Transportation In Jamaica
Top Tips & Cautions
Transportation In Jamaica
by Keisha Stewart
If you press I me I'd say this... When making arrangements to travel around Jamaica its best to stick with the official means, such as a tour company, rented vehicle or the shuttle to your intended hotel. The Knutsford Express Company also provides a reliable, comfortable and hassle free way to travel around the island via several main towns and resort towns.
If you crave adventure, try the public transport, but remember Word’s 80’s hit entitled “Two White Girls On a Minibus”.
- The state run Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) operates in the Cooperate Area (Kingston & St. Andrew), St. Catherine and St. James.
The distinctive yellow busses are known locally as “chi-chi bus” and are usually air conditioned, relatively inexpensive but crowded. They operate from 6am to 10/11pm.
- Rural areas are served by mini buses or coaster buses. The journey commences at a transport center (this is where buses/route taxis park and enthusiastically shout their destination).
They are actually supposed to cue and wait their turn but that hardly happens. Passengers are usually squeezed together.
- There is of course your regular hackney carriage, particularly in Kingston and St. Andrew which takes you wherever you want to go at a fee.
- Next you have the government approved route taxis which make round trips between two predetermined points for example, Negril to Savanna – la – mar, for a fixed, reasonable rate.
- And then you have the unlicensed taxi operators, locally referred to as ‘robots’.
They serve their purposes but are considered to be the more risky, for obvious reasons. They are easy to spot:
No red licences plate
No yellow lighted TAXI sign
No black and white chequered markings on the sides
No destination label on the front doors
Driver wears no uniform
No photo ID for the driver prominently displayed.
General Tips On Transportation In Jamaica
- Rates can be obtained from taxi companies, the Transport Authority, the Ministry of Transport and the front desk of the property at which you stay.
- Never set off without prior knowledge of the rates as you may be overcharged – significantly!
- Have Jamaican money in small denominations such as $100, $500 and $1000 notes. Avoid $5000 notes.
- Take sunscreen and umbrellas as most transport centres have no designated waiting area.
- Read the destination on the side of each taxi or bus, locate the driver and ensure that he/she is actually going where the sign says.
- Dress comfortably; not all units have a functioning air conditioning system.
- Be prepared to wait. Drivers of the rural taxis for example, will usually say ‘one an ready’ meaning they will leave if they get another passenger; don’t be fooled by this ploy.
- Have fun, even during the travel, there is always a lot to see in and around Jamaica.
That said, if you are not familiar with the out and about of Jamaica, I recommend that you consider a trusted, experienced tour guide. And I have a great one to recommend! Click Here to read more or contact him.
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A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' - since April 2007.
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