MIAMI – The organizers of the Ultra Music Festival are committed to increasing the shuttle bus service on Saturday after thousands of music lovers were forced to travel miles to leave the Virginia Key venue on the opening night of the festival.
Ray Martinez, Ultra's chief of security, said at the Saturday press conference that the Rickenbacker Causeway connecting Virginia Key to the mainland of Miami will have its own lane for bus traffic at 9:30 am. On the first night of Ultra, the buses were limited to two lanes and left at 1
"We know we need to make adjustments and improve," said Martinez.
Ultra said in a statement on Twitter that the problems of leaving the festival were unacceptable.
"We look forward to providing you with a significantly improved transporter experience today and at the weekend, and we appreciate the opportunity to win back your trust," the statement says.
However, Martinez tried to downplay the transport problems, saying it was "a nice night" to cross the bridge.
It took frustrated hours for the island to leave the island, and some did not return to their hotels until 4am. They called the festival "Nightmarish" and "sh-t show".
This year, the annual electronic music festival from Downtown Miami to Virginia Key raised the concerns of local residents, who were worried about the traffic issues with thousands of people all leaving the barrier island at the same time. The festival usually attracts more than 150,000 people every year.
In response, the city prevented carpools like Uber and Lyft from picking up people leaving the festival to manage traffic. Instead, festival visitors were directed to use shuttle buses to return to the mainland.
However, when the festival ended on early Saturday, the number of departing persons far exceeded the capacity of the buses. The humans decided to walk about 3 miles over the Rickenbacker Causeway and stop traffic on the bridge.
Uber published a statement on Saturday explaining the traffic rules to concertgoers – many of whom did not know that they could not be picked up by carpoolers.
"Thousands of concertgoers attempting to find their Uber in crowded, narrow and unrecognizable areas of the Rickenbacker Causeway pose a significant security risk. That's why we've worked with law enforcement and restricted the pickup of Virginia Key," said Javier Correoso, a spokesman for Uber. "We continue to work with event organizers to complement the festival's transport operations."
Correoso said the rules prohibiting pick-up for carpools will remain in effect on Saturday and Sunday, as opposed to reports in social media.
Esteban Bovo Jr., Commissioner of the Miami-Dade District, described the collapse of transportation as inexcusable and "a negative spot for our entire community."
"Miami and the organizers of the Ultra Music Festival must implement a transportation plan that guides pedestrians safely, reduces Virginia Key's heavy traffic and prevents risks that could affect the safety and well-being of festivalgoers," said Bovo Transportation and Finance Committee for Miami-Dade County.
Copyright 2019 by WPLG Local10.com – All Rights Reserved.