Traveling by public transportation is a great way to explore Jamaica. An extensive transportation network links virtually every village and comprises several options. These range from standard public buses to private taxis, with minibuses and route taxis in between.
Below you find a list of all available transportation options, along with advice from our community.
Route taxis are the most efficient way to travel in Jamaica. Cars with a red licence plate are officially registered with the Transport Authority. Please use them and avoid unlicensed taxis. The route of each taxi is usually printed on the sides of the car, but you’ll also hear them shouting their destination while trying to pick up passengers. Route taxis run for about 100JMD ($1) every 5 miles or so and you’ll see them everywhere on the island.
Keep in mind that your driver will pick up others along the way until the car is completely full. Expect frequent stops and up to four in the back seat. Depending on where you wish to go, you may need more than one route taxi to reach your destination.
You can wave down a route taxi by simply giving a hand signal. Although it’s not allowed for them to stop in certain places to pick up passengers (especially in cities), they might still make that stop for you. In the countryside it’s less of a problem, and they usually stop everywhere.
“Find out the route taxi fare from a local person before getting in the taxi because sometimes they try to overcharge you.”
Charter taxis – also called private or tourist taxis – are much more costly but also abundantly available. These will run for about 10000-13000JMD ($80-100) per hour. Remember to agree on a price, before getting in a private taxi, to prevent misunderstandings. Prices can be quoted in both, Jamaican or US Dollars.
Minibuses / Coasters
They have been the traditional workhorses of Jamaica’s regional public transportation system. All major towns and virtually every village in the country are served. Public coasters don’t run to set timetables, but depart from their point of origin when they’re full.
“Get early on your coaster bus to catch a good seat, bring snacks, and remember that only women are allowed in the front seat. Have your money ready and in your hand. Be smelling fresh and clean (everyone else will be). Relax into the squish and enjoy!”
Please be aware that they are often overflowing and driving very fast. Coaster buses get paid based on how many people they transport in a certain time.
JUTC City bus
Kingston’s municipal bus system operates a fleet of Mercedes-Benz and Volvo buses. These buses stop only at official stops and fares are 100 JMD for adults. You can view the timetable for each route on www.jutc.com, but please be aware that delays are common. Especially during rush hours in Kingston, you might have to wait a little.
The Knutsford Express
A worthwhile exception are the big comfortable, air-conditioned buses of Knutsford Express. Destinations include Kingston, Port Antonio, Ocho Rios, Falmouth, Montego Bay, Negril, Savanna-la-Mar, Sant Acruz and Mandeville. Sample fares/times are Kingston–Ocho Rios (J$1750, 3h), Kingston–Montego Bay (J$2700, 4h). Online booking is available, along with student, senior and child fares. For tickets visit www.knutsfordexpress.com