Metrorail Chaos on Morning Commute


Anyone remember that old Neil Rogers bit about the bridge tender? Where Neil goes off on an dim-witted caller about how five thousand cars have to wait for one schmuck on a boat?

Well, many staffers and lawyers were paralyzed on the morning commute this morning when a teenager suddenly jumped into the path of an oncoming Metrorail car:

The incident happened as the northbound train approached the Douglas station at 7:23 a.m., said Manny Palmeiro, a spokesman for the transit system.

By noon, all train service was back to normal.

Witnesses at the Douglas station said the man was standing on a platform filled with commuters, including a large contingent of children who were accompanying their parents as part of “Take Your Child to Work Day.”

The man did not appear distressed or agitated. He was normally dressed, witnesses told authorities. As the train approached, he peeked out over the tracks.

”And then he did the unthinkable,” said Miami Fire Rescue spokesman Ignatius Carroll. “He jumped.”

Power was shut down before firefighters could remove the man.

They placed him in a basket, slid him several cars forward, treated him on the scene and then took him to the hospital.

For hours, the rail system was shut down between the University and Brickell stations as Miami-Dade police and firefighters worked the scene.

Commuters were diverted onto a fleet of buses that rolled north toward Brickell for the rest of the train trip downtown.

Frustration mounted as people rushed to fill the shuttle buses.

”It’s first come, first serve,” said Joallen Boone, who was with five children, ages 9 to 15, that she was taking to her job at the Miami-Dade courthouse. “I’m a little frustrated but glad the man is alive.”

Passengers on the train said they did not know what the disturbance was but were evacuated.

”We all felt a bump. Everybody looked at each other. It was standing-room only. It felt like a speed bump,” said Gary Cocharan, 48, who was on his way to his job with the University of Miami’s public safety office. “The conductor never told us anything.”

The incident severely disrupted the morning commute for Metrorail passengers heading into downtown from Kendall and Coral Gables.

It also added extra vehicle traffic to northbound U.S. 1 as Miami-Dade Transit was forced to run shuttle buses for northbound passengers from the University station to Brickell.

With all the children heading downtown with their parents, this one idiot managed to frighten, disrupt and inconvenience thousands. Needless to say the City responded brilliantly, as teams of highly-trained emergency personnel quickly moved into action, shuttling commuters downtown in an effortless display of crisis management (…slowly wakes up from dream….)