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Miami Moving Guide

Getting Around Miami Without a Car

Since it's such a big and cosmopolitan city, you might be wondering, "Do you need a car in Miami?" One of the great things about this city is that there are a ton of transportation options available, so living in Miami without a car is definitely possible, especially if you live and work in the areas with the best transport options.

Living without a car is easier in Miami Beach, Coral Gables, downtown Miami, South Miami and a few other locations where residential areas are walking distance to shops and services. If you are traveling in a straight line anywhere in Miami-Dade County, it's often easy to take a bus – if you're not in a hurry.

The public transportation in Miami is great; its elevated Metrorail and Metromover train systems can make commuting possible without a car, if you live close enough to your home station and you can get off near your destination.

Traffic is one of the issues Miami residents complain about most. Miami ranked second, just behind Los Angeles, in a recent tally of which city posted the most Instagram complaints about traffic. When they're not complaining about traffic, Miamians are complaining about parking, or the lack thereof.

Parking and traffic can be such a hassle that Miami residents will sometimes leave their cars at home and turn to public transportation or a ride-sharing service, especially if they are going somewhere such as downtown Miami or South Beach where parking is difficult and expensive.

We're not saying getting around Miami without a car is easy, but it is possible. Here are six ways to get around Miami without a car.

Metrobus
Miami-Dade Transit runs the Metrobus, a bus system that covers more than 95 routes throughout the county. Theoretically, you can get to almost anywhere you need to go on the bus, if you're willing to walk a few blocks upon arrival. However, irregular schedules and long waits for bus transfers can turn a 30-minute trip in a car into a 90-minute trip by bus. The system works best for people who don't need to transfer, and who use popular routes where buses stop frequently. There also are Express buses that run between Miami Beach and the Miami International Airport Metrorail station, to Broward County and from Metrorail to South Dade. You can use the county's online trip planner to plot your Miami Metrobus route. Regular fare is $2.25—exact change only—or a fare card. Discount plans are available for senior citizens, the disabled, students, county employees and fare card holders.

Metrorail and Metromover
Miami Metrorail
Photo Credits: GrahamC99 via Flickr

We couldn't put our commuter rail system underground, so we put it above the streets. Metrorail and Metromover are Miami's answer to a subway. Metrorail covers 25 miles of Miami-Dade's most populated areas, with 23 stations stretched from Hialeah to Dadeland. The newest station serves Miami International Airport. Metrorail fares are $2.25, and you must have a fare card, usually available from a machine at the station. Metrorail runs until 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends. It's a good option for reaching downtown Miami as well as other locations near its stations. Metromover, which covers a 4.4-mile route in and around downtown, is free. It's a great option for traveling between downtown and Brickell, because you can skip both the traffic gridlock and the parking struggles. Trains come frequently.

Trolleys
The cities of Miami, Miami Beach and Coral Gables run free trolley service between popular areas and to connect with Metrobus and Metrorail. These can be a great option for traveling to events, such as a gallery, when parking is difficult. The cities often increase trolley service during major events, too. Find the Miami trolleys, the Miami Beach trolleys and the Coral Gables trolley.

Tri-Rail
The Tri-Rail system (short for tri-county rail) connects West Palm Beach to suburban Miami at the Metrorail station. The commuter rail system can work well for those who live and work near stations and work daytime hours. But the tracks run west of the downtown areas, so Tri-Rail isn't a viable option for many commutes.

Ride-Sharing and Taxis
Miami Taxi

Both Lyft and Uber operate throughout Miami-Dade County. People have been known to leave their cars at home and use a ride-sharing service to get to Wynwood, South Beach, Brickell and other places where it's hard to find a parking spot. Depending on where you live, the ride could cost less than parking would have. Traditional taxis are another option, but you need to call rather than hail in most locations.

About the author

Teresa Mears

Teresa Mears is a website publisher, writer, blogger and editor in South Florida who was raised to be frugal. After working as a newspaper reporter and editor, she moved her career online. In addition to running Miami On The Cheap, Florida On The Cheap, Fort Lauderdale On The Cheap, Palm Beach On The Cheap, Living on the Cheap and other websites, she writes about personal finance for U.S. News & World Report and other publications.

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