Jamaica is known for its dangerous roads and aggressive drivers, which makes tourists wary of getting behind the wheel during their trip to Kingston. Fortunately, taxis are big business on the island, and with Kingston being such a popular tourist center, you can be sure to find a taxi whenever you're in need of a ride.
When you arrive in Kingston, you'll find that the taxis services here are just a bit different than what you're likely to find back home. In fact, the government sanctions two different types of taxi services, known respectively as charter taxis and route taxis.
The premise behind charter taxis is probably an idea you're familiar with. This taxi will pick up one person or a group that is traveling together, and transport them privately to their requested location for one fee that can be split up amongst everyone in the vehicle. You'll recognize charter taxis by the red license plates.
Route taxis, on the other hand, operate more like a bus service on a smaller scale. These taxis charge per person, make stops to pick up passengers along a set route (though they are slightly more flexible than a public bus would be), and continue to allow guests to get in until the taxi is full. These taxis are singled out by their white license plates.
Look for the letters “PP” or “PPV” on the license plates to be sure that you are riding in a licensed and insured taxi. Some locals will take it upon themselves to pick up tourists and drive them from place to place just to earn a few extra bucks. This can be a dangerous choice, even if it is cheaper.
You'll find the highest concentration of taxis at the airports, beaches, shopping centers, resorts, and major attractions. Kingston sees many taxis travel its streets because there are many attractions in the area, but if you can't find one when you're out and about, you can call and have one pick you up.
You can take a look at this next chart to help you call a local cab company whenever you are needing a ride.
|(876) 929-5153||12 Retirement Cres - 1.0 mi. (1.6 km) South-Southeast of Kingston|
|(876) 929-8294||Shop 13 2B Rousseau Rd - 1.1 mi. (1.7 km) South of Kingston|
|(876) 922-6444||19 Connolley Ave - Kingston|
|(876) 758-3339||70 1/2 Molynes Road - 1.3 mi. (2.0 km) Northwest of Kingston|
|(876) 755-2220||22 Dunrobin Ave - Kingston|
|(876) 930-2012||26 1/2 Giltress Street - Kingston|
|(876) 969-7633||94A Red Hills Road - 1.5 mi. (2.4 km) East of Kingston|
|(876) 923-7253||81A Molynes Road - 1.4 mi. (2.2 km) Northwest of Kingston|
|(876) 758-4135||96 1/2 Waltham Park Rd - Kingston|
|(876) 925-5227||60 Whitehall Avenue - Kingston|
|(876) 968-4780||12 Burlington Avenue - 0.6 mi. (0.9 km) Northwest of Kingston|
|(876) 758-2028||81a Molynes Road - 0.6 mi. (0.9 km) North of Kingston|
|(876) 610-9748||17 1/2 Molynes Road - Kingston|
... call and have one pick you up...
Taxi drivers in Kingston are good for more than getting you from Point A to Point B. Many have been trained as tour guides, and have certification with the Jamaican Tourist Board as members of the Jamaica Union of Travellers Association (JUTA). When you see your driver carrying this certification, you know that he or she has been taught about all of the island's most important sites and can offer you a wealth of knowledge as you make your way around. Ask for a tour and your driver will set out a time for you to meet again, work to prepare a tour route specific to your interests, and take you around for one set fee.
In Kingston you'll discover that route taxi rates have been set in advance by the government, while charter taxis can set prices on their own, but are still required to present their prices in advance. Even if you know the rate, make sure to confirm the rate with your driver, and ask which type of currency he accepts. As a general rule, route drivers only accept Jamaican Dollars, while charters are open to U.S. money.
Because every charter company puts out separate prices, you can't know exactly how much your trip will be unless you call in advance, however, this chart will give you a general idea of how much you'll spend.
|Miles Travelled||Estimated Fare|
|Base Fee||$2.95 (USD)|
|To / From Montego Bay (Private Car)||$260 (USD)|
|1 Mile||$8.59 (USD)|
|2 Miles||$14.03 (USD)|
|3 Miles||$19.57 (USD)|
|4 Miles||$25.11 (USD)|
|5 Miles||$30.65 (USD)|
|10 Miles||$58.35 (USD)|
|15 Miles||$86.05 (USD)|
|20 Miles||$113.75 (USD)|
|25 Miles||$141.45 (USD)|
|30 Miles||$169.15 (USD)|
Want to know what taxi rides cost? See this set of examples.
|Typical Cost (USD)||Location A||Location B|
|$ 60.00||Norman Manley International Airport||Downtown Kingston|
|$ 275.00||Norman Manley International Airport||Negril|
|$ 150.00||Norman Manley International Airport||Ocho Rios|
|$ 235.00||Norman Manley International Airport||Montego Bay|
On an island where driving conditions are not great, taxis are a great way for tourists to get around. Arrive prepared for the differences you're likely to experience and you are sure to take on the changes with ease.
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