Jitney Bus, Nassau
Our hotel was situated on Cable Beach, which is about a 15 minute drive from the main part of Nassau. Nassau has a great bus transportation system using small buses called Jitneys. If you're staying on Cable Beach you'll take the #10 bus to Downtown. The best thing about these buses is that it's only $1 per person each way, while the taxi would be $12 each way. Not all Jitneys are created equal. Some are quite old, dented and dirty. One even had a WRENCH to open the door from the inside! All buses had those pine-tree shaped air fresheners. Don't take the Jitney if you're claustrophobic. They can pack you in like sardines. But it's a great value if you're on a budget.
Jitney's are small minibuses that can carry about 20 or so people and cost a set price of $1 for any single journey. They are very useful if you're staying on Cable Beach for getting in/out of downtown Nassau (No's 10 & 10A). They terminate on the corner of Frederick St and Bay St near the Straw Market. My only gripe with them is that they stop at 7 or 8pm which means you have to take a taxi back if spending the night in Nassau.
Hey for only a $1 the Jitney is the way to go. Of course, you have to wait until 9 a.m. to take the Jitney around Nassau. The Jitney ends at 7 p.m. For a $1, you can't go wrong. Taxicabs can be a little expensive, unless you are going to share it with others. The Jitney will stop almost anywhere you wave it down lol.
There are two different buses in this picture of rush hour on Bay Street in Nassau. The one on the right is a school bus - just like ordinary school buses. On the left is one of the jitney buses which run all over the island during the day. These buses are quite cheap - about $1 to ride to the end of the line. Since Bay Street is one way, if you want to get downtown from East Bay Street you have to go over to the street that is one way the other way.
To hail a jitney bus, you do a kind of reverse wave. Hold your hand up like you want to be called on in class, and move your hand forward toward the bus driver.
I wish I had come on my own instead of with a cruise, but the cruise was paid for and I'm not one to complain about such things! :-)
As I mentioned, we rode buses all day long! We had so much fun! On one bus, we we were treated to a bus driver that happened to be playing gospel music and singing out 'Hallelujah'. The twist? It was reggae gospel! Before you knew it, the whole bus was singing along :-) On another bus, the driver cut through a parking lot and we got to see up close just how cranky the officers can be haha
Before I went on my cruise to Nassau I did a lot of research about the trip, such as where the buses are, what bus to take to get where, etc. BUT, I can not stress enough that research is very hard to apply when stepping off of a boat into a place you have never been before. When I first arrived, I looked up and down the street after getting past the 'hair ladies' and felt clueless. The very best thing to do if you don't want to be clueless is to start talking to the locals AS SOON as you can. They are usually friendly and helpful (don't be scared, they don't bite, lol). I asked a nice man on the street where the buses run, where the bus I wanted could be found, and where it would take me. He was very nice and helpful. Also, when I couldn't quite figure out the next street to turn onto, I asked another nice man, and he actually walked me to where I needed to go. Also, when you get on the bus, ask to make sure it is a dollar. I've heard fake buses coming around and charging more, and the taxis in Nassau look just like Jitneys.
Major form of transportation around Nassau are jitney buses that seat about twenty-five(?) passengers. They ran rather frequently and fairs were a dollar each way. The downfall..many of the routes go out of service early in the evening, making it necessary to take cabs...which necessitated fare negotiations.
When you get on the bus, be quick about it. It seems to be considered rude to take a long time getting on the bus. One Bahamian man hopped on the bus but his friend was a little slow getting on, so the bus driver left him behind! The man and the driver had a big argument. It made me feel a little guilty because I found it to be a little entertaining. I could only understand half of what was said (they had thick accents), but the man who's friend was left kept saying, "Hey mon, why ya not stop for me friend, mon". The buses are always in a hurry, and drive very fast.
Bus number 10 is by far the cheapest tourist attraction in Nassau! For $1.50, it can take you anywhere between downtown Nassau and Gambier Village (on the west side of New Providence Island) along West Bay Street.
The scenery is beautiful the entire way and includes beaches, palm trees, luxury homes and hotels (including the entire Cable Beach resorts area). And if you are feeling chatty, the bus driver will always be happy to oblige!
There are no bus schedules in Nassau, but the 10 bus runs quite frequently (I must have taken it a dozen times and never waited more than 5-10 minutes). Just keep in mind there is no bus service after around 6 p.m.
A great way of getting around and discovering the whole north side of New Providence Island!
Mini buses (jitneys) run round the island, connecting Nassau to everywhere else. Set price - $1 in town, $2 outside. Flag one down, jump aboard. But it's day time only - after 6.30pm or so, other methods of transport are required. Sundays there is a limited service.
But location of 'bus stops' are in places out of this world :) (This is Orange Hill Beach bus stop)
Check out this option one day on your visit. We rented it for the day and left to city to tour the whole outer edge of the island. A few block form the downtown area and the traffic became minimal. No helmet required like a moped. Great way to venture at your own pace. Felt safe, more like a vehicle.
Jitneys are the way to go. They cost $1 per ride and no change is provided. Much cheaper than cabs. If you need small bills, just stop by one of the casinos.