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#PublicTransitDay: From Kendall To Downtown


In Miami-Dade County, there are more than two million registered vehicles. Motorists will cover roughly 30,000 miles in a day countywide. But those numbers are meaningless if you're stuck on I-95 or any of the connected thoroughfares throughout South Florida. Basically, there just seems to be more and more cars on the road every year.

What if you could take public transit to work and back? Would you? Today (Friday, Dec. 9) is Public Transit Day. It's an idea that came from a public campaign called '100 Great Ideas on Transit' organized by Radical Partners and the Urban Impact Lab. 

Read more: The First Mile, The Last Mile And Other Public Transit Day Adventures

Today, I will take public transit from my home in Kendall to the WLRN studios downtown next to the school district offices. The journey takes me from the MetroBus to MetroRail to the MetroMover. How long will it take? I plan to find out as well as talk to people who use public transit every day to find out the challenges, complaints, and overall opinions about using public transportation in Miami-Dade. I'll share some of their stories. I hope to hear from you on your journey.

7:00 a.m. beginning of the day

This was recorded walking from my home to the bus stop. I actually arrived at the bus stop about a quarter till seven. I boarded the 288, confident that it was the right bus. I eventually learned from a couple of the passengers who were standing there with me that either the 88 or the 288 would get you to the MetroRail station. One was an express bus.

The bus ride was pretty smooth. Traffic on Kendall Drive at that time wasn't its typical monstrous self. Most of what I heard from riders was that MetroBus was actually fairly reliable. One passenger told me that she was a bit frustrated with the buses' reliability, though she preferred riding public transit to driving her car. 

Read more: Planning Your Morning Commute? Imagine Planning It For All Of Miami-Dade

Another passenger told me she owned a car but she took public transit about once or twice a week. She said because she uses the Progressive Snapshot (an insurance company devices that allows drivers to qualify for insurance discounts), it saves her money to drive less and the bus system gives her more freedom. But she did say she would like newer buses.

7:40 a.m. Arrival to Dadeland Metrorail Station

Smooth ride so far.

  Well, luckily I did catch the right bus,sorry @steikat360. I will say, you do see Miami from a very different perspective when you don't have to drive. #metrorail #rail #transit #publictransit #bus #publictransportation #miami #southflorida #publicradio A video posted by WLRN Public Media (@wlrn) on Dec 9, 2016 at 8:36am EST

I hung around the MetroRail station for a little while, and received mixed reviews. I heard from one person that the trains were pretty good about arriving when they promise to, though there was a power outage recently (which I still haven't gotten confirmation on). I spent about a half hour at the station talking with folks and for the most part the trains were running as scheduled.

8:35 a.m. Connection to MetroMover

Enjoying the view while waiting for my connection to the Metromover,

Up to this point I had no problems getting on the right bus or rail, that was until I had to find the right MetroMover. I know, if you're used to riding the Mover, you're probably laughing at the fact that anyone could get confused picking the right train. It was no big deal since the view was worth it. Just like the bus, and the MetroRail, the Mover was not full, or even really packed.

9:15 a.m. Arrival to Downtown Studios

Here is the end of the journey for this morning. The estimated time it took for me to get from my apartment to the downtown studios was roughly 70-75 minutes. Not bad. I'm not sure how much work I'd get done if I had not been posting on social media the whole way through and talking to passengers. I congratulate the folks behind Public Transit Day. I wonder how many people actually took their pledge and left the car at home for a day. I would certainly do it if I could. But I need to be at the Doral studios around 4 a.m. every day and there is no rail from Kendall to Doral, and the buses don't run early enough. So, for now, I live behind the wheel of a car.

Luis Hernandez is an award-winning journalist and host whose career spans three decades in cities across the U.S. He’s the host of WLRN’s newest daily talk show, Sundial (Mon-Thu), and the news anchor every afternoon during All Things Considered.