GMCVB Vacation Planner 2012 : Page-143
GE A R G O N I U T T Getting around Greater Miami and the Beaches is easy. A renewed Miami International Airport lands you in the midst of all the action. A new Miami Intermodal Center whisks you on your way. Visitors can touch down, check in, and be lounging on the beach in less than an hour. BY JEFF BORG ND MiamiandBeaches. com 143
Getting around Greater Miami and the Beaches is easy.A renewed Miami International Airport lands you in the midst of all the action. A new Miami Intermodal Center whisks you on your way. Visitors can touch down, check in, and be lounging on the beach in less than an hour.<br /> <br /> A record 35.7 million passengers transited Miami International Airport in 2010, flying 95 airlines to and from 133 destinations through 101 gates. Among U.S. airports, MIA ranks second in international passengers, who make up nearly half of all fliers here.<br /> <br /> A military $6.2 billion capital Improvement program has added a fourth runway and a new South Terminal. When complete, the ambitious program will expand total terminal space to 7.5 million square feet, with more gates, counters and overall capacity, plus a new baggage-handling system.<br /> <br /> Extensive work on the new North Terminal — a major hub for American Airlines and American Eagle — is nearing completion. It will serve up 50 gates and 80 stores and restaurants. North Terminal is so big that it has its own mile-long rooftop people mover, called SkyTrain, to shuttle folks between gates.<br /> <br /> Unveiled in 2007, a gleaming new South Terminal features vaulted ceilings, towering windows and lots of natural light.<br /> <br /> Miami Intermodal Center <br /> <br /> Soon all roads — and flights and trains — will lead to a massive $1.7 billion transportation hub called Miami Intermodal Center, adjacent to the airport.<br /> Once complete, it will connect the passenger terminal to all modes of ground transportation, while reducing environmental impact.<br /> <br /> Now coming online is MIA Mover, an automated light-rail system that connects air travelers quickly and easily to the new Rental Car Center and future Miami Central Station. On the airside, travelers mount the elevated people mover at a station next to the terminal, level 3, between the parking garages.<br /> <br /> Its dual-track guideways run 1.25 miles, and cars go in both directions. The tram is designed to whisk up to 3,000 passengers per hour to their ground transportation, reducing vehicle traffic and emissions dramatically.<br /> <br /> The new Rental Car Center debuted in 2010 to speed passengers into their cars and onto their vacations or business. The center consolidates 16 agencies and 6,500 vehicles.<br /> <br /> By 2013, the Miami Intermodal Center will incorporate terminals for the local Metrorail, the regional Tri-Rail and the intercity Amtrak trains, as well as for Metrobus, intercity buses and taxis.<br /> <br /> Follow that Cab <br /> <br /> Meanwhile, catch a taxi outside baggage claim. The centrality of MIA keeps trips short and affordable. Special blue cabs serve the immediate airport region for a flat rate of $10–14. Regular cabs, usually yellow, reach northern Coral Gables in 15 minutes for a flat rate of $16, Port of Miami in 20 minutes for $24, or South Beach in 20 minutes for $32.<br /> <br /> Beyond the flat-rate zones, fares are determined by meters: $6.90 for the first mile and $2.40 for each additional mile. Waiting time is 40 cents per minute.<br /> <br /> Your Own Wheels <br /> <br /> Cruise up the coast. Head out to the Everglades. Storm the megamall.Or track down that hot new restaurant. Greater Miami is one of the easiest, most affordable places to rent a car. The convenient new Rental <br /> <br /> Car Center, just east of the airport terminal, brings all the big-name rental agencies under one roof. The facility can serve 28,000 customers per day, and it can wash and refuel 300 vehicles per hour, with 42 car-wash bays and 120 gas pumps.<br /> <br /> Until the new MIA Mover tram goes online, exit the terminal on the lower level and look for the circulating white buses marked “Rental Car Shuttle.” <br /> <br /> Public Transportation <br /> <br /> Metrobus, Metrorail and Metromover provide low-cost alternatives to taxis and rental cars. Metrorail, the 22-mile, 22-station commuter rail line, runs like a transit spine from Hialeah south to Downtown Miami south to Dadeland. In 2012, a new rail link connects Miami Intermodal Center directly to Metrorail.<br /> <br /> Metrobus operates more than 90 routes with close to 1,000 buses covering 41 million miles per year. Beaches and other tourist favorites are especially well served. Equipped with luggage racks, a new Airport Flyer express bus runs every 30 minutes from MIA to South Beach via 41st Street and Collins Avenue. Fliers heading downtown or elsewhere can transfer to Metrorail at the Earlington Heights station.<br /> <br /> Metromover, a 4.4-mile tram that loops around Downtown Miami, interconnects with Metrorail and Metrobus. Cars run every few minutes and stop every few blocks, and the service is free.<br /> <br /> Most Metrobus and Metrorail trips cost $2, and the preferred payment method is a pre-paid, rechargeable Easy card. Airport Flyer and other expresses are $2.35. Shuttles are 25 cents. Buses accept dollar bills, quarters, dimes and nickels, but the train accepts only the card, which can be purchased at stations. An unlimited daily pass is $5, weekly pass is $26, and monthly pass is $100.<br /> <br /> Find maps and schedules at the airport in the information center by Concourse E. Buy an Easy card and find computerized transit information in the bus-waiting room, on the lower level near short-term parking. Browse miamidade.gov/transit/mobile from your mobile device, or speak with an agent at 305/891-3131.<br /> <br /> DecoBike <br /> <br /> A green way to get around Miami Beach is the DecoBike sharing program, giving locals and visitors 18 years or older easy access to beach cruisers at 100 solar-powered DecoStations, found at decobike.com or by downloading the app.<br /> <br /> Riders can check out from any station and return to any station. Visitors can swipe a credit card and rental rates range from $5 an hour to $24 for eight hours.<br /> <br /> TO READ ABOUT GREATER MIAMI AND THE BEACHES' TOP TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES, TURN TO PAGE 181 IN THE "BEST OF" SECTION.
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