Some love it, some hate it--it’s Miami’s biggest form of public transportation, crowded in the morning rush hours with people dependent on this train system. Here’s my assessment of a random morning Metrorail ride:
I boarded the train at 9:30 and was impressed with its cleanliness. There were only a few newspapers left on benches, and someone had obviously worked to erase the graffiti on the windows, though traces of it were left behind. The train was well air-conditioned, and not very full in the later part of the morning. Then an announcement came on: “This train is out of service. Please exit the train.” The few disgruntled travelers got off the train, resuming their wait on the benches on the train platform. I had barely missed the 9:30 train, and would wait until 9:45 for the next train. Earlier in the morning, the wait time is 5-10 minutes on average, but the wait becomes longer as the morning progresses.
As I waited for the next train, I noticed a schedule of train arrival times posted on the platform. I knew train alerts were available through cellular phones (for info on this, click here), but the schedule was handy. A screen with an estimated time for the next train’s arrival would have been nice, because the listing is not always accurate, but the train times are fairly regular.
The signs on the platform were not translated into Spanish, despite the train’s heavy use by Spanish-speaking people. The sign in English that said “No smoking/No eating, or drinking/No loud music” was largely ignored, as evidenced by the token teenager blasting music through a cell phone.
Ten minutes later, the platform was getting busier and the out-of-service train was still the only one on the platform. By 9:42, the next train had arrived. I remembered, once on board, that there was free wi-fi on the trains, a nice new feature for the rail.
Although the train wasn’t very busy when it finally left at 9:47, during the busy morning hours, the trains could use better hanging handles for those who need to stand when the train is full. The stops were nice and quick, and the train stayed on schedule.
When it began raining lightly, I found my book getting damp from a crack in the window above my seat. I tried to close the window, but it was stuck. However, the train wasn’t full, and I switched to another seat.
We arrived at Government Center at 10:05. For the scatterbrained teenager or busy adult, the intercom reminding you to look for your belongings before exiting the train was nice.
Overall, it’s hard to find a complaint about the Metrorail. It does its job well in a city that desperately needs to make a shift towards using public transportation more heavily. Keep a lookout for the new routes being planned for the Metrorail.
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