Miami-Dade Transit has reversed plans to shut down Metromover every night this week and through the weekend.
About two hours after announcing that the trains would stop running, transit officials changed directions Monday evening after being questioned by the Miami Herald about the routine maintenance during the busy Art Week Miami stretch.
Metromover will close early at 9 p.m. only on Monday and Tuesday night of this week, said Irene Ferradaz, a spokeswoman for Miami-Dade Transit. The trains will resume regular schedule from 5 a.m. to midnight beginning on Wednesday morning, which is when VIPs will get their first look at Art Basel Miami Beach. (The art fair opens to the general public on Thursday afternoon.)
Free shuttle buses will roll along the Metromover routes to each station during the curtailed service, Ferradaz said.
Miami-Dade Transit tweeted out the change in policy: “Metromover will be running regular service hours this weekend. Enjoy @ArtBasel, everybody!’’
Initially, Miami-Dade Transit said Metromover had to shut down early because of routine maintenance.
“We need to make sure that it is safe and running smoothly,” Ferradaz had told the Miami Herald.
Although the repair work isn’t an emergency, Ferradaz had said the trains and tracks need maintenance.
The timing of the closure coincided with one of the busiest times of the year for South Florida. Thousands are expected to flock to Art Week Miami to attend art shows, visit galleries and watch performances in downtown Miami, Midtown and Miami Beach. Some events run late into the night.
The light-rail system loops around downtown Miami above the traffic and connects 21 stations from the Adrienne Arsht Center to the Brickell financial district.
Traffic has always been a concern for Miami Art Week. Transportation officials have said they have beefed up plans to funnel people through the crowded streets to get to and from events. Miami and Miami Beach have worked together to link the main sites with a trolley service.
Bob Goodman, the Florida representative for Art Basel Miami Beach, said Monday he was not aware of the Metromover shutdown, and planned to reach out to Miami-Dade County.
“We need all of the modes of transportation working together to move people around,” he said. “Hopefully the maintenance can be moved to next week.”