After changes, Ultra avoids transportation meltdown on night 2

Organizers added more buses, activities for festivalgoers

MIAMI – Day two of Ultra on Virginia Key largely avoided the transportation breakdowns that plagued the music festival's opening night.

After Ultra's opening night ended in with thousands of people walking for miles from the island to get back to downtown Miami, Ultra's chief of security, Ray Martinez, vowed there would be changes in the bus transportation.

Organizers designated one lane of the Rickenbacker Causeway for the bus service to transport the festivalgoers back to downtown Miami starting at 9:30 p.m. On the first night of Ultra, buses were used two lanes and started at 1 a.m. Ultra paid for more than 200 buses to ferry festivalgoers back to Miami.

"Bringing those busses in a little earlier was a big change in what we did. We also changed the traffic pattern from night one to night two and it worked significantly better," said Martinez. 

Ultra also added new activities such as "secret performances" and art installations after 2 a.m. to avoid everyone leaving at the same time. The three-day festival ends Sunday.

This year, the annual electronic music festival moved from downtown Miami to Virginia Key over the objections of local residents, who worried about traffic problems with thousands of people all leaving the barrier island around the same time. The festival typically draws more than 150,000 people each year.

Kiara Delva, a spokeswoman for the Miami Police Department, said the city has developed a new traffic plan for remaining days of Ultra.

"There are enough buses and methods of transportation to get everyone off of the island safely. We're asking everyone to exercise patience during this time," Delva said.

The heavy volume of visitors and residents meant a long commute at times, but even coming out of Saturday and into Sunday, Ultra Fest was still making changes that some fans admit they’re seeing the improvements of.

"They really got it together. They started crossing off and blocking off more roads and everything, so it definitely felt more safe last night than the first day," said festival goer Michael Vancasteren.

"We are working to improve and tweak our plan as we move forward. It's not a perfect system, but we’re learning. It's our first year," said Martinez. 

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