How to travel through Miami on a budget

To freshman Sergio Castro-Rachmacy, nothing is more frustrating than the sound of the Metrorail screeching away as he ascends the concrete steps onto the platform a few seconds too late. He may have to wait up to 35 minutes until the metro’s next departure, and his evening plans are now unfortunately delayed.

Without a car, getting around Miami can be a bit of a hassle. There are many alternative modes of transportation to choose from, and they all come with their unique advantages and pitfalls. Which way of getting around is best? According to Castro-Rachmacy, it all depends on the individual’s priorities.

“Most college students are on a budget,” he said. “I try and be efficient and travel in the most practical way. The metro is cheap, and if I’m going to be traveling around all day, the $5.25 day pass is totally worth it.”

The Metrorail’s regular fare is $2.25 and it is accessible right across from the University of Miami’s campus, with stops at popular student destinations like Brickell, Coconut Grove, South Miami and Dadeland Mall.

Using the metro can be an easy, inexpensive way to get around, but not always the most luxurious.

“Sometimes it’s crowded and dirty and a few times people have tried to sell me things. Its not that bad, but not always as comfortable as other means of getting around,” Rachmacy said.

For Freshman John Lee, using the metro is usually not his top choice. He makes use of his subscription to ZipCar, where he can rent a vehicle located right in the Hecht parking lot.

“Using my ZipCar, I can put groceries in the trunk and not have to lug stuff around everywhere. I like using the cars for group outings because then I can split the rent with other people,” he said.

According to Lee, ZipCars are great because students can travel comfortably and avoid the expense and hassle of gas, insurance, and maintenance, which are included in the renting fee.

However, he notes there are several negatives.

“Sometimes the ZipCars are reserved by other people during the period of time I want to use it. Also, you have to pay by the hour, so it can get expensive if you want to go someplace and spend the day. Honestly some situations would be better to use Uber because it’s stressful to drive down here in Miami and Coral Gables.”

For this reason, among others, car services like Uber have become popular options with students on campus. You can call for and pay for the service right through the app on your phone and the Uber app alerts you to how long you will have to wait.

However, if you are not going too far, utilizing the school’s free Hurry’Canes shuttle or Ibis Ride might be the more economical choice.

Using the University of Miami App, you can check to see what times the shuttle busses are going to arrive. However, when using any form of public transportation, wait times can still be longer then expected. The Hurry’Canes Shuttles are a very convenient, safe way to get around, but are not guaranteed to be going to your destination at the desired time, so plan ahead!

Where your priorities for travel lie – cost, comfort, convenience – will affect your decision of how to get around. But before you end up late and frustrated to wherever you want to go, think about your many options and make an informed decision that’s best for you.