The Miami International Airport provides an ideal access point to Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, and has been one of the largest airports in the US for many decades. To some it is surprising to learn that MIA has more international travelers come through than other major international hubs like LAX, O’Hare, and DFW. The increasing demand and the need to accommodate a greater flow of passengers, has led the airport to the construction of new terminals, greater facilities for parking, external parking, external rental car agencies, and the organization of ground transportation options within the main entrance loop of the airport for the comfort of the traveler. Of course, complexity is inevitable and the airport has suffered pains from overloading their infrastructure, and routing the flows through the right checkpoints.
The Miami International Airport began restructuring terminals with the purpose of streamlining flows and making travel simpler for tourists. Terminals were redesigned with wider hallways and rest areas, new connections between terminals were added, and volume efficiencies were put in place for security checkpoints. It seemed for many years, that MIA was different from one month to the next, with areas closed down, diverted traffic, new retail outlets, and even shortcuts that although useful, added to the feeling of being in a labyrinth to reach departure gates.
In late 2012, it was the turn for ground transportation to be restructured. A new facility known as Miami Central Station was opened about a mile and a half east of the airport, with an elevated tram known as the MIA Mover, which connects it to the Main Terminal building of MIA. The purpose of the Miami Central Station is to consolidate the ground transportation services that took up a lot of space within the airport, and a lot of vehicle traffic within the airport loop, including rental cars, and a single access point to transportation services such as Greyhound buses, Miami Metro buses, MetroRail transportation, the Tri Rail system, and Amtrak railways. The project is already in place, and is expected to be completed at some point in 2014.
The new layout of ground transportation alleviates the loop from the traffic of rental car shuttle buses, public transportation buses, and ground links of the various railway services, and simplifies access to all ground transportation options in Miami if you know where you are going.
Rental cars are easy to secure at MIA, and agencies are all together at the Miami Central Station. The new system makes it easier to get to the your car, and be out on the town. A word of caution to people who are unfamiliar with Miami. Driving in Miami can be difficult, not so much in getting around, GPS makes that very easy, but related to parking. Downtown, Miami Beach, and many hotels charge as much as $8.00 an hour for parking, and finding a parking spot can be next to impossible at times. It is a very common experience that visitors that want to participate in the neon nightlife of Miami Beach, drive around for an hour to find a place, and then have to walk 5 blocks to the clubs. Of course, having your own car available gives a sense of control over when and where you go somewhere, and that is of great value as well, and can still make it an excellent choice if those are your priorities.
Public transportation out of MIA is also consolidated in the Miami Central Station, and is by far the cheapest option to get around to your local stay in Miami. A passenger traveling to a hotel in downtown Miami, would spend about $2.00 to get from the airport to the hotel, but it is also the most inconvenient and stressful way to get around town. To get there, the passenger must pull luggage and be mindful of the headcount of their group, through 3 different transfers, the MIA Mover, the Miami Central Station, and the Downtown Miami Station, and finally get off the bus at a regular stop, and walk a couple of city blocks to the hotel. If you are short on cash, have the stamina for it, and feel like doing some exercise, this is a fantastic option for you.
Miami limo service, executive car service, and taxi service providers, still have designated pick up areas curbside upon exit of baggage claim. They are the most expensive of the service options, charging up to more than $60 per passenger from MIA to downtown, and out of the group, and relying on stand-by taxi service is somewhat of a gamble when there are major events in town, where supply of vehicles is low, and demand for them is very high. Of course, they are also the most comfortable and direct forms of transportation available, with the most convenient access, picking up passengers at the curb in the airport, transporting in comfortable private use vehicles, and dropping passengers off at the curb in front of the main entrance of their local destination, without any parking hassles or future obligations. And they even help with bags. If money is not a major consideration, a limo car service is by far the most comfortable choice to get around in Miami.
What we feel is the best value in ground transportation, is the Miami Airport shuttle service, which is a smaller shuttle bus available through reservation, that accommodates up to twelve passengers, sharing the ride with one or two other families. The shuttle provides a service that is direct, or having very few stops, and no need for transfers. It is far less expensive than car services, with an average price of about $12 per person to a downtown Miami hotel. It is still higher priced than the public transportation systems, but it has most of the same comforts of the car services, including curbside pick-up and drop off, a nice clean ride, low stress, and help with bags.
If you know your options, and have a plan, navigating the new layout of the Miami International Airport ground transportation is very quick and easy, allowing you more time for you. We wish you the safest and most pleasant travels, and all the best in enjoyment and connection with loved ones along the way.
If your travels take you through the Miami Airport, and you need local ground transportation in South Florida, look into Metro Shuttle Service. The company is well run, with quality vehicles on timely schedules, and great customer service.