All official taxis in Miami-Dade County are yellow and will carry up to 5 persons at no additional charge. All vehicles are metered, and with a few exceptions, drivers must charge as per the meter.
The fees for metered fares are as follows: US$2.95 for the first 1/6 mile, $0.85 for each additional 1/6 mile until 1 mile and $0.40 for each 1/6 mile after that, which equals to US$7.20 for the first mile and US$2.40 for each additional mile. Waiting time is US$.40 per minute. If departing from the airport, add US$2.00 airport origination fee. A 15% tip is generally expected upon completion of the journey.
This may not mean much to you, but as a guide, a taxi fare from Miami Beach (Lincoln Road area) to Miami City Centre (Downtown), 6½ miles (10 kms) runs about US$ 21.00. The same rates are valid days, nights and holidays.
You will probably find it hard to flag down a taxi in the street so most taxi service is requested by phone. It should be no problem for transportation originating from your hotel, but when you need to return you may find it a little more challenging. Most stores and businesses will be happy to phone a taxi for you, and if you are in the street, anyone you see with a cell phone will generally help. In most cases, you have to have a number to call. Probably the easiest one to remember is Yellow Cabs at 305 444 4444. Don’t forget to have the correct street address so the driver (hopefully) can find you.
One last thing. Taxi drivers in Miami, unlike those in Europe, are often blissfully unaware of directions. Many don’t even carry a map or GPS. If you only have an address as reference, chances are you will have to tell the driver how to get there. On top of this, many drivers are not proficient English speakers. If at all possible, print out a Google map of the location you are going to. This will help the driver find your destination and will avoid frequent stops at gas stations for directions. It also puts you in control in case the driver decides to take you on a costly grand tour between your origin and destination.
Uber and Lyft
Uber and Lyft operate throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, including the airports and seaports. You need to register online with either company, and own a U.S. workable mobile phone to request service. The fares are generally half those of regular taxi services.
Super Shuttle Level 1
|Taxi Rank Level 1|
Taxicabs and Super Shuttle vans are available only on Level 1 (ground level) at Miami International Airport, outside of the baggage claim areas. Each concourse has a taxi and a shuttle dispatcher outside the building, and you should register with them so they can assist you in procuring appropriate transportation
Click on fares for an idea of what your taxi fare will be. There is a special airport area fixed-fare blue taxi service to close-by Zones A and B.
Miami Metro Bus
Miami-Dade county runs a very extensive public bus service. Nevertheless unless you are taking a popular route, such as up and down Miami Beach, or Miami Beach to the City of Miami, service can be very sporadic and slow. For example the “S” bus (Numerical 119) runs along the entire beach from Sunny Isles to South Beach approximately every 10 minutes. This is an exception to the rule as most other buses run every 30 minutes to an hour. The fare is US$ 2.25 each trip and the driver only accepts exact change. Printed Metrobus route maps and schedules can be picked up at the airport information centres in Concourses E and J and the airport Transit Center.
If you plan on travelling a lot by local public transportation you may find it easier and more economic to purchase a US$ 5.65 one-day or a US$ 29.25 seven-day transit pass (called EASY Ticket). There is an automatic EASY Ticket dispenser at the airport Transit Center, which accepts major credit cards and cash.
Miami Beach has its own South Beach Local shuttle service, running from Lincoln Road down to South Pointe Park and the Mid-North Beach Connector from South Beach to Surfside and Bal Harbour. Only US$ 0.25 (exact change required), and runs every 15 minutes from 07:45 to 01:00 (Sundays 10:00 to 01:00). Coral Gables and downtown Miami also run free shuttle services every 15 minutes around the cities and to close-by Metrorail stations.
This is Miami’s urban rail system. Although there is service to the airport, most stations are far from the majority of tourist frequented areas. There is no service to Miami Beach. Fare is US$ 2.25 for each trip.
This unusual transport system is a series of overhead roadways where computer driven vehicles like small buses whirl around the city center and outlying areas. If you are visiting downtown Miami, it’s fun to ride the free Metromover, which snakes over Miami streets from the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in the north to the Brickell Avenue banking centre to the south.
If you intend to travel around a lot during your stay, a rental car is a very economic proposition in the United States. The rental charge is reasonable by European standards, and the cost of gas (petrol) is one of the lowest in the world (Venezuela beats us!). On the downside, Miami Beach and all beach areas of Florida are sometimes difficult and expensive places to park, though if you are staying anywhere else other than downtown or the beach, hotel parking is usually free.
Unlike visitors to Europe, there is no particular financial advantage to booking ahead, only to be sure you have a car waiting for you. Cars can sometimes be hard to find during special events, such as the Boat Show or Art Basel.
For hints on driving in Miami and Florida, click here.
The number of sites for getting the lowest rate on rental cars is astounding. I have found Miles Car Rental gets you as low a price as any.
Tri-Rail, so named because it travels beside the I-95 expressway through three counties, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. This commuter train will take you to Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. There are shuttle services from the stations to the respective airports and city centres.
The venerable Greyhound Bus is still around, though getting more and more dilapidated as the years go by. Low cost airlines and the huge distances in the USA have sounded the death knell for public travel by both road and rail.
Having said that, it’s still cheaper by bus, even though travel takes considerably longer. Perhaps the only route you would consider from here is Miami to Key West or Miami to Orlando.
The Key West schedule is twice a day starting at US$ 26.00 and takes 4 hours and 30 minutes. Orlando has 8 departures daily starting at US$ 19.00 taking 5 hours and 45 minutes.
You could even take the 3½-day, 3,500 mile (5,500 kms) trip from Miami to Seattle for just US$ 240.00 with a 15-day advance purchase fare.
Orlando also has several shuttle services for as low as US$ 20.00, with hotel and airport pick-up and drop-off. One example is Megabus.
Unless you are using high density population corridors, such as Washington-New York-Boston, train travel in the USA is slow and laborious. Miami boasts two trains a day to New York, which travel via Orlando and Washington. The 27-hour trip costs around US$ 147.00 with a 30-day advance purchase. Nevertheless, by the time you have purchased food and beverage, it probably comes out to more than an equivalent bargain airfare. The 5 hours Orlando trip is US$ 44.00. There is also one train a day to Tampa, also 5 hours at US$ 42.00.
Amtrak offers attractive rail passes, but as Miami is at the end of the line, they are generally not very practical for visitors here.
Until the new Miami Intermodal Center is finished, the Amtrak railway station is located near Hialeah, about 12 miles from Miami Beach, and I can assure you most taxi drivers will not have the slightest idea where it is or how to get there.
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