Bus transport in Barbados is fast and efficient. It renders car hire useless. The points of interest are covered plus some curious low points in the middle of nowhere. Backing up into some meadow in order to turn around is quite the trick. All the stops are marked either “to Town” or “out of Town” which tells everything one needs to know. The fare is a dollar but buses can get overcrowded on work days. Sundays are another matter – the vehicles are practically empty and one can see mostly church goers being shipped around. This is a thrill in its own considering that the ladies have kept their elaborate hats as part of the tradition. One might think that he is in another century and another Earth location if it were not for the bus and the sugar cane.
Remeber what your area of residence is and do not think that the name on the ticket is the name of your bus stop - it is everything else but that.
Barbados has a great public bus system. Use it if you can. We hired a taxi for the airport to Bathsheba (which is probably best), but took the public bus from Bathsheba, to Bridgetown, then later to airport. Also, the mini bus connecting the South Coast is great.
My vote would be. . . No. Barbados has an extensive bus system that will take ou anywhere on the island and there are an abundance of cabs. Unless there is somewhere you specifically want to go, I beleive part of the joy of Barbados is being able to get on the bus/van and just travel as the locals do. However, it is up to you. I have been there 6 times and have never rented a car. I enjoy the freedom of not having to deal with left-hand driving and finding a parking spot. Car rental in Barbados is also pretty expensive.
There are three types of public transportation available: Transport Board Buses, Minibuses and ZRs.
This is a Barbados Transport Board bus. The BTB is a government owned and funded public transport system and provides a regular scheduled bus service to all parts of the island. Buses run from as early as 6:00 a.m and to as late as 12:00 p.m. But in the evening and in some areas you can wait hours for the bus. When you do get one though, you are more likely to get a seat since they are bigger. The bus fare is BDS$1.50 per ride for adults and BDs $1.00 for school children. All the photos I have are of the BTB buses.
The Minibus system is privately operated system with selected routes. Minibuses are painted bright yellow with a blue stripe. Bus destinations are usually displayed on the bottom left-hand corner of the windscreen. Minibuses are more reliable, but the drivers squeeze everybody possible aboard, so the minibuses are often overloaded.
ZRs are privately owned vans that are usually white with a maroon stripe. They run selected routes from 1-11. To find out which ZR runs which route look at the number on it or look at the sign in the bottom left-hand corner. The fare is also BDS$1.50. They are sometimes called 'route taxis'
.. just like the mini buses, the drivers and conductors try to squeeze in as many people as possible in the van and sometimes, in some of the so called "bashment vans", they practise "doubling up" which means sitting down on top of people so there could be more room in the van..
If you are claustrophobic or have a nervous stomach, it would not be wise for you to catch a ZR because at times they drive really quickly and sometimes the van can be packed with people.
You can travel to Barbados from a number of different islands by flying Caribbean Star. This airline specialises in the eastern Caribbean and Guyana.
You might have to make a stop here and there, but overall it was a convenient way to get around. Make sure you're at the front of the queue ahead of boarding because there is no allocated seating (i.e. you find your own) and you might end up getting separated on board. One-way flights (including taxes) were less than USD$100.
We flew into Barbados from Trinidad and St. Vincent.
There's a few modes of transportation in Barbados.There is a bus system if you have lots of time. Cabs are quick but can be costly.Then there is what they call a route cab. Along the south shore from Bridgetown to the airport you can wave down or they will honk if they see you walking. They are white vans with the plale number starting with ZR. Just jump on and off anywhere along the route.Costs 1.50$ Barbados. Or about .80cents $American. Their fast and usually packed. They will squeeze you in somehow.
They have buses on the west coast that do the same thing. Price is higher.If I remember right they are yellow buses with a blue strip along the side.
If you want the freedom of exploring the island at your own pace, then renting a car might be the choice for you. Many rental companies exist across the island and will arrange for cars to be brought to and collected from your hotel.
Hire cars are easy to spot out on the roads - license plates begin with the letter H.
Barbados is a highly accessible island by public transport. Those buses you see around the island that are blue with a yellow stripe are government owned. Regardless of whether you board a government or privately owned bus, the flat fare in operation in February 2009 was B$1.50 for a single journey.
Most routes operate to/from Bridgetown although there are a small number of routes which operate cross-island, including Sam Lord's Castle to Speightstown and Speightstown to Bathsheba. The bus terminal in Bridgetown can be found at Fairchild Street.
Bus stop signs indicate the direction of the route, i.e. to or from city (Bridgetown).
Government buses operate an 'exact fare only' scheme - which means they don't offer change, so make sure you have the right money!
Route Taxis, also known as ZRs, ply similar routes to those use by the public transport buses around the island, as well as additional, less frequented routes. ZRs are one of the most common forms of public transport around the island and are easily seen, generally having a colour-scheme of white with maroon; they often play loud music or use a musical horn. Their license plates usually start with the letters ZR. ZR's run more frequently than buses do and run until much later at night making it a favourite amongst Barbados' visitors who like to party.
A black circle at the front of the van carries the number of the route - which is the same route number used by the Government and privately owned buses.
ZRs often pile people in the vans in an attempt to make more money with passengers asked to "double up" which mean sitting on laps in order to fit as many people as possible.
ZRs operate the same flat fare system as buses with single journeys costing B$1.50 (correct at February 2009).
Many taxi services operate around the island of Barbados. It is best to agree a price with the driver prior to commencing your journey. The website below contains a list of average journey prices.
Taxis provide a convenient way of journeying between two destinations but are a more expensive form of transport.
Two sorts of buses ply the Barbados public transport trade, those which are yellow with a blue stripe are privately owned and tend to be more entertaining than the blue with yellow stripe Government owned buses.
Whichever bus you board, the flat fare in operation in February 2009 was B$1.50 - making either a good budget choice. Most routes run to/from Bridgetown, although a small number of cross-island routes do exist.
For our recent vacation in Barbados we rented a car. I would say that this experience was a success, but I have much to say about it. We are used to left hand drive cars. They are not so different from the right hand drive cars except that everything is reversed and if you have never done it before I would recommend having your partner or a navigator in the car with you to remind you of where you are and where you should be going. The maps of the roads are not clear and the roundabouts are confusing to say the least. Renting a car gives you mobility and is worth the expense especially if you don't have much time to wait for buses and learn the ropes. Just wear your seat belts and be alert. The roads do not have much in the way of shoulders and the main roads sometimes have drainage ditches 4-6 feet deep right by the side of the road and no rental company will cover you for tires and wheels if you "pop" one..Not to mention the pedestrians and bycycles that are trying to get by! Slow and steady as you go. Your licence plate lets people know that you are a tourist. Street signs and highway signs are very poor as well. A relaxed and forgiving attitude will help. I recommend air conditioning and automatic transmission. Only very relaxed and unworried people should start out with the Mokes.. Most people who rent them have been on the island before and aren't worried about losing their stuff or having no doors and windows., or getting wet.
Early early August is the end of our CropOver Festival with Kadooment Day (like Carnival) happening on the first Monday in August. Flights just before that are not cheap. later in August you might find better fares, except that 2 things happend. Students/families who have been in England all summer will be returning as schools beginning in early September. and Students who are going to England to study will be leaving in late august (I believe) to return to england. So pick your dates carefully.
There are several kinds of buses all quite reasonable in price. All routes are marked by bus stops which say "TO CITY" for buses that are going to Bridgetown or "Out Of City" for buses going the other direction.
The problem is that Bridgetown is the hub of all the routes. So if you want to go from say Bathsheba to Folkestone, you have to go to Bridgetown and transfer, and this may take some considerable time.
Or if you want to use buses, you could stay closer to the center of the action instead of way out in Bathsheba like we did.
Note Since they drive on the left, you will get the bus on the opposite side of the road that you would think.
We arrived in Barbados late and took a taxi to the hotel. This was just as well because out on the east coast it's really dark at night and we'd never have found our way there by ourselves. The rental car folks delivered the car to us at the hotel the next morning. They had all the paperwork, including the documents necessary for us to get a Bajan driver's license which is necessary to have to drive in Barbados ($10 extra). We dropped the car off at the airport before the office was open in the morning when we left.
We had a wonderful time driving all over the island even though they drive on the left, and at first Bob tried to shift using the window winder.
Since November was the rainy season, we didn't rent an open topped car, but the one the next level up. If you have a surfboard you can only rent a jeep or a moke.
The arrangements for the rental were made through the Edgewater Inn. We rented from Top Hat, and I think it was about $300 for a week for a manuel transmission car.
Enterprise Coast Rd, , Barbados, Caribbean
Good for: Business
Rockley Beach 1, Christ Church, Caribbean
Good for: Solo
Tent Bay, St. Joseph, Bathsheba, Barbados, Caribbean
Good for: Business