“Green Passengers” – Going Without a Car in Miami

“The most powerful weapon you can use to combat global climate change may be a daily transit pass.”

This was the conclusion of a study conducted by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) a few years ago. The study noted that if just one commuter per household gave up their car for public transportation, it reduces the carbon footprint of that household by 10 percent and reduces carbon emissions by an average of 4,800 pounds per year. It looks like we are getting the message, especially the young urban professionals.

Melanie Dawn Miami
Car2Go at Mary Brickell Village

Christopher MacKechnie, Public Transport Expert for About.com writes:

Recently a new kind of passenger has emerged. This new kind of passenger, which I will call the “green” passenger, makes enough money to be able to afford to drive but chooses to live without a car for environmental reasons. These passengers are usually young, ride bicycles and walk frequently, and desire to live an urban lifestyle. I expect this class of passenger to dramatically rise in number in the future as studies show more and more young people with no desire to even obtain a driver license but with strong desires to live in dense, urban, walkable communities.

According to U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey reports, the number of U.S. workers commuting to work by bicycle increased 62% from 2000 to 2012, “a larger percentage increase than that of any other commuting mode.”  The Greater Downtown Miami area ranks 18th of 50 U.S. urban areas for the highest percentage of people using public transit to commute to work, 16th in percentage of people who walk to work, 25th in the percentage of people who biked to work, and 26.71% of households in the City of Miami do not have a car at all.

So how are we getting around in Downtown Miami? Here are ten popular ways:

Melanie Dawn Miami
MetroMover in Downtown Miami

MetroMover

The Metromover is an automated electrically-powered elevated system with three over-lapping routes. The “Inner Loop” runs clockwise around the Central Business District/Historic Downtown. The Omni Loop stops at Freedom Tower near the American Airlines Arena, Museum Park, the Performing Arts District with the final stop at the School Board Station near Wynwood. Brickell loop travels over the Miami River, then throughout the Brickell Financial District including Mary Brickell Village and (soon) Brickell City Center. The MetroMover is FREE and “connects with Metrorail at the Government Center and Brickell stations, and with Metrobus at various locations throughout downtown.”

City of Miami Trolley

There are 6 inter-connected City of Miami trolley routes covering Biscayne, Brickell, Coral Way, the Health District, Allapattah and Overtown. The Brickell trolley runs as far south as Mercy Hospital at the north end of Coconut Grove. The Biscayne trolley services Brickell’s Financial District north along Biscayne Boulevard and into the Design District. The Health District route includes Marlins Satdium, while the Coral Way trolley connects PortMiami with the Central Business District, 3 MetroRail stations and reaches the east side of Miracle Mile at Ponce de Leon Blvd (where you can then pick up the Coral Gables trolley). City of Miami’s trolley is FREE and you can download an app for Android or iPhone

Car2Go

A car sharing service with over 200 low-emission hybrid and fully electric Smart Cars. Use their mobile app or website to locate and reserve a vehicle; or simply spot a Car2Go on the street and go. Car2Go vehicles do not have to be returned to their point of original within the City of Miami (Home Area), and you do not need to pay for municipal parking, tolls, fuel costs, insurance or annual/monthly fees. Rates start at 41 cents per minute up to $84.99 per day maximum.

Melanie Dawn Miami
FREEBEE Brickell Launch Party

Zip Cars

A membership-based car sharing service, though they also offer daily rates for the uncommitted locals or short-term visitors. Zip Cars offers a variety of vehicle sizes; and the cost includes gas, comprehensive insurance, and up to 180 miles/day. Cars can be reserved for as little as 1/2 hour up to 7 days. Membership rates start at $60 per year with car rates from $8 per hour and $71 per day.

FREEBEE

Part party bus, part green machine – Freebee’s look a little bit like fancy golf-carts. Launched in the City of Miami in August 2014, the 100% electric vehicles operate from the Brickell Financial District north to Wynwood at about 21 Street and NE 2AV. FreeBee’s are FREE. Just flag them down and tell them where you need to go.

Uber & Lyft

Both are controversial ride-sharing apps that are operating in, but not yet approved by, Miami-Dade County. Riders use the apps to locate a nearby car & driver, verify rates and check the driver’s ETA. Uber rates start at 95 cents per mile with a $4.00 minimum, while Lyft is $1.10 per mile and a $5.00 minimum. Both services offer larger vehicles when needed.

CiteBike

photo courtesy: Cite Bike Miami
photo courtesy: Cite Bike Miami

“The solar-powered bike sharing system consists of a fleet of specially designed, sturdy, very durable bikes that are locked into a network of docking stations sited at regular intervals around a city. With a thousand bikes at a hundred stations and more on the way downtown, bikes are available to use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.” Hourly rates or memberships

Wheels2Go

Offers electric bikes for rent (3 hours $49, 4 hours $59, 8 hours $79) and includes a helmet, lock & key, storage bag and map. Wheels2Go will deliver the bikes to your hotel within the City of Miami. They also offer guided tours of South Beach, Key Biscayne and the Venetian Islands.

MetroRail

Miami’s MetroRail system is a “25-mile dual track, elevated rapid transit system that provides service to Miami International Airport (MIA) and runs from Kendall through South Miami, Coral Gables, and downtown Miami; to the Civic Center/Jackson Memorial Hospital area; and to Brownsville, Liberty City, Hialeah, and Medley in northwest Miami-Dade, with connections to Broward and Palm Beach counties at the Tri-Rail/Metrorail transfer station.” The MetroRail Orange Line is the easiest way to get between Downtown Miami/Brickell to the airport. Both lines will take you to Dadeland Mall, Dadeland Station Shopping and Shops at Sunset Place. If you live outside of City of Miami, I highly recommend the MetroRail for getting into the downtown area for sporting events and concerts.

MetroBus

“Miami-Dade also has a Metrobus system that thoroughly covers the county from southern Broward County to Key Largo, and from Miami Beach to west Miami-Dade. With over 600 buses and 82 routes, it connects to both the Metrorail and Metromover.The Metrobus system provides service throughout Miami-Dade County 365 days a year. Service is available from Miami Beach and Key Biscayne to West Miami-Dade, as far north as Broward County and as far south as Homestead, Florida City and the Middle Keys. Designed to intersect with Metrorail and Metromover, MDT’s bus system serves all major shopping, entertainment and cultural centers, as well as major hospitals and schools.”

How are you getting around the Magic City? Let me know Miami!

Published byMelanieDawn

Melanie Dawn Molina Wood is a Miami native currently living in the historic downtown district. She has earned her LEED Green Associate accreditation, the NAR GREEN designation, and an Eco-broker credential. She is also a proud member of the US Green Building Council – South Florida Chapter, and a member of the Sierra Club. For more information about sustainability in Miami, or to connect with a real estate agent anywhere in the world, contact Melanie Dawn by text/phone at 305.801.3133, or by email at MelanieinMiami@gmail.com.

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