We love our city. We do. For that reason, it breaks out hearts to admit when something is not as great as it should. And this is the case, in our opinion (based on years of experience) with Miami Dade’s public transportation system.
Now, don’t be scared. Just read below our list of “observations” and be prepared.
- Air conditioning: it works great in most buses. However, once in a while you’ll get on a bus full of people and a broken AC on a 81ºF (27ºC) day.
- Frequency: all bus routes follow a schedule (available here) and they typically run every 15 to 20 minutes (except late at night and on weekends) Yet, be prepared to be left waiting. Let’s just say that sometimes we just don’t know what happened…
- Friendliness of the drivers: most are very nice. In fact, some of Miami’s bus drivers have touched our lives. You get to see them every day on your way to work and their attitude and service makes a difference. On the other hand, there are more than a few rude drivers behind the wheel. Hope you don’t get to meet them.
- Bus stops: Miami is sunny and hot. That’s lovely. Also, from June to September it rains often (don’t be scared, it’s just a little rain every day). Many of the bus stops don’t have a shelter. Just picture yourself there, waiting under the intense Miami sun… or under the rain. No roof, no shade. Not good.
- Transfers: the way the transportation system is designed, be prepared to have to take at least two buses to get to your destination. Request a transfer when you get on the first bus. They are free and valid for the next three hours to get on any buses going the same direction (in other words, you can’t use a transfer to get back to where you came from) More instructions here.
Well, you know now and are more prepared.
Here’s everything else you need to know to ride Miami Dade’s public transportation:
Bus Fares in Miami and Miami Beach:
- Regular fare: $2.25
- Bus to Miami International Airport (called 150-Airport Flyer): $2.65
- Bus-to-bus transfers: free and valid within 3 hours from time of first use.
- South Beach Local: $0.25 (learn more about it)
- Metromover: free (more here)
You must pay the exact amount. The machines don’t give change.
If you’re looking for routes on Google Transit, keep in mind the buses will be named with numbers. For example, the “S” bus is labeled “119” but on the actual bus there’s no numbers, only the letter. Once you pick your itinerary though, the “directions” Google gives you will list the letter along with the number.
More information about public transportation fares on the Miami Dade website.
How to pay:
When you first get on the bus you’ll see a machine. It has a place to insert bills and a slot for coins. It also has a surface to tap your Easy Card or Easy Ticket (more on those below). The machine won’t print out a ticket.
Paying with cash:
The machine accepts bills and all coins as long as they are silver (that means no $1 coins or pennies)
You must pay the EXACT fare. The machine doesn’t give change
Pre-paid option – Easy Ticket:
It’s shaped like a card but it’s made of paper. You can purchase it at specific locations and either load them with a cash amount of your choice, or chose to use it as a 1-day or 7-day pass. (The Easy Ticket can be re-loaded but only with its original fare purchase and it’s valid for only 60 days)
Important: if you lose your Easy Ticket, you can’t get your money back.
You can buy and reload an Easy Ticket at:
- EASY Card vending machines at any Metrorail station, the Adrienne Arsht Metromover station or the Golden Glades Park & Ride Lot
- Any of the sales outlets throughout Miami-Dade
- The Transit Service Center (111 NW First Street, Second Level)
If you’re in Miami Beach, you can buy your Easy Ticket at:
- Lincoln Road Phone Repair: 326 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139 – ph. 305-538-1544
- Stop N Shop/Exprezo Lincoln Road: 1300 Lincoln Road, C-1A, Miami Beach, FL 33139 – ph. 305-532-2166
- 71 St Liquors: 211 71 Street, Miami Beach, Florida 33141 – ph. 305-865-1128
- Ruben’s Liquor Store: 1000 71st Street, Miami Beach, FL 33141 – ph. 305-866-5976
- Navarro Discount Pharmacy – Store No. 15: 631 71 Street, Miami Beach, FL 33141 – ph. 305-865-0075
- Latin Food Market: 7435 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33141 – ph. 305-861-2009
- Ship and Pack: 9429 Harding Avenue, Surfside, FL 33154 – ph. 305-866-1740
Metromover: it’s a little monorail that rides around the Downtown and Brickell areas in loops. It’s a nice and free way to spend some time and get to know that part of town. Learn more about it here.