The Segmental Info System
Taxis are one of the most popular ways for travelers to get out and see Jamaica. The ease of having someone who knows the area and the country's driving laws will enable you to relax and enjoy your trip. Taxis are typically the best way for vacationers to get around. Still, a little preparation will ensure your taxi trips go off without a hitch.
You'll find many types of rides, but all of the official taxis in Jamaica are members of the Jamaican Union of Travellers Association, or JUTA. These are officially licensed cabs and drivers, and their license plates will be red and display "PP" or "PPV," which stand for Public Passenger Vehicle. Rogue or "pirate" taxi services are also available, but visitors are discouraged from using these.
Another type of taxi available in Jamaica is the "route taxi" or shared taxi. These taxis are a cross between a taxi and a bus, operating on short, around-town routes with many people. The fares are set between bus and traditional taxi fares.
Although technically all taxis in Jamaica are metered, drivers rarely, if ever, use them. This means you'll want to negotiate the price, and the currency with which you'll pay, before you get into the cab. Metered fares should be posted inside the taxi. You can ask a driver for a copy if you don't see one. When negotiating the price, begin by offering half the price the driver has asked. Once you get a feeling for the area and the bargaining, you will be better equipped for negotiation.
Fares are rarely cheap—around $20(USD) for every 10 miles—but will almost always be higher if you are using a taxi that is licensed to a hotel. However, tips may be unnecessary once a fare is agreed upon. When tipping for a metered ride, give between 10 percent and 12 percent of the fare. Fares will be 25 percent higher between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
|Negril||Fares around town should be approximately $4(USD) or $5(USD). Don't ride with drivers who ask for too much.|
|Kingston||Fares are per car, not per passenger, and negotiation is a must. Taxis are the most reliable transportation in the city.|
|Montego Bay||Taxis are the most reliable transportation in the city. Most cabs are found along Gloucester Avenue.|
|Port Antonio||Fares in the area are approximately $15(USD) to $20(USD). Taxis are often older vehicles.|
Many people call ahead and reserve cabs to take them from the airport to their hotel. Because Jamaica is so large, this can be a pricey endeavor, so it is best to plan ahead. Check the chart below for an idea of the rates you'll be expected to pay.
|Montego Bay Airport||Montego Bay Hotels||$35(USD)
|Montego Bay Airport||Tyrall Hotels||$60(USD)
|Monteg Bay Airport
||Runaway Bay Hotels||$115(USD)
|Kingston Airport||Kingston Hotels||$60(USD)|
|Kingston Airport||Ocho Rios||$150(USD)|
Travelers can take taxis on sightseeing tours. Remember to negotiate for a fare the same way you would on a regular around-town taxi ride. Fares for an all-day taxi tour can range from $100(USD) to $180(USD), depending on how far the tour takes you. When preparing for an all-day tour, you will want to make sure that you've chosen a driver you like and trust. It may be best to develop a rapport with your driver, even when staying at a hotel that has licensed taxi drivers.
On an island as big as Jamaica, renting a car may be a more effective means of getting around. But, the road conditions are not the best, and it can be a bit confusing trying to get from place to place. This is why many tourists opt for taxis even though the prices can get steep. Buses are another option. Though not the most reliable, they are the most affordable.
For tourists who prefer to leave the driving up to someone who knows their stuff, taxis in Jamaica are the best choice. They are easy to find, they come when you call, and they get you where you need to go.
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