By Kara Franker
Skip driving around town and hop on the train, bus or trolley.
Miami is a big sprawling city, so instead of attempting to navigate it yourself, let someone else do the driving for you. Metrorail, Metromover and Metrobus all provide low-cost alternatives to taxis and rental cars. Not only is taking public transportation an excellent way to see the the sights in Miami, it’s also great for the environment and helps alleviate traffic congestion.
Here’s what you need to know about Miami’s public transportation system.
Miami’s Above Ground Rail Line: Metrorail and Metromover
Metrorail is a 22-mile, 22-station commuter rail line that runs from Palmetto (West Miami) to Downtown Miami and down to Dadeland (South Miami). There’s also a special Orange Line that runs out to the airport. The Orange Line ends at the Miami Intermodal Center, which is a new transportation hub and directly connects to the Miami International Airport via the MIA Mover.
Trips start at $2.25 and can be purchased with a pre-paid, rechargeable EASY Card or EASY Ticket at Metrorail stations or online. Unlimited daily passes, weekly passes and monthly passes are also available. For help planning your trip, check out the Metrorail map or download the Miami-Dade Transit Tracker app.
What’s the difference between Metrorail and Metromover? Well, the main difference is that there’s a fee to ride Metrorail and Metromover is free. Additionally, Metrorail is designed specifically for commuters since it runs south and west into Miami’s suburbs. Metromover, aside from being free, offers smaller loops around Downtown Miami and Brickell, and it also serves as a connection between Metrorail and Metrobus.
The Metromover has three major “loops” as they're called (Omni Loop, Brickell Loop and Inner Loop). And there’s also a Full Loop that runs the whole length of the track. Metromover is especially handy for visitors staying near Downtown Miami and wanting to explore some of the city’s most popular attractions like AmericanAirlines Arena (home of the Miami Heat and lots of popular concerts), Museum Park (home of Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science) as well as the Art & Entertainment District (where you’ll find the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts).
There are also lots of shops and restaurants to explore along the Metromover route--so make sure you take advantage of this free way to avoid traffic and enjoy all the attractions that part of the city has to offer.
Traveler Tip: There are two apps for iPhone and Android mobile devices that will help you navigate public transportation: the Miami-Dade Transit Tracker and the Miami Trolley App.
Miami’s City Buses and Free Trolley Rides
Metrobus operates more than 90 routes with close to 1,000 buses covering 41 million miles per year—that’s a lot of ground to cover! One of the main benefits of taking the bus is the fact that routes serve areas of the city that the rail system doesn’t, like Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, Homestead and even as far as Fort Lauderdale and the Florida Keys. And there’s an express bus service that provides a quick and easy option for commuters.
Bus rides start at $2.25 per trip and the easiest way to pay is to use an EASY Card or EASY Ticket, available for purchase online and at select stations. Some bus routes operate 24 hours a day, but we recommend checking individual route schedules for hours of operation and specific schedules. And the good news is that Miami-Dade Transit is rolling out a new “Bus Tracker” program that makes all of the Metrobus routes trackable in real time—making it even easier for you to accurately plan your trip.
If you’re heading to Miami International Airport, the Airport Flyer (Route 150) provides an inexpensive transit connection to the airport from Miami Beach. This express bus runs every 30 minutes from Miami International Airport to a stop on South Beach, located at 41st Street and Collins Avenue.
Speaking of bus stops on Miami Beach, the South Beach Local (Route 123), is the preferred circulator route by South Beach visitors and residents. The fare is only 25 cents per trip and stops frequently in popular areas of Miami Beach.
For a fun and free way to explore the city, hop on and off a trolley. For more information on Miami’s free trolley system, check out: How to Use Miami’s Trolley System.
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