Miami Metromover

Last winter brought me once again onto the Miami Metromover transit system. This time I took a video, link below.

The Metromover is a free people-mover type of transit system. It has 4.4 miles of track. It opened in 1986, and was expanded in 1994. It has 3 “loops” (actually one loop and two spurs that extend outward) and 21 stations in the urban core. Some of the stations connect directly to the Metrorail (subway) system. The Metromover carries about 32,000 passengers a day, or 9 million a year (the OTrain carries about 12,000 /day on a similar length of track).

The metromover is generally considered a success, unlike similar installations in Detroit and Jacksonville. The circular route, and frequent “tunnels” through buildings gives it a bit of a “fair ground ride” feeling.  The biggest drawback of a circular route is that by time a person climbs the stairs, waits for a train, and rides around the loop, it might have been just as fast to have stayed on the ground and walked. On the other hand, there were numerous couriers onboard on that January day…

Each rubber tired car holds about 90 persons. The day the film was made was a holiday so the early morning trains were rather empty. Watch the video here:

At the stations, it is possible to spot the remains of turnstyles from the original fare collection system. These were removed when it was discovered it cost more to collect than the 25c fare was worth.

At minute 3.50, the building with the very narrow windows is a ringer for the Las Vegas high rise jail, so this is likely the same function. Maybe a high rise jail would liven up downtown Ottawa — first the senate, then jail?

At minute 5 you can see the cruise ship port in the distance. Frequent plans to extend the people mover to the port haven’t yet been funded, but a giant “big dig” underground freeway is underway. A model for King Edward Avenue.

A minute 5.42, we go through the big red arch of a if-only-Watson-could-see-this very high rise.

At minute 6.30 there are some shots of the maintenance yards, a tow truck, and several types of rolling stock. The vehicles are rubber tired, electrically propelled, driverless.

I vaguely recall, but am not sure, that the Miami Metromover was a project of the Urban Development Transportation Corporation of Kingston, now Bombardier. In the long tradition of Ontario governments of fostering local businesses through import substitution (think Trillium Computer, designed by a committee to serve many needs…; think solar panels …)  the UTDC was designed to provide next-generation LRT for growing Ontario cities. Ottawa chose a busway instead. Some other cities, like Vancouver and Krung Thep *, bought the second generation “sky train” system.


* Krung Thep is the short form of Krungthep Mahanakhon Amorn Rattanakosin Mahintara Yudthaya Mahadilok Pohp Noparat Rajathanee Bureerom Udomrajniwes Mahasatarn Amorn Pimarn Avaltarnsatit Sakatattiya Visanukram Prasit, usually written as a single word of 152 letters and 64 syllables. It translates to “city of the angles” (like LA !) but for obscure reasons we call it Bangkok. It is the only city in Thailand, and yes it is the longest place name in the world.  And yes, they bought a Canadian transit system when we wouldn’t. I wonder what they named it…

2 thoughts on “Miami Metromover

  1. Hi Eric,
    “city of the angles” (like LA !)… i think you mean to say City of Angels?

    another great post!

  2. The name of the company escapes me but, I believe the Metromover is a french device with more conventional operating technology than the UTDC technology. If the name Mantra or Matra is familiar? Anyways it was a french armaments company that got into building transit technology. The same company created the VAL Light Metro System (know owned by Siemens). When only a few cities bought the Light Metro Technology (again similar to the UTDC technology, 7 customers in 35 + years) they branched into people mover systems at developments, airports and amusement parks.

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