Miami is said to have the most extensive public transport network in Florida. However, the system is perhaps not up to the standards that would be expected in other major cities like Boston or New York.
Given how spread out the wider metropolitan area is, transport authorities have struggled to integrate public transport in Miami as effectively as has been done in other cities.
As a result, bus and train journeys can be slow and most residents prefer to drive.
Public transport in Miami
Public transport in Miami is overseen by Miami-Dade Transit (MDT) and consists of a fairly comprehensive bus network, a rail network and the Metromover, an automated "people mover" that operates in Downtown Miami.
The public transport network uses an integrated ticketing system, and fares can be paid for using a rechargeable smart card called the EASY Card.
The bus system in Miami services the entire city, but expats will find that buses are often not on time due to traffic congestion. Most bus services tend to be fairly frequent and operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The frequency of Metrobuses varies from route to route.
Travelling by trolley is a fun and unique way to explore Miami and Miami beach. To make it even better, the trolley is also free in most neighbourhoods. The trolley runs Monday to Sonday on four different routes. The trolleys run throughout the day about every 15 minutes, depending on the route. Notable stops include Miami Beach Botanical Garden and the Convention Center.
Metrorail and Metromover are Miami's answer to a subway. The Miami Metrorail system is a single line train system that serves the city and its surrounding areas. The system consists of more than 20 stations and connects areas in the city centre to outlying suburbs.
The Metrorail operates between 5am and midnight. Metrorail trains are fairly frequent, arriving every 12 minutes during peak hours.
The Metromover is a free automated shuttle that runs a limited route. The Metromover is the quickest and most efficient way to get around central Miami. This option will help expats avoid expensive parking and the gridlocked traffic Miami is famous for.
Taxis in Miami are known for being relatively expensive but are widely available. It's usually best to book a taxi by phoning ahead of time. Another option is to get a taxi at designated ranks found outside most Metrorail stations.
Ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft are operational in Miami.
Driving in Miami
Most of Miami’s residents prefer to own a car rather than relying on public transport. While driving in Miami is no easy task, having a vehicle of their own affords expats an increased level of independence.
Navigating the streets of Miami is fairly straightforward because of the city’s grid system. Road conditions and signage are also generally good and the streets are clearly numbered.
Expat drivers who are new to the city should take extra care and be aware that locals are known for driving particularly aggressively and often break the posted speed limits. The experience of driving in Miami is made more frustrating because of traffic congestion during rush hour.
►For an overview of intercity and interstate transport, see Transport and Driving in the USA
►Accommodation in Miami gives information on finding a place to live in the city
"Public transportation in the city of Miami is pretty good with an elevated electric railway, trolleys, bike and car shares, bus and train lines." Read Emmanuelle's Expat Arrivals interview.
Are you an expat living in Miami?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Miami. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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