Author Topic: Call it Metrofail: How to waste 20 hours a week riding the rails in Miami  (Read 916 times)

thelakelander

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For Jorge Bebelagua and Yanisel Barrial, the workday begins at 6:45 a.m. when they begin the trek to their jobs from their house in Homestead. They typically get home 12 to 13 hours later, which means they spend at least 20 hours per week, some 1,000 hours per year, commuting.

Stephen McCloskey starts his journey in Kendall and works on Brickell Avenue.

Marcos Gazamanes travels from West Hialeah to downtown.

They all rely on Metrorail, the elevated rail line that was to be an extensive exoskeleton of public transport for greater Miami when it began running in 1984 but never grew beyond the initial longitudinal spine stage. They say “rely” has become an inaccurate, almost comical term. They all tolerate Metrorail. They survive it. They curse it.

Metrorail makes them late. It makes them sweat. It makes them irritable and tired, at a cost of $28 per week.

They are subjected to chronic delays on sardine-can trains. Aging, dirty cars break down frequently, like jury-rigged jalopies. Doors that won’t open or won’t close taunt them. Wheezing air conditioners betray them. At the stations, escalators and elevators and ticket kiosks don’t work for days. Along the 25-mile system that carries riders on 22 million trips per year, unreliability is the one consistent feature.

“The saying among commuters is that it rains more inside Metrorail cars than outside,” Bebelagua said as he and Barrial stepped gingerly aboard the train at Dadeland South at 8:05 a.m. Thursday. Rain had leaked through the windows and cracked ceiling, and the floor and seats were wet. He and Barrial then waited 10 minutes for the train to depart.

With each stop, the cars got more crowded. Elbows bumped, toes were stepped on.

“You’d have to be an Olympic gymnast or a Cirque du Soleil contortionist to avoid contact during rush hour,” McCloskey said. He was right next to two guys who started fighting after they knocked into each other last week. “This was a full-out UFC brawl, with women screaming.”

When he leaves his law firm between 6 and 7 p.m., the trains pulling in to Brickell station are full and he has to wait for the next one, or the one after that. There used to be six wagons per train. Now there’re only four.

“I’m scanning through the windows and passengers are looking at me like, ‘Don’t you dare squeeze on here,’” he said.

A recent breakdown caused McCloskey to miss a meeting, which he conducted over the phone from the train.

“Sorry, I was on Metrorail,” he explained when he got to the office, where his colleagues reacted with a combination of pity and disdain. “They looked at me like I was some sort of barbarian.”

Barrial said she’s surprised if her daily commute goes smoothly. Trains are supposed to run every four to seven minutes at peak times, but delays can be 20 minutes or more, which wreaks havoc with the last leg of her trip, on the notorious 249 circulator bus that is supposed to deliver her to Biscayne Bank on Bayshore Drive in Coconut Grove. She’s tapping on the transit system’s tracker app every morning and evening, trying to figure out where the elusive bus is and how long she’ll have to wait for it. Sometimes the drivers take breaks and duck into Walgreen’s at rush hour, leaving exasperated passengers in the lurch.

“I could write a book about the adventures every week,” Barrial said. “It’s shameful. We’re paying a lot in taxes and in fees for crappy service. You go to New York, Boston, Tokyo, Rome and they have efficient, clean systems. Why not here?”

Miami-Dade County promotes Metrorail with the slogan “Drive Less. Live More.” But riders who need the train say they die a little every day because of the wasted time. Gazamanes has been using Metrorail for 10 years. He said it has deteriorated markedly in 2017.

“It’s worse than ever,” he said. “It has a stigma: The attitude here is that public transit is for people who don’t drive nice cars, when the attitude should be that it is essential to quality of life. Should we describe it as third-world system? Actually, cities in developing countries have better transit than we do.”

Full article: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article178592976.html
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Tacachale

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Womp womp.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

Murder_me_Rachel

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Womp womp.

Super funny true story (edited way down for brevity): a friend of a friend was riding the metro rail with a large suitcase.  As she was trying to get it down the stairs, some guy saw how heavy and bulky it was and offered to help.  She took him up on the offer and, as soon as they were at the bottom of the steps, he punched her in the stomach and ran off with the suitcase, thinking it had valuable stuff in it.  It actually had the carcass of the dog she had been babysitting, which died, and, since she had no car, stuffing it in the suitcase and transporting that way was her only option.  That's what I think of when I think of the metro rail.

sanmarcomatt

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Womp womp.

Super funny true story (edited way down for brevity): a friend of a friend was riding the metro rail with a large suitcase.  As she was trying to get it down the stairs, some guy saw how heavy and bulky it was and offered to help.  She took him up on the offer and, as soon as they were at the bottom of the steps, he punched her in the stomach and ran off with the suitcase, thinking it had valuable stuff in it.  It actually had the carcass of the dog she had been babysitting, which died, and, since she had no car, stuffing it in the suitcase and transporting that way was her only option.  That's what I think of when I think of the metro rail.

By any chance, did the dog die from licking peanut butter off her body?

Non-RedNeck Westsider

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Super funny true story (edited way down for brevity): a friend of a friend was riding the metro rail with a large suitcase.  As she was trying to get it down the stairs, some guy saw how heavy and bulky it was and offered to help.  She took him up on the offer and, as soon as they were at the bottom of the steps, he punched her in the stomach and ran off with the suitcase, thinking it had valuable stuff in it.  It actually had the carcass of the dog she had been babysitting, which died, and, since she had no car, stuffing it in the suitcase and transporting that way was her only option.  That's what I think of when I think of the metro rail.

By any chance, did the dog die from licking peanut butter off her body?

If there's something you're trying to tell us, just let it out man.  No need to be subtle here.
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sanmarcomatt

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Super funny true story (edited way down for brevity): a friend of a friend was riding the metro rail with a large suitcase.  As she was trying to get it down the stairs, some guy saw how heavy and bulky it was and offered to help.  She took him up on the offer and, as soon as they were at the bottom of the steps, he punched her in the stomach and ran off with the suitcase, thinking it had valuable stuff in it.  It actually had the carcass of the dog she had been babysitting, which died, and, since she had no car, stuffing it in the suitcase and transporting that way was her only option.  That's what I think of when I think of the metro rail.

By any chance, did the dog die from licking peanut butter off her body?

If there's something you're trying to tell us, just let it out man.  No need to be subtle here.
Just curious if the same dog is responsible for different urban myths.

Tacachale

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^No, it was killed in the bathroom by the escaped mental patient who then hid under the bed and licked the victim's hand.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?