By David Sutta

MIAMI (CBS4 I-TEAM) ― Miami’s Metromover moves eight million people a year around Downtown Miami. So when the system came to a crashing halt Tuesday many took notice. While Metromover has a fairly good track record, documents obtained by the CBS4 I-Team show it is a troubled, decaying system.

The 2009 Transit Development Plan spells it out: The system that runs the Metro-Mover has “reached its end-of-life cycle.” It goes on to say that “the software is also an antiquated system that needs to be replaced.”

The report shows the heart of the rail, the fiber optics in the track, are, “well past its useful life. A total of six stations will need to have fibers replaced.”

CBS4’s David Sutta asked Peter Cruz, a Metromover technician, what the fiber optic cable is used for. “It’s what runs information from one station to the next.” said Cruz.

Cruz told Sutta they’ve had rail problems for years.

“We had a big problem with rats in the system eating fiber optic years ago. And it’s an ongoing problem that we have to clean up.” he said. CBS4’s David Sutta asked if they are still dealing with rats?” “Of course; rats never go away,” he replied.

In addition to the rodents, parts of the rail are more than two decades old.

“This is one area where they have been treating transportation like a stepchild,” said Talib Nashid, President of the Transit Workers Union #291. “They don’t think we are important.”

The Transit Workers Union believes the Metromover is outdated and in dire need of an overhaul.

“If you have an old car you have to keep the maintenance up on it, and after awhile you have to change the car. You have to get a new car. That’s basically it.” said Nashid.

With funding cuts to transit, the union is hoping this accident will force the county to put money back in.

“When the union speaks, they say all we have is personal interest because all we are looking out for is our members. No. We are looking for the safety also,” Nashid told Sutta.

The CBS4 I-Team asked Miami-Dade for comment on our findings. They told Sutta they would get back to us Thursday.

With that said, nearly half of the Metromover cars have been replaced with new ones. Yesterday’s accident involved one of the newer models, which is telling experts Sutta spoke to that this is likely a rail wide problem and not a car issue.


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