On 28 July 2012, Miami-Dade Transit inaugurated the new Orange Line. Although the new line only adds one additional station to the existing Miami Metrorail system, the Orange Line now brings double the amount of service to all stations south of Earlington Heights station. Stations north of Earlington Heights have some of the lowest ridership in heavy rail transit anywhere, while the stations south of this point regularly experience congestion, so this makes ridership sense.
The new MIA Metrorail station is part of the larger Miami Central Station project which has been ongoing for years now. By the end of 2013, the Florida Department of Transportation hopes to complete work on the entire project, which will (finally) bring all modes of transit under one roof. The new Central Station will have Amtrak, Tri-Rail, Metrorail, Metrobus, Greyhound and rental car access connected directly to Miami International Airport’s terminals. It’s about time. For a city so dependent on tourism, it’s surprising it’s taken this long, but we welcome it with open arms later rather than never.
The new MIA Metrorail station is anticipated to add about 7,500 new riders a day. Averaging about 65,000 riders a day as of mid-2012, this increase is significant. Of course, it will take months for the station to reach that rider count as it will take a while for Miamians and visitors to become aware of the new station. Let’s hope the actual ridership figures surpass the 7,500. July 2012 MDT ridership figures show the MIA station had an average daily ridership of 1,766 for the month’s last four days it was in operation. Let’s see what August’s ridership figures bring.
The new station has an architectural design that deviates from the rest of the system’s semi-Brutalist boxy, concrete style. The new station was airy, breezy, spacious and very clean. For a visitor to the city, this will be one of the first glimpses of our city they will experience, and I think this is an appropriate entryway.
My initial thought after seeing the staircases to exit the station was that the escalators and staircase were too narrow. Only time will tell, but if this station proves to be as popular and busy as we hope, we may have congestion at this exit point. It’s also worth pointing out that there’s an additional exit down to the ground floor level for those that are transferring to Metrobus. The stairs in this photo take you up to the main Central Station level to connect to the airport terminals (via the MIA Mover), the Rental Car Center and the future Amtrak and Tri-Rail platforms.
This is the platform to catch the MIA Mover people mover to the airport terminals from the Central Station. MIA Mover trains were frequent and came every 60 seconds or so.
This the station’s ground floor level to transfer to Metrobus. The waiting areas were shaded and cool which was nice. Signage was a bit weak here, however, as it was difficult to understand where each bus route stopped. You kind of have to walk around and look at each column. I hope this gets cleaned up so it’s easier to find your bus.
Let’s hope this line proves extremely successful and brings Metrorail expansions to FIU and beyond. One can only dream right?