I was originally supposed to arrive at the Fort Lauderdale Airport (since it was way cheaper than flying into Miami), but due to broken down plane ended up in Miami instead. While there was signs point to buses, there were few signs pointing to the Metro-Dade bus area but I finally found a map and then headed to the bus stop.
Metro-Dade has a new visitor pass that is good for 7 days at $19.00. Even though I would only be here 5, it still was cheaper than paying fares all the time and the airport stop was supposed to sell them. The only problem no one was manning the counter. However, at this point I planned to ride the Tri-Rail commuter line anyway so I purchased a ticket for it and waited for one of their shuttles to the nearby station.
The shuttle (which is operated by Metro-Dade transit with one of their buses) was due at 8:40am but did not show up until 8:55am which meant by the time we got over to the station tit was 9:05am and we missed the 9:00am train so had to wait until 10:00am.
There was a train sitting there but it was out of service so but another train showed up at 9:30am but we were not allowed to board until 9:45am. At this time another train pulled in using experimental DMU units from Colorado Rail Car but they were out of service and heading to the maintenance yard so I would get a chance to ride them.
The Tri-Rail commuter line runs 75 miles from near the Miami Airport to the Magnolia Station in West Palm Beach. They use the same Bombardier Rail cars that UTA will use but are more basically appointed. One nice feature since the line serves three airports is that there is luggage racks in all the cars. However, the cars are equipped with cheap vinyl seats and have no carpeting unlike Metrolink in Los Angeles. Metrolink is far superior to Tri-Rail when it comes to comfort.
It poured rain off and on all day from the edge of Tropical Storm Noel.
Here is our train after we reached the end of the line at Magnolia Park and were waiting to return.
Another view of our train at the Miami Airport Station:
Our return train was packed including flight crews heading to the airport and others. I got off the train and took the same shuttle bus back to the airport and it was standing room only. You could not fit one more person on the bus.
When I got back to the airport station there was still no one manning the counter so I called the bus company to find out were I else I could by a visitor's pass since they are not available everywhere but was very rudely told that they person at the Metro-Dade counter could sell one. I told the person there was no one there and she said, your wrong there is someone working there and hung up.
A route 7 bus pulled in and I knew that it was the only bus route that would get me downtown where my hotel was so I jumped on it and was able to use my Tri-Rail ticket for fare. The driver of this bus was about the closest I could call to being friendly I encountered at Metro-Dade.
The bus route went through some questionable neighborhoods but and then pulled over and every got off. I could tell we were downtown since I saw the Metro-Mover but there was no sign to indicate were we are.
Here is a photo of the route 7 bus I took and the rain.
To the right of my picture I saw that there was a station about three blocks down so I started walking toward it. Finally I got up to it and saw this was the Government Center station which is the main downtown bus, metrorail, and metromover transfer station.
It started pouring rain again but I was able to walk under the Metromover tracks and not get too wet.
I took an escalator up to the second level were and went over to the metro mover station. The first one to pull in was heading to the Brickell district but a couple of minutes later the car I needed the Omni loop came it.
However, after a few stations we came to a stop and there was a train stuck in front of us. After about 5 minutes a guard showed up and walked down to the car opened the door and got in. After a few minutes it finally moved and after another 5 minutes we started moving again.
Here are a couple of photos out of our car to the stuck car.
I finally made it to the Omni Metromover station which is next to a major bus station and just a half a block to my hotel. Normally it would be an easy walk but the dead Omni mall is being turned into offices so I had to walk across the street walk a block north, cross the street again to get to the Radisson Hotel.
Well this was day one, how will the other days work out? How will Miami compare to UTA? Stayed tuned to find out...