As I exited, I saw it: a sign directing me toward buses and trains! But for Gretzky's sake! The way was blocked by a table filled with cheeses and complicated-looking crackers. Heavily armored police were poorly hidden behind clusters of orange balloons. A Latin jazz band was setting up.

Near the turnstiles for the new train extension, a man leaned on his luggage cart. I asked him when the next train to South Beach was leaving. "It's not going to leave until one of these guys cuts the ribbon," he said.

Sure enough, we had stumbled upon Mayor Gimenez's Orange Line opening ceremony. At some point as Gimenez spoke, the man with the luggage cart gave up. "I'm just going to rent a car," he spat.

When the speeches wrapped and the first car finally arrived, I sneaked aboard. At last, to South Beach! I cozied up to the mayor for the inaugural voyage. The new train, he said, would "diversify our economy and bring more opportunity to the city."

The ride to Government Center downtown took 24 minutes 22 seconds without any stops — leading me to question whether the train can actually make it to Dadeland South in just over 30 minutes, as several transit workers claimed. The trip wasn't quite long enough to necessitate sleeper cars, but also wasn't faster than many buses running from Metrorail stations to the airport.

Mayor Gimenez told me that though he frequently rides the Metromover, he has never taken public transportation to South Beach. He estimated the trip would probably "take a long time."

We blew past platforms full of people (the inaugural train wasn't interested in stopping), and when we reached Government Center, the doors briefly opened and then shut before the train took us straight back to the airport. On the way, more would-be passengers threw their hands up in frustration as we rocketed past.

When the train stopped, we were right back where we'd started. Holy Mounties! We were no closer to South Beach after all. Gimenez acknowledged his frustration at my dilemma. "I'd love to connect downtown to denser areas," he said with an easy smile. "To Miami Beach, to Aventura. To go down the spine of Dade County."

After the mayor wandered off, John, a 15-year-old who attended the affair, was less impressed. "They should have built the train to the airport 30 years ago," he said. "This is nothing to be proud of."

As the ribbon-cutting crowd thinned out, a saint of a transit worker guided me off the platform and to the stairs leading to a new bus bay. There, two beautiful young women stood holding a map.

"I see you have a map," I said. "Do you know how to get to South Beach?"

"You take this bus," one of them said, looking lovelier by the second.

"How did you find your way to the bus?" I asked. "It's taken me hours."

An official had been there to direct them; if it weren't for him, they said, there was no way they would have ever found it. Soon, sure enough, a 150 bus glided into the station. A few minutes later, while cruising along roads that didn't take 30 years to build or cost half a billion dollars, we made a stop at the Earlington Heights Metrorail station. From there, we continued to the Beach. It was a pleasant trip, and the bus left me at 14th Street and Washington Avenue.

After a full day of traveling, I was eager to cool down the best way one can in South Beach: inside Mac's Club Deuce, where Olympic women's volleyball was on the box and the buybacks came fast and strong.

If I'd had an extra half-billion dollars in my pocket, I would have built a train line straight to the Deuce so everyone landing at MIA could know the cleansing joy I felt when that first 7 and 7 chilled my palm.

On second thought, if I'd had an extra half-billion dollars, I probably would have taken a cab.

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10 comments
C.O.Jones
C.O.Jones

Miami is a hick-town with electric lights, as anyone coming from any of any of the truly major, truly American cities can tell you. If not that, then it is might be called a medium sized, banana republic city, but never a great, or even viable city in  an American sense. If nothing else, Miami missed its opportunity to be... better, through its lack of real culture (not ethnic culture, that we have lots of...) and the apparent inability for is people to really grasp the idea of what it means to be a U.S. resident or citizen. I am appalled at the number of people I have heard on the street and on the train reviling the nationi that feeds them. But even greater than that, its the people who run it and don't run it more honestly. In Miami the powers that be seem to think that public transportation is a money making, for profit opereation, as opposed to a service to its residents and visitors. Thumbs down all the way Miami, you will never make the finals this way!!!

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

Looking for a fast, inexpensive way to get to Miami Beach and downtown Miami? Miami-Dade Transit’s Airport Flyer gets you to the beach in less than half an hour for just $2.35! The Airport Flyer runs every 30 minutes from 6 a.m. to 11p.m. daily and is tailor-made for travelers like you. Buses are equipped with luggage racks and comfortable seating with plenty of legroom so you can ride in style

 

The bus station at MIA is located on the Ground Level of Concourse , directly across from Customs. For more  information, call 3-1-1 or 305-468-5900, or log onto www.miamidade.gov/transit/mobile/ on your mobile device for access to more transit maps and schedules

itonks88
itonks88

lmao just take the freaking train to downtown and then a bus to south beach. The problem is not the metrorail but the metrobus. 30 mins? More like an hour waiting for a bus to get to a metrorail station.

r_burnett
r_burnett

OMG THIS IS THE BEST ARTICLE I have personally read in New Times in SO LONG and I love the paper - but I have been riding the buses (from the beach BTW) since 1993 and they have only gotten worse! Oh how I lament the loss of the K and T and the rerouted G and H.... they should make all city employees rely on public transportation which is a cruel indemnity upon the working classes in this town - half penny thieves!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HarryHanson
HarryHanson

It's funny he could have used his smart phone to find his way, but that would way too easy. Typical Miami News Times, always find the negative in everything.

 

Google maps: He could have used the tranist feature to find his way.

Or he could have used Dade County mobile site to seek info.

JasonI
JasonI

So you'd rather NOT have a rail-line to the airport?

 

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

     And to think if they had taken all those billions of dollars wasted on the Metro-Rail, Metro-Mover and the South Dade Bus lane and instead had just built more roads and highways how much better our commute would be......Oh well.   Cronyism and Social Engineering go hand in hand.

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

The Airport Flyer makes traveling to or from Miami International Airport fast, easy and convenient. For just $2.35 each way, passengers can ride in style aboard 40-foot buses equipped with luggage racks and comfortable seating.

 

The bus runs every 30 minutes and provides express service from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. The Airport Flyer travels between MIA and Miami Beach, making one stop at the Earlington Heights Metrorail station. Metrorail also connects you to many more destinations around Miami-Dade County.

 

 

Route 150 Miami Beach Airport Flyer

M.I.A./Earlington Heights Station, 41st Street, Alton Rd., Collins Ave., Lincoln Rd., Washington Ave

 

grantstern
grantstern

 @JasonI The whole point of this sarcasm is that Miami-Dade is hyping the Airport link as if they discovered sliced bread, but it's horrifically overdue and not linked to anywhere anyone actually wants to go.  Our mass transit system is overpriced and underserves our neighborhoods.

 
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