Unlike certain major American cities like New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C., Miami is not a public transportation-friendly place (in part, because city planners never envisioned the population growth that has taken place over the years).
There is an elevated Metrorail train system, but it consists only of one train line (running from the working class district of Hialeah (northwest Miami), through run-down (“no go”) areas like Overtown and Liberty City, before passing through downtown Miami, and stopping by University of Miami and making its final stop at Dadeland Mall in the suburban Kendall district. It doesn’t go into tourist-friendly parts of Miami, such as Miami Beach or Coral Gables. The Metrorail’s saving grace is that there’s now a direct link that goes into Miami International Airport. However, given the rundown areas of North Miami that link runs through before reaching the Airport, tourists may shy away from taking that option, especially at night.
Within downtown Miami are futuristic-looking elevated passenger railcars called the Metromover, which transport passengers through certain parts of that district (expanding into the Brickell Avenue business district, and areas just north of downtown). Service is frequent and runs from 5:00 am to midnight seven days a week. Its main attraction is that the rides are free. This means that these small rail cars are usually crowded.
Despite the fact that there’s a Metrobus service (With over 800 buses and 90 routes), it can be notoriously slow – where waits of at least 30 minutes (if not longer) are not unusual. The one area of Miami where bus service is most frequent is Miami Beach (which is perhaps the most pedestrian-friendly part of Miami). Frequent visitors to Miami strongly recommend renting a car, in order to easily go from one part of the city to another, and get the most out of their visit.
The regular fare for both the Metrorail and Metrobus is US$2, with discounts for those choosing 7-day and 1-month fare cards. See the following website for more details: www.miamidade.gov/transit/fares.asp