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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Transportation in Jamaica

Getting around in Jamaica is not sometimes the easiest thing to do. Some of the more adventurous travelers (tourist) sometimes even rent bikes to go into the high mountain areas. I remember someone asking me once do they have trains in Jamaica. Of course their are trains in Jamaica. However not more so to carry the Bauxite. In 1992 Passenger trains ceased operation. Although I have heard talk, due to the congestion with the cars the government is looking into bringing back rail operations.

Now cars of course are the best way of transportation around the island, and potholes are vehicles best friends. Rural areas have the worst upkeep history. Their are some roads that not only are still not paved, but are so underdeveloped that even the donkey is afraid to go there. Jamaica also has very little stoplights in the rural areas. I suggest bringing Dramamine or some other nausea medication for traveling country roads. They are known to be quite bumpy and sometimes can be very narrow. Riddle of the day if you are traveling on a narrow country road and another vehicle is approaching you, which vehicle has the right a way.

The answer is the one going down the hill, because that vehicle cannot back up. Though we do have many adventurous drivers in Jamaica. So even that answer may be a challenge.

One of the more cheaper or should I say "economical" ways of visiting Jamaica is by taking the bus. Their are daily excursions from many of the popular hotels to the attractions on the island. Local people use the buses sometimes to carry their wares to the marketplace. Jamaica has mini bus or robot. This is the bus that many of the "higglers," use.

Route Taxis are another way of getting around. However, if you are a tourist it is probably advisable make sure you get a "licensed taxi." Route taxis generally run between specific places, but if you're in the central taxi hub for a town you'll be able to find taxis going in any of the directions you need to go.

Route taxis don't run very far, so if you need to get half way across the island you'll need to take it in stages. If worst comes to worst, just keep repeating your final destination to all the people who ask where you're going and they'll put you in the right car and send you on your way. You may have to wait until the taxi has enough passengers to make the trip worthwhile for the driver, and many route taxis travel with far more people in them than a Westerner would ever guess was possible. If you have luggage with you, you may have to pay an extra fare for your luggage since you're taking up space that would otherwise be sold to another passenger.

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Jamaican -American style taxi
unlicensed Jamaican taxi

Becoming a fast form of transportation in Jamaica

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