It's only Thursday, and the traffic in Miami and Miami Beach has already reached nightmare status. It's particularly bad this year considering one main link between the mainland and South Beach, the Venetian Causeway, is closed for construction. So if you're about to hop into your car this week to travel anywhere in Miami Beach or Miami's urban core, ask yourself first if there's anyway you can get there without your car. Then ask yourself again. Then ask yourself five more times just to make sure.
If you decided, "Nope, gotta take my car," you might end up cursing yourself for not having asked yourself ten more times as you sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours. Remember: Every car off the road helps!
Of course, maybe you're not sure how to get around without your car. Well, great news: We have a handy guide just for you.
We should also point out there's also one huge advantage this week to taking some forms of public transit: The Florida Department of Transportation has approved the use of the shoulder on the Julia Tuttle Causeway for exclusive use by transit and emergency vehicles. Which means if you take a public trolley or bus over the causeway, you won't be sitting in traffic. Police will be on hand to make sure those buses can easily get back into traffic as well. Keep that in mind when planning your trip.
Free Shuttle Service
It's rare that the cities of Miami and Miami Beach collaborate in a meaningful way on transit issues (we're still waiting for Baylink), but for this week and this week only, the cities are connecting their free trolley routes. The loop will stop in Wynwood and midtown and then make stops in Mid-Beach and at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Shuttles are supposed to arrive every 15 minutes. They'll run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. now through Saturday and cease operation at 8 p.m. Sunday.
Here's a handy map:
Miami and Miami Beach Trolleys
If you're a local, you probably already know that Miami and Miami Beach operate their own free trolley services that are great for getting around within each city's limits. If you're a visitor, here's the site for the Miami trolley, and here's the site for the Miami Beach service. Unfortunately, the Miami trolley isn't superconnected to Wynwood, but that should change by next year.
Miami-Dade Art Express, AKA a Free Bus Between Miami and Miami Beach
Miami-Dade Transit is also hoping to ease congestion by offering a free bus route. Its service offers free Wi-Fi and runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with buses arriving every 20 minutes. They buses have fancy, color paint jobs, so they're easy to spot. Here's the map:
Metrobus — Yes, the Regular Damn Bus
Just because there are special routes doesn't mean the regular buses aren't running. They're there, as they always are, shuttling people between Miami and Miami Beach, just like they always do. The trip costs $2.25, as it always does. The C, S, M, and 120 lines will take you from various places in the city of Miami across the MacArthur Causweay to various places in Miami Beach (and back again). The 150, 62, and J buses will do the same for you over the Julia Tuttle Causeway. Here's the Metrobus trip planner to figure out which route works best for you.
Uber unveiled this service in Miami just in time for Basel. If you're traveling solo or just with one other person, select UberPOOL in the app and it will set you up with another person or couple traveling roughly in the same direction. It costs less than Uber and at the very least replaces two cars traveling in the same direction with one.
Yes, there is
The Water Taxi
Yes, it exists, and it's offering special Art Basel routes. The boat will make a round trip every 90 minutes among Purdy Station at the marina in Sunset Harbour, Sea Isles Marina, and Bayside Marketplace. One-way tickets start at $15.
You can bike across the MacArthur and Tuttle causeways. Even if you don't have a bicycle, the bike-sharing service Citi Bike operates in Miami and Miami Beach. With traffic backed up on the causeways during peak hours, you won't even have to worry about speeding cars as you usually would. But on the Tuttle, you will have to worry about buses using the shoulder.
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Art Miami Shuttle and Other Fair Shuttles
If you're attending Art Miami, you can take advantage of the midtown fair's free shuttle service. The Miami-to-Miami Beach route runs every 45 minutes and makes stops at various other fairs. Other fairs also offer shuttle services to various attendees as well. Don't be afraid to ask.
Even if you're planning only a short car trip, remember it still adds to traffic congestion. South Beach is as walkable a neighborhood as you'll find in the region, and on the mainland, Wynwood, midtown, and the Design District are all within walking distance of one another. Besides, walking helps burn off calories from champagne and hors d'oeuvre.
If you absolutely must take your car, at least pack as many people into it as you can. Let's say you're Muffy and Thurston Von Rodriguez down in Pinecrest and you plan to spend the day perusing art with your friends the Ruiz-Astors (of the Coral Gables Ruiz-Astors). At least pick them up in your giant Mercedes sedan instead of taking two giant Mercedes sedans. Yes, rich people hate public transit, but work with us here a bit and carpool.
The Rest of the Public Transit System
If you're heading into town from other parts of the county, maybe now is the time to familiarize yourself with things like Metrorail and bus routes. Here's our handy guide to getting around. Parking will be hectic and expensive near anyplace you want to go, and traffic will be congested. So you might actually save time and money taking public transit.