Riding in Style from Kendall to Brickell: Adventures of a First Time Train Commuter
By: Tere Garcia
What if there was a solution to the morning commute?
Well there is, and after 6 years of commuting from Kendall to Brickell and being extremely familiar with Kendall Drive and 104th Street, I decided to give something new a try and join the rest of the train commuters.
Monday, January 6th, 2020 – Woke up, resolutions on my mind, year of change, new year new me and somehow everything seemed the same. Same routine in the morning, same clothes, same car and same drive. As I drove in the dreaded commute, I thought to myself, “If this is a year of change, why am I not taking advantage of the train to maximize my time?”. Many of my coworkers that live in the area have been taking it for years and have encouraged me to do so. That morning as I got into work, I was convinced that I was going to join the train crew! During my lunch hour, a coworker and long-time commuter walked me to the Brickell Station where I bought my very first EASY ticket week pass and I was ready to go! I also downloaded Miami’s new transit app, Velocia, which rewards commuters for using public transportation, and if you know me, you know I am ALL ABOUT perks! For some reason everything seemed way easier than what I had envisioned.
Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 – A morning like no other, rushing to get ready, trying to prep my lunch, feed the baby and run out the door by 7:20am. For those that are familiar and know the area, you know that leaving on time makes quite the difference. Even though the day before I was determined that I was ready to ride the train, I decided I would drive in. That is until my GPS notified me that I would arrive to work 1 hour and 30 minutes later! To top it off, the GPS rerouted me to Dadeland to take US1 instead of my regular Turnpike North commute. Technological glitch? Fate, perhaps?
So, there it was: the huge, concrete and imposing Metro Parking building, I held my breath and drove in. I parked, all while having no idea what I was doing and followed the crowds, acting like I knew where I was going, and took the elevator down to the first floor. Up one flight of stairs (which added to my daily step quota) and forty seconds later, I watched uncertainly as it approached, THE TRAIN. While it may seem silly to many, I did have real fear of riding the train, aka Siderodromophobia or train phobia, due to the lack of control. But I was determined to face my fears. Afterall, it’s New year new me, right?
Once the doors opened, I took a seat by the window and gazed at the motionless cars on US1. Suddenly, I realized I now had 20 extra minutes all to myself in the morning and the perfect excuse to finally incorporate some of my new year’s resolutions. These included catching up on the novel I’ve been trying to finish for weeks and listening in on my favorite podcast, “The Doctor’s Pharmacy with Mark Hyman M.D”. I ended my commute with a 2-minute mediation. Twenty minutes after stepping on the train, I had arrived at Brickell Station, relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the day! Five minutes later, I was sitting at my desk checking my phone when I noticed I had already taken 3,000 steps! More steps that I normally accrue in an entire day (don’t judge).
As a 34-year old new wife and mom, I’m still trying to figuring out the routine that works best for me now. Living in Kendall (which I love and is perfect for my family) and having commuted for years, I never would have thought I would be so excited about riding a train! But at that moment, knowing how much time I had saved by not driving in, as the doors opened at the station, I had the exact feeling of biting into a warm, gooey Knaus Berry Farm Cinnamon Roll (for those Miamians that are familiar with this)! A bit dramatic, perhaps but it felt like I had made it! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. That morning, I was overjoyed. I felt so proactive that I decided to share #MyAdvantageMiami and maybe convince others to join me on this experience! I might even convince others that there is #MoreToExplore and to come visit the growing South Dade area and give our culinary scene a try? Trust me, it is worth the ride!
About the Author:
Tere Garcia, 34-years old, recent mom of a baby boy, communications professional at the Miami-Dade Beacon Council. Lives in Kendall, works in Brickell and is a first time train commuter.