I arrived at 5 pm on a Sunday at MIA and decided to take the train home in Coconut Grove. This should be a simple proposition. The system is new, so one expects it to be clean. No bonus points for that. Connecting the airport with the rest of the area is a no-brainer and should have been a long time ago.

I tried tracking the train over MDT’s app, but got nowhere (it’s generally good). No exact times to be found. I proceeded to the station at any rate. Once there it would have been good to have a central information point that listed the different departure times for buses and trains. No information to be found.

I decided to check the train platform and paid to do so without knowing when a train would depart. No information to be found

I tried the station personnel of which there were plenty and they had nothing to do. No information to be found and no willingness to seek it.

At some point a train came. No one knew when it would leave.

I like public transit. I grew up with it. But public transit needs to make it easy for users and here is where MDT fails. You could give people information about the available options so that they can choose.  But MDT doesn’t. Transportation systems in “world class cities” (which so many Miami politicians like to compare themselves to) do.

If this is how Miami greets it’s visitors then Miami fails epicly.

PS: To top it all off, while waiting on the train the public announcements were nonsensical and the most unprofessional I have ever witnessed anywhere in the world. It was as if the person on the microphone had a conversation with another person. Visitors on the train rolled their eyes. Locals just assume that this is how we roll in Miami.


17 Responses to How Miami Greets Its Visitors (and Locals)

  1. CB says:

    Best news in a long time for public transportation in Miami: Car2Go will have lots at the airport! (actually at the Intermodal Center, but close enough).

    Hopefully that will help with some of the lunacy that is public trans in Miami.


  2. Marc says:

    Not surprising.


  3. Brooke says:

    Here in New Orleans, transit activists lobbied the transit authority to release their transit tracking data to the public. An entrepreneur then used the data to create a phone app called TransitHub.


  4. Fernando says:

    I’ve taken the train from MIA to Downtown about 5 times and never had the issues you just mention. I understand all the above should ALWAYS be working but to write an article like this after an 0-for-1 makes no sense. You make it seem like the MIA-city experience is worthless and third world country like and for me it’s always been 5/5. I understand you were frustrated and I feel the same way about the Miami Trolley but I didn’t go bashing the system after one time that it took almost 30 minutes for a trolley to come by. Instead, I tried it out a few more times and noticed it was more of a one-time thing than how it normally operates.


  5. Matthew Toro says:

    I’ve ridden the Orange Line to MIA Station over a dozen times, both for transportation to the airport to catch a flight, as well as out of simple curiosity and leisure. I’ve always found the experience quite impressive and pleasurable.

    I would argue that MIA station is one of the truly world-class amenities Miami has on offer.


  6. ani says:

    It’s unfortunate that you didn’t see a train schedule. Here it is for future reference: http://www.miamidade.gov/transit/rail_schedules_entire.asp

    And, at least we now have a train that goes to the airport, which is a huge improvement. #onwardandupdard


  7. ani says:

    also, *we* can be the leadership miami needs, come join us as we organize for better transit in our magic city: tracmiami.org


  8. miamiman says:

    Arrived today at MIA my sister and I from an overseas b-trip. Took the metromover to the train; a local transit worker help us purchase a card for my sister and load my transit card with more $$$. On the platform, times were clearly visible for the next three departing trains. Ours left five (5) minutes later. And in twenty minutes later we were picked up at the c-grove station. No hassles; no stress; no drama.


  9. Mike Moskos says:

    MDT’s overall experience is miles ahead of Tri Rail or Broward’s. But, yes the LED screens at the MIC should have been out of stand by mode by now.
    -Tri Rail runs shuttles around its stations. But you won’t find a map or schedule for them on their kiosks; much less real time data on a LED screen.
    -Broward’s buses are super crowded, dirty, etc., all of which can be attributed that county’s unwillingness to fund transit. But, you’d think that they’d at least remove the caked on filth in the men’s room on their main bus station downtown: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45906145@N07/sets/72157633483699276/


  10. Mo says:

    This guy Markus just wrote an article that he felt could get some attention as bashing normally does. Congrats for that. As for content, epic failure. Get some more data points dude because yours is not world class commentary. I have never had the problems you mentioned except for one piece that was true - the Metrorail has the most unprofessional, ignorant sounding announcements and voices ever heard anywhere. You cannot convince me non of the management hears it and does not think a change is required - are they deaf?


  11. Robertson Adams says:

    I think Marc’s experience on a Sunday night matches my experience at that time too (we arrived at 8pm Sunday), riding from MIA at that time is the worst. Weekdays it’s much better.

    The MDT transit app is handy though burdened with a poor interface. I ride the rail daily and it’s usually good within 1 or 2 seconds, except when there’s a breakdown and then it fails to reflect that fact, at all. For 30 minutes it will pretend trains are running when they’re not.

    Thanks for sharing your experience on MDT, I bet it’s at least a little better next time around.


  12. Juan Carlos says:

    Agreed with others here. You can’t be so quick to criticize after only one ride to MIA. My experiences with the Orange Line have always been great. Trains come frequently, no wait time, and really clean station at MIA.

    That’s not to say that MDT is perfect, it most certainly isn’t, but you write as if the Orange Line service were horrible and it’s not by any means.


  13. CG says:

    Agreed with the above posters. If we’re going to complain about ANYTHING MDT-related, I would say the Orange Line/Metrorail trip to-and-from MIA is the last thing on my list. Have always enjoyed my experiences.


  14. JJJ says:

    To those above…most tourists get only one impression. Its the airport after all. Perfectly valid criticism.


  15. Mike Moskos says:

    Actually, what’s most surprised of all is how few people take the train to the airport/MIC. The train is pretty empty on its leg to the airport. And the station is built for LOTS of traffic; everything is oversized (but try to find a restroom or water fountain-not so easy).

    My understanding is that Metrorail didn’t originally go to the airport because the airport authority-reliant on parking fees for a big portion of its revenue-resisted it way back when. Looks like that was a completely unfounded concern.


  16. hello miami says:

    Some nice suggestions here, however for those who ride it the MIC, its really worst than you ever thought. Here are just a few of the MAJOR DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION FAILURES OF THE MIC:
    1)When its raining there is NO way to get to the bus stops from the elevator without getting wet. Pic avail.
    2)When its raining the escalator that goes up to the Metro/airport is open to the air and so you are absolutely drenched in wind driven rain with no way to avoid the deluge except to run up the escalator into the worst of the wind driven rain and building run-offs. (poor open air design flaws-pic avail).
    3)The time tables for each bus were disabled. Because I was told that bus riders were getting up set at the number of delayed buses. They now all read some generic message “welcome to Miami.” (pics avail) Moreover, the bus times over the last year have been getting worst and yet the route managers are avoiding reporting missing buses and late arrivals. (this I have witnessed many times with many supervisors going on break to avoid documenting lates.)
    4)There is no way to get from the stairs to the bus stops without getting wet.
    5)There are several roof leaks, look for cones placed around the bus area.
    6)The benches at the very end of the bus station get wet because the roof was not designed to cover them properly and so people for these buses are unable to sit down while waiting for they (often late) buses, most notably the often late Route 42.
    7)Unlike the easy bus access from inside of MIA arrivals the shuttle has turned access to the Metro bus into a long 20 min time consuming ride from MIA to the 3rd floor, to the bridge to the shuttle, to the long shuttle ride, to the dangerous and wet walk to the Metro Bus area.
    These are just SOME of the serious design and construction failures that this structure suffers.

    The MIC is a fiasco for bus riders. Try it on a rainy day!


  17. Dan says:

    nice article ;)


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