We tried this cheap-as-chips option out right after it launched, and were surprised at how easy—and fast—it was. Now that we live in South Beach, the Flyer is our go-to way of getting to the airport. We've seen some confused souls at MIA and on the bus, trying to figure things out, and the bus drivers are not the friendliest bunch on the beach. But, really, the Flyer is quite simple, and we hope to see more peeps taking it from MIA (keeping off the roads where the crazy reign).
Here's how it works:
Check the Route and Schedule: Both are available here. Buses occasionally run on "Miami time," so don't be alarmed if you're waiting a few extra minutes at the MIA bus terminal. Buses tend to leave the beach in the other direction on time.
In short, this is an express route between MIA and South Beach (16th Street and Collins Ave aka right outside the Loews Miami Beach Hotel). It takes 20–30 minutes and stops all the way along Collins, servicing all the big-name hotels, from the W South Beach to the Delano. (If you are staying below 16th Street, you can jump off there and switch to the South Beach Local for just 25 cents, or walk.)
The Flyer even stops on 41st Street, creating an economical way to get to nearby Soho Beach House and the Fontainebleau. The bus makes one stop between the beach and the airport, at the Earlington Heights metro-rail station.
Find the Bus Terminal at MIA: This took us awhile the first time, because when you exit Concourse D, your only options seem to be cabs and the parking station. The bus terminal is located right outside Concourse E, which is where people exit customs. Another marker? That '80s relic, "Hotel MIA".
How to Pay: The best part of the Flyer is that it's just $2.35 each way. However, you need exact change to pay on the bus. The drivers have no sympathy for foreign travelers who have just landed with their odd currency and lone US ten dollar bill. They'll make you get off the bus. So, prepare your singles and coins in advance. Or, you can buy an EasyCard inside the bus terminal, at a kiosk. A 1-Day Pass is $7 (that's $5 plus a $2 charge for the card itself), or you can buy weekly and monthly versions, or simply choose your own monetary value to plump up your card.
We strongly recommend you buy your EasyCard at MIA when you're there. Weirdly, there is now just one place you can buy them in the heart of South Beach, and it's at the back counter of a local drug store where people are paying their bills. Go with the automatic kiosk at MIA and save yourself the bother.
That's the Flyer in a nutshell. The bus runs in both directions from about 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. If you're staying anywhere on or near Collins Avenue, the ride is a breeze.
Just be prepared to barge your way off the bus at MIA if necessary. Last time we took the Flyer, a bunch of locals decided to enter the Flyer via the back door (ie: without paying), blocking both bus exits.
That one incident aside, we've jumped the Flyer many times since its debut and found it safe, efficient, and as convenient as an airport bus can be.
Bienvenido a Miami!
[Route map: Miami-Dade County Transit]