Hike and a train, or stuffing luggage on a shuttle: rental car center trains at MIA and elsewhere

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The Rapid Traveler arrived in Miami last night to see the disappearance of rental car center shuttles at the arrivals level. Signs pointed to elevators for the MIA Mover up on little-traveled level 3. MIA’s level 3 has a network of moving walkways that travelers in the know use to quickly move from terminal to terminal, critical on tight connections across airlines.

MIA is one of those exasperating airports where most terminals are in separate security areas, so switching airlines often means exiting one terminal, a long walk across the frequently crowded departures level, and re-entry through security. Even airline alliance partners can be far apart, such as OneWorld members American in terminal D and Lan in terminal J. MIA has done much to improve its aesthetics but nothing to address the security hassle.

September 9 the MIA Mover train to the rental car center opened. It is sparkling, but much like Atlanta and other airports with such trains, it can be a long, long walk to reach the train. The moving walkways help, but in several sections are extemely narrow, comically displaying signs for ‘walk’ and ‘stand’ though nearly impossible to pass people with luggage.

So, which is better? The train is straightforward, easy to load luggage, and hopefully more environmentally friendly than shuttles, but feels like a 10k charity walk to reach. The shuttles were hard to load luggage, drivers always had their hands out for tips, but were steps away from every baggage claim exit, and in low traffic periods were faster than the train if including walk time.

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Donald Mamula
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Donald Mamula

When traveling with the wife, the rule is that I take the trains or shuttle to get the car, then return it to meet her and the luggage at the curb. Far less hassle than trying to schlep the bags through the terminal or onto the bus. Ditto on the return…I drop her and the bags, then return the car.

Jamison
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i love the mia mover