Member David Singer, Jodi Atkinson and myself each put up our own personal monies to purchase the gift cards. The costumes were owned. We all even paid our own way to ride the transit (as I often do, without request for reimbursement by the Village). I am pleased that we spent our own money for 100% of the cost of the event. No public money was used. I know this sounds out of the ordinary, but we wanted to put up our own time and money to thank the riders for using public transportation.