It is always one step forward and two steps back for transportation in South Florida. The governing board of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority voted last week to close the Tri-Rail Airport Station for several years to allow construction to continue on the Miami Intermodal Center, scheduled to open in 2013 with a new Tri-Rail station. 

Project engineers claim that keeping the service running would lead to cost overruns and delays in opening the Miami- Intermodal Center big parking garage  next to Miami International Airport. Users coming south from Broward and Palm Beach will have to take a shuttle from Hialeah station to MIA. No big deal to FDOT district secretary Gus Pego, who said users already have to take a shuttle from the existing station to the airport (which is a bit misleading - a 5 minute shuttle cannot be compared to a 20-30 minute bus ride through Hialeah.) As one commenter on the Miami Herald put it, “Another decision about public service made by those who don’t use the service.”

Ironically, the Miami-Dade contingent of SFRTA is made of many of the same anti-transit leaders on the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority Board. How can we expect these folks to advocate for the best transit options, when they are simultaneously planning to undermine Tri-Rail and the US1 busway with an elevated expressway (not to mention their stated opposition to the regional service on the South Florida East Coast Railway Corridor at recent MPO meetings). Yet another instance of the fox guarding the hen-house in Miami.

The transportation planning and governance model in our region must change. Our leaders have established a highway monopoly where they can set the price for the service at whatever level they choose, while giving people a false choice between transportation options. In referendum happy Miami-Dade County - is it time for us to take control of our transportation future?  I think so.

16 Responses to Tri-Rail Service to Miami International Airport to be Discontinued for Several Years

  1. Gus Pego Must Go says:

    Gus Pego needs to be canned. This guy has probably never used public transit in his life. It is a slap in the face to all District 6 residents if this idiot remains as secretary of our district. We need a visionary FDOT secretary whose sole focus isn’t moving automobiles.


  2. Anonymous says:

    This is ridiculous.
    If they are making repairs or construction to the Palmetto, or I-95 they do not close it because of cost overruns. Tri-rail should be treated the same way. There should be a way to keep service running while being able to do construction.
    Transportation officials need to know that there are people whose employment and daily life depends on public transporation…


  3. Rog in Miami Gardens says:

    This is ridiculous! It is quite clear, as the poster from Miami Herald stated, that these people do not use public transit. In South Florida, perception is everything, and if would-be transit users perceive that it would be too cumbersome to commute to MIA via mass transit, they may not be inclined to use the service even when the MIC is complete.


  4. TransitDave says:

    We need a planes, trains & ships reform measure, which would create authorities for the port, airport, and transit agencies, and take them out of the clutches of the county commission…..And while we’re at it, we need to re-organize the county government, replacing the county manager with an inspector general, whose job it is to insure that ALL county elected officials and agencies are managed ethically and free of conflicts of interest…..Finally, the county commission itself should be changed to have at least 3 at large districts, real salaries for the commissioners, and tough rules against conflicts of interest, bans on family members being hired, etc, with stiff penalties and oversight by the inspector general……Last, and far from least, term limits for every elected office………..I know I’ve said a mouthful, but take it from me, Transit will go nowhere until these reforms are made………….PS reform of the PTP probably should be listed, but I’ve said enough………TD


  5. Millie says:

    Could be difficult to find qualified persons on that issue, however you seem like you no doubt know exactly what you are speaking about! Appreciate it


  6. Anonymous says:

    Sorry.. it’s just not worth the $13 million extra (as quoted in the article) it would cost to maintain service for only 700 daily riders. Besides that the Hialeah Market station is just north of 36th Street, definitely not a 20-30 minute bus ride. Finishing the MIC faster is more than worth some temporary inconvenience.


  7. kevin says:

    I’m sorry, WHAT?! How can they close the train station at MIA. Do they not realize the thousands of people that use this station. It’s one of the most used on the line. Are they insane? This is such a disappointment…


  8. Pissed off says:

    ^^ Sounds like anonymous above doesn’t take Tri-Rail. “some temporary inconvenience”, I’m sorry, but a couple years is not just a “temporary inconvenience”, it’s a huge inconvenience. I take the train from Broward to MIA, and transfer from there onto a series of buses to FIU.

    Closing the MIA station for the Hialeah station is not just a “temporary inconvenience” for me, it makes my life much more difficult. It involves more time, more transfers, and more buses. It already takes two hours to get from Broward to FIU, because Miami does not have any adequate transit serving FIU. But that’s another story.

    Tri-Rail needs to keep the MIA Station open.


  9. Mike Moskos says:

    A little off topic, but sadly Tri-Rail built its Hialeah station right next to the old Seacoast Railway station, a rather ornate building. The Seacoast station (now owned by the City of Hialeah) sits behind an ugly chain link fence, its open pavilion unused while passengers at the station get a paltry set of benches, precious little protection from sun/rain and few trees. Oh, and Tri-Rail’s big spending priority for the improving the station during the period the MIA station will be closed? Improving the Hialeah station’s parking lot. Of course, to be fair, they are added temporary restrooms, some benches, and a customer service rep. But you can bet the parking lot will be the priority (’cause Tri-Rail is fixated on its park and ride model).


  10. Carlos Perea says:

    Personally, I feel that the closure is being blown out of proportion. It’s only temporary, and will facilitate the construction of a new (and arguably Miami’s only) intermodal transit hub.

    Those who connect to buses at Miami Airport will not be affected, as the buses that served the station (37, 42, 57, J, 238) will simply be rerouted to Hialeah Market for the duration of the closure. Besides, Hialeah Market WAS the original Miami Airport station until 1998, and it’s at most only 15 minutes from the airport terminal.

    Despite the name, Hialeah Market is located at the very southeast corner of Hialeah (as I believe it was meant to serve both Hialeah and Miami Springs when the original Hialeah station was built in the 1920s), free of the traffic nightmares that commonly plague the city.


  11. its not that serious.... says:

    I think some of you just like to complain for the fun of it…I take Tri-Rail to different places in Miami and believe me you can adjust..

    If the station wasn’t closed at MIA then they would have to use one track during construction times (which is basically the same times Tri-Rail operates service). Using one track would have the train sitting idle at Hialeah Market station anyway waiting for the opposite train to pass. For all of you who “claim” to know transit knows that Hialeah Market Station is damn near a six minute ride up 42nd ave and 36th street from the current Tri Rail station.

    The 133 Tri rail/airport shuttle will be re routed to the station, but the poster above me is incorrect. MDT will NOT be rerouting routes J, 42, 150, 57, 37 and 238 to Hialeah during the construction period.


  12. JM Palacios says:

    Funny how easy it is to target Gus Pego when it was the majority of SFRTA’s board making this decision, not just him.

    While Tri-Rail service will be discontinued for some time, it’s worth noting that the Metrorail extension will be complete in April 2012. So in a year another option to get to MIA will be transferring to Metrorail at the Tri-Rail/Metrorail transfer station.

    Oh, and Google Maps shows a driving time of 10 minutes from Hialeah Market vs. 4 minutes from Miami Airport Station. Where does that turn into 30 minutes?

    Some commenters on the Herald article are saying they won’t fly out of MIA now. As a basis of comparison, the shuttle from the Fort Lauderdale Airport Station to FLL takes 10-12 minutes to get from the station to the terminal. PBI doesn’t even have a shuttle, you are stuck using Palm Tran to get there.


  13. Tony Garcia says:

    JM, Carlos, and ‘its not that serious’,

    The point is not to attack Gus Pego - and I didn’t, but he happens to be someone with authority in the matter. Also, the bus ride (as the crow flies) might be six minutes, but the ride to/from Hialeah Station and the airport is not six minutes. I have been caught in some fierce Hialeah traffic around the airport and it can be pretty inconvenient.

    More to the point, yet another transit option is being removed (even if it is temporarily). The points about Earlington heights are factually correct - but we are talking about direct and convenient connections to the airport. The fact is that by adding extra connections and time to the trip it becomes less convenient - and less people will ride because of it. ‘How serious’ it is really depends on whether you use the service now and what alternative you have.


  14. JM Palacios says:

    Tony, to clarify I was referring to the first commenter who attacked Pego. You did not.

    I don’t get down that way so I’ll defer to you on traffic. But my point is that Hialeah Market Station is as close or closer to MIA than the other airports and their stations.


  15. Carol Moog says:

    We’re traveling from Ft Lauderdale int’l airport to MIA at midnite on 3/30; is a train running to take us there or not? thanks


  16. Craig Chester says:

    Carol, we’re not associated with any particular transit service. You can check the schedule for Tri-rail at this link.


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