Miami covers an immense area measuring over one-hundred and forty square kilometers. Thankfully, it has good public transport systems operating that will get you smoothly and swiftly from A to B and, if you jump aboard the right ones, will prevent you from wasting hours of your day being gridlocked in traffic.
The options you have for getting around Miami by public transport are trains, including Metrorail and Metromover, buses, and trollies. You can also catch a cab, or hire a car or even a limo if you're planning on doing it in style and don't mind making full use of the built-in bar when you get stuck in a traffic jam.
What you can't do while trying to get around Miami on public transport is hump your cases with you. It's too hot, too humid, and too busy. Leave your suitcases at one of our Miami luggage storage services and they'll be in a secure place but you'll still have twenty-four-hour access to them. Without your bags to worry about, you won't get in a lather and you'll have a spring in your step all day.
How To Get Around Miami
There's no subway in Miami or Miami Beach so all public transport is above ground which is great as you get to do some sightseeing no matter what journey you take. What type of transport is available depends on which part of the city you're in so read on to find out what you can catch in Miami and where.
How To Get Around By Train
The Metromover is a free elevated mono-rail system operated on several different loop routes in Downtown Miami, the Brickell district, the financial district, and the arts and entertainment district. It's the ideal way of getting around when you're shopping in Miami.
There are frequent services seven days of the week on all of the loops starting at five in the morning and running through until midnight. Car arrivals vary from every one and a half minutes during peak time to every three minutes during off-peak hours.
The Metromover is mostly standing room only although there are some priority seats located at the front and rear of the cars. All Metromover cars are wheelchair accessible and there are elevators from the street to the platforms.
If you've landed at Miami International Airport and need to get to the Downtown or Brickell area then the Metrorail is one of the most convenient choices of transport. Two different lines operate on the Metrorail's twenty-five-mile route starting out from the Airport Metrorail Station. They are the Green line and the Orange line. Which you catch depends on where you're going or whether you need to transfer to either the Tri-rail or Brightline services.
Tickets for the Metrorail cost $2.25 per journey and you can buy them in cash at automatic ticket machines in the stations. Another option is to get an Easy Card which can be preloaded with a one day pass costing $5.65 which you can use as many times as you want on one particular day. You can also load a cash balance onto an Easy Card and use it to pay your fares on Tri-rail and Metrobus, though be aware that any unused balance expires after a sixty-day period.
Tri-rail Miami is a regional train service that runs between Miami Airport, Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and Palm Beach County stopping at a total of eighteen stations including Fort Lauderdale.
Tri-rail operates on two lines - northbound and southbound. The first station on the northbound line is Miami Airport and the first station on the southbound is Mangonia Park. Weekday services begin from both stations at around four in the morning and run more or less half hourly until ten-thirty in the evening.
Fares on Tri-rail journeys depend on how many zones you pass through of which there are six in total. The more zones you ride through then the more your fare costs. Fares are calculated automatically when you choose your departure station and destination in the ticket machine. It's still an economical way to travel though, as riding through all six zones costs no more than $8.75. At weekends and on national holidays special discounts are applied and you can purchase a day pass for $5.
The Brightline train is an express service that operates between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, which is also where the stations are located. The trip from Miami to Fort Lauderdale for example is a half hour non-stop ride that in Smart class costs $17 and in Premium class $27. If you want to have a family day out in either, the bonus is that one kid under twelve years of age rides for free with the purchase of each adult fare.
How To Get Around By Bus
Miami Beach Airport Express
The Miami Beach Airport Express 150 is a shuttle bus service operating between Miami International Airport and Washington Avenue in Miami Beach. There are only two other stops on the way so the entire trip takes around forty minutes. The standard fare for the trip is $2.25 or if you have an Easy Card then it's also valid for use on this service.
Metrobus operates a network of services in the Miami area consisting of over ninety different bus routes throughout Miami so no matter what attraction or point of interest you want to get to, you can usually get to it quite easily on a bus route. It's a popular way of getting around for Miami residents as well as visitors.
The best way to find out which number bus goes where is to download the Metrobus route map from the official Metrobus website or, if you prefer, the relevant app. Most routes have limited stops to ensure a rapid transit which is great unless you get on the wrong one. A single fare costs $2.25. If you're going to use the service frequently and the Metrorail then the best thing to do is get an Easy Card.
Trolleys In Miami
There are no trolleys in the city of Miami itself, but if you're out and about sightseeing you can jump on a Miami trolley in several other places like Miami Beach and Coral Gables.
Miami Beach Trolleys – There are four Miami Beach trolley loop routes being operated in Miami Beach. They are South Beach, North Beach, Middle Beach, and the Collins Express. It's a free trolley service no matter how long you stay on so if you want a free tour of almost all of Miami Beach, jump on the Collins Express. The Miami Beach trolleys run every thirty minutes from eight in the morning until eleven at night.
Coral Gables Trolley – The trolley service in Coral Gables operates two different routes, Ponce de Leon and Grand Avenue, with both terminating at Douglas Station. Trolley rides on both lines are free of charge. The service operates Monday through to Saturday every ten to twelve minutes from six thirty in the morning until eight in the evening. The one exception to this is on the first Friday of each month when the free transportation provided by the trolleys runs until ten at night in conjunction with the late opening hours of museums, art galleries, and shops.
How To Get Around Miami By Car
While it is possible to get around Miami with a car rental not many people choose to explore the city that way. The public transport systems will take you to just about any part of the city you want to visit. They're also economic and efficiently run.
Driving around the streets of Miami can be a stressful experience and if you're the one behind the wheel you'll have to have your eyes on the road rather than on the sights you're passing.
One of the reasons the public transport services are so good in Miami is to encourage people to use them more frequently and leave their vehicles at home or outside of the city limits to help alleviate traffic congestion and pollution.
If you decide to go for a rental car because you want to take a day trip out of the city center then you'll find plenty of car hire companies at the airport and in the city with reasonable prices.
Catching a Freebee is an alternative and eco-friendly form of transport available in multiple areas of Miami including Downtown, South Beach, and around Biscayne Bay. The vehicles are electrically powered and can carry up to six adults at a time which is great if you're out and about with friends.
All the Freebee trips are free of charge as transport costs are covered by the marketing on the sides of the vehicles. To catch a Freebee all you have to do is download the app onto your smartphone and punch in your location and the driver will buzz around and pick you up. The drivers are often endless fonts of local knowledge so if you want to know about the best things to do at night in Miami, don't be shy about asking.
Taxi Cabs, Uber and Lyft
Taxi cabs, Uber, and Lyft are all available in Miami. Always keep in mind though that your driver will have to deal with any traffic congestion so it's not always the quickest or cheapest way to get around.
Taxi Cabs - Taxi cabs are yellow and there are multiple different companies, but they all work to the same criteria whether you flag one down on the street, call the office, or pick it up at a rank at the airport or in Downtown. There is a standard $4.50 charge which covers the first part of the journey and each mile after that is charged at $0.40. If you take a yellow cab from the airport then expect to pay an extra $2.00 origination fee. If you get stuck in traffic or keep your cab waiting there's an additional $0.40 for each minute of waiting time.
Uber and Lyft - To use either Uber or Lyft to get around in Miami you will need to download the appropriate app onto your phone. Be prepared to find the Uber and Lyft prices higher in Miami than in other cities as there is a high demand for the services. Average prices can start at $0.81 per mile and often go higher if there is a surge pricing period which usually happens during peak travel times or at the end of large events.
Can I Get Around Miami On Foot?
Miami is far too widespread to be able to get around there on foot, but that said there are some beautiful pedestrianized areas where you can walk if you want to. Don't forget though that Miami's climate is one with high humidity so if you can't stand the heat the best thing to do is get off the street and find somewhere with air-conditioning.
If you do want to venture out on foot or even bicycle then the Venetian Causeway, the bridge that connects Miami Beach to mainland Miami, is great. The Miami River Greenway is also a good place for a nice stroll under the shade of the trees that line the riverbanks.
Now you know the pros and cons of getting around in Miami, it's easy to see that this Florida city's public transportation systems are the best way to do it. They're all economically priced, run like clockwork, are air-conditioned, and the network reaches just about every corner of the city you could possibly want to go to. Using public transport to get around when visiting Miami really is the way to make the most of your time there and you’ll save money that you can spend on something else like going shopping in Miami.