Jamaica's visitors can choose to ride buses as one of the most economical options for getting around the island and its cities. However, if punctuality and climate control top your list, the savings may not be worth the time you'll spend waiting for the bus to arrive. For the traveler in search of a cultural experience you can't find inside the perimeter of the resort compound, buses are the ideal mode of transit.
Fares on buses and minibuses are extremely low, approximately $1(USD) for 50 miles by bus, and between roughly $1.50 and $2.50(USD) for the same distance on a minibus. A minibus around Negril offers rides across town for $2(USD) all day and into the night. Still, there is more for the intrepid traveler to learn about buses in Jamaica.
Buses and minibuses throughout the Caribbean are not known for their timeliness, and those in Jamaica are no exception. Outside the city of Kingston travelers may find it difficult to meet buses because the drivers may not follow a strict schedule. Still, the frequency of bus services and their ability to pick up and drop off passengers from just about anywhere around the island makes them very useful. Some buses may pick up passengers literally from the side of the road, though this is not allowed within cities, where buses are restricted to designated stops and terminals.
When traveling by bus in Jamaica, a traveler's cultural journey is usually more interesting than the physical trip around the city or the island. Passengers can delight in the many colorful names that mark the sides of the vehicles. Drivers often allow buses to be packed quite full, and, without air conditioning, you'll be certain to have experienced more than a little local flavor.
|Route||Beginning||Stops Along the Route||End|
|JUTC Above Rocks Route||Kingston Bus Terminal||Above Rocks Bus Stop|
|JUTC Constant Spring Route||Kingston Bus Terminal||Constant Spring Bus Stop|
|JUTC Hellshire Route||Kingston Bus Terminal||Hellshire Bus Stop|
|JUTC Port Royal Route||Kingston Bus Terminal||Port Royal Bus Terminal|
|JUTC Portmore Route||Kingston Bus Terminal||Portmore Bus Terminal|
|JUTC Spanish Town Route||Kingston Bus Terminal||Spanish Town Bus Terminal|
|Knutsford Express Southern Route||Knutsford Express Kingston Terminal||Savanna la Mar Knutsford Express Bus Terminal, Knutsford Express Mandeville Terminal, Luana Knutsford Express||Knutsford Express Negril Terminal|
|Montego Bay Metro Eastbound Route||Montego Bay Bus Terminal||Mahee Bay Bus Stop, Rose Hall Bus Stop||Greenwood Bus Stop|
|Montego Bay Southbound Route||Montego Bay Bus Terminal||Reading Bus Stop, Wiltshire Bus Stop, Mount Carey Bus Stop, Montpeller Bus Stop||Cambridge Bus Stop|
|Montego Bay Metro Westbound Route||Montego Bay Bus Terminal||Reading Bus Stop, Hopewell Bus Stop||Sandy Bay Bus Stop|
|Knutsford Express Main Route||Montego Bay Knutsford Express Terminal||Knutsford Express Falmouth Terminal, Knutsford Express Ocho Rios Terminal||Knutsford Express Kingston Terminal|
When considering a ride in a bus or minibus in Jamaica, make sure you use a bus operated by the Jamaican Union of Travellers Association, or JUTA. These will be indicated by a red Public Passenger Vehicle (PPV) license plate. Also remember to ask the price before climbing aboard.
In some areas, bus service is better than others. Here are a few guidelines to help you get around Jamaica with ease:
In Negril, shuttles at resorts often move their passengers around the city, leaving little need for public transportation; however, a minibus drives up and down the central Boulevard all day.
Public buses in Montego Bay are practically nonexistent, but tourist shuttles are maintained for use by the guests of certain hotels.
Kingston's streets are wild, and bus transportation is no better. When using Kingston's buses, watch for pickpockets.
Port Antonio's visitors can flag down a minibus for a cheap ride. They operate throughout town, but their schedules are erratic.
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