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Ultra Organizers Admit To Early Transportation Hiccups, Able To Work Them Out

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The party is over for tens of thousands of people who attended the Ultra Music Festival this weekend.

Early Monday morning, crews didn't waste any time in starting the clean up on Virginia Key.

After the three-day festival ended at 2 a.m., crews were spotted picking up barriers, picking up trash and getting things back to normal.

Festival organizers admit things got off to a rough start. Thousands of angry fans took to social media to describe a chaotic scene, left stranded and forced to walk in droves across the Rickenbacker Causeway to the mainland.

Festival organizers admitted a county approved traffic plan for some 200 plus buses to move people on and off Virginia Key, fell short via Twitter calling it "unacceptable and inconsistent with the high standards you have, for this, we are sorry."

That forced Ultra organizers and their city partners to put a new plan in place to improve the fan experience.

Day two ended significantly better according to Ray Martinez, the chief of security for Ultra, who said they had more signs with information, more people working and brought in the buses earlier.

Monday morning, organizers say the weekend was a success despite the few setbacks.

"Obviously the first day we had some hiccups if you will with our transportation plan. We made adjustments as we moved forward and I can tell you Sunday night it worked flawlessly," said Martinez.

There are also many critics of the festival, especially when it comes to the traffic situation due to the limited access to Virginia Key.

"You got one way in and one way out. And you got 60 thousand people so that's what it was," said Key Biscayne mayor Michael W. Davey.

Martinez gave his assessment of how the three days went.

"We are proud that we produced not only a great event but one where everybody was safe and secure," he said.

Martinez said each day they made some adjustments and there were lessons learned from the move from Bayfront Park to a tiny island.

"It was day one of year one. You know something that we hadn't experienced in prior years of downtown Miami, we did not provide transportation. We were anticipating when crowds would start to leave, they actually left sooner," he said.

Transportation issues were just one of a number of logistical concerns City of Miami mayor Frances Suarez has with the global concert event.

He spent time over the weekend surveying the site from the air.

"I let the organizers know before the event, I let them know during the event, and I'm certainly going to let them know after the event that low frequency bass penetrating miles into the city is not acceptable," said Suarez. "I live seven miles away and I could hear it at my house. It's something that's a big problem and it's something that's non-negotiable for me."

In all there were 35 arrests over the three days, with charges stemming from trespassing to possession with intent to sell.

It's a relatively small number considering more than 150,000 people showed up over a three day period.

As for the future of Ultra in South Florida, Mayor Suarez was asked if he thinks the festival will be back in 2020.

"I've been a huge proponent of Ultra. Ultra for music is what Art Basel is to art for the City of Miami," he said. "The fact that it's a tourist attraction which has an incalculable economic impact, we have to balance that with the needs and quality of life of our residents."

Mayor Davey would rather not see the festival return.

"People were delayed, people trying to get to the airport, people trying to get back from the airport. They were inconvenienced. That is a fair thing to say about the traffic," he said.

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