When you’re an adventurous traveller, it’s a given that you’re going to take public transport, and maybe some taxis, in the country you’re exploring. Thankfully, public transport in Barbados is pretty simple. Here’s how it works:
There are no trains. Buses are the only form of public transport. There are three types of buses…
1. White minibuses
How to use them:
- Stand on the side of the road which has the traffic going in the direction of your destination (if you don’t know, just ask someone e.g. “which side of the road is it for Bridgetown?”)
- If you’d prefer to sit down, walk along the road until you reach a bus stop and wait there
- If you’re on the road, stick your arm out when you see the bus coming. If you’re at the bus stop it will stop anyway
- Quickly confirm that they’re going where you want to go before you get on (e.g. “You’re going to Oistins, right?”)
- If they say yes, get on and sit wherever there’s a space, but don’t use the fold-down seats that block the aisles unless there’s nowhere else
- If you won’t recognise your destination, ask the driver to let you know when you reach there and let you off
- If you recognise your destination, press the little button on the ceiling that looks like a light-switch and the bus will stop
- Sometimes there’s a second guy working for the driver who opens and shuts the door and takes the money. If there’s one of them, they might ask you for your money at a random point throughout the journey. If there’s just the driver, or if the second guy doesn’t ask, just pay them when you get off. It costs $2BDS (or you can pay in US dollars which would be $1USD) and they have change so you could pay with a $5BDS or $10BDS too
- These buses normally play loud music (often soca, reggae or dancehall) and at busy times you’ll be asked to squash up with a lot of people on one row, so if you’re pregnant or have a broken leg or something then I wouldn’t recommend it, but otherwise it’s actually a lot of fun
2. Yellow medium sized buses
How to use them:
- The same method as the white minibuses except these ONLY stop at bus stops, so wait for it at the bus stop and ring the buzzer just before your nearest bus stop when you want to get off
- They also cost $2BDS and there’s a man who walks down the middle at some point in the journey taking people’s fares. He should have enough change for you to pay with a $5BDS or $10BDS too
- There’s no squashing up on these buses and they normally play music but the vibe is a bit more calm/serious than on the white minibuses
3. Blue government buses (big)
How to use them:
- They only stop at bus stops so wait at the stop on the correct side of the road and when you want to get off, ring the buzzer just before your stop
- They also cost $2BDS but you need EXACT CHANGE. You pay when you get on by putting your money into a transparent post-box kind of thing next to where the driver sits. It’s impossible to get into the box which is why no change can be given. If there are two of you and you only have a $5BDS, just put that in for the two of you and you’re only paying $1BDS extra so it’s still cheaper than a taxi
- These buses are the most serious ones. They normally have signs saying ‘no music, no eating’ etc.
- There’s no squashing on these buses which means you have to stand if the seats are taken
- These buses do the longest routes e.g. from Oistins to Speightstown which means you can go all the way between the South coast to high up on the West coast
ALL THREE TYPES OF BUSES RUN FROM THE EARLY MORNING (about 6am) UNTIL ABOUT MIDNIGHT.
There are taxis waiting at the major beaches and at the taxi ranks in Bridgetown and other towns, and if you’re walking along any main road, they will often slow down to ask if you need a taxi. There isn’t much you need to know except AGREE THE PRICE BEFORE. You should expect to pay about $30BDS for a 30 minute journey. I would advise you to ask someone where you’re staying to give you some taxi numbers, just in case you ever end up stranded anywhere.
Buses And Taxis From The Airport
Taxis from the airport to Oistins are $30BDS but if you’re up for an adventure, do what I did and take the bus.
To get to the bus stops, literally walk out of the airport exit, across the car park and onto the road. The bus stop on the airport side goes West (so towards Oistins, Bridgetown and then the West Coast) and the bus stop on the other side goes East.
I would suggest you wait for a big blue government bus because there isn’t space on the smaller buses for a suitcase.